A fully packed Palexpo witnessed the Swiss reigning Olympic champion Steve Guerdat and his golden Nino des Buissonnets (Kannan x Narcos II) take their second Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva. At the end of 2013 Steve Guerdat took the victory in the prestigious Grand Prix, giving himself a chance to win a Rolex Grand Slam Bonus. Today Guerdat repeated this amazing performance and got himself back on track for the Rolex Grand Slam.
No less than 16 competitors qualified for the jump-off over the first CSI5* 1.60m course of Switzerland’s course designer Gérad Lachat. The last fence, the penultimate fence and the third element of the triple combination caused most problems for 40 of the world’s best riders.
As the 4th starter it was United States’ Reed Kessler who was the first one to clear the technical course with her wonderful mare Cylana (Skippy II x Darco). The young American rider was joined by many world-class combinations, such as Pedro Veniss and his lovely Quabri de l’Isle (Kannan x Socrate de Chivre), Marcus Ehning who showed off great form again with Cornado NRW (Cornet Obolensky x Acobat I), the man on fire in Geneva Roger Yves Bost, winner of two major classes, with Pegase du Murier (Adelfos x Le Tot de Semilly), former Olympic champion Eric Lamaze and the light-footed mare Fine Lady (Forsyth x Drosselklang II), home favorite Steve Guerdat with the explosive jumper Nino des Buissonnets, Paris’ and Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final runner-up Simon Delestre riding Qlassic Bois Margot (L’Arc de Triomphe x Galoubet A) and Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final Champions Kent Farrington with his wonderful Voyeur (Tolano van´t Riethof x Goodwill).
As first rider to go in the jump-off Reed Kessler tried to set a fast time with Cylana, but knocked down the third fence, finishing on 4/41.58. When also the Finish rider Anna-Julio Kontio and Fardon (Corland x Mezcalero) did not keep a clear in the jump-off, Brazil’s Pedro Veniss gave it a try with the consistent Quabri de l’Isle and stayed clean in 43.37 seconds. A few starters later France’s Roger Yves Bost seemed to be heading for another great performance in Geneva. The winner of the major classes on Thursday and Saturday rode a terrific jump-off with Pegase du Murier, but the 12-year-old stallion dropped the anchor approaching the last fence. Bosty finished on 4/52.31.
Former Olympic champion Eric Lamaze and the wonderful mare Fine Lady got the right track in Gérard Lachat’s jump-off and finished on 0/41.45. After Switzerland’s Janika Sprunger and Aris CMS had a knockdown in front of their home-crowd, Steve Guerdat entered the arena. The defending Olympic champion, World Cup champion and winner of the Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva in 2013 started off his jump-off with Nino des Buissonnets with a bit of luck. The extremely careful son of Kannan fought his way over the second fence of the jump-off, a wide and square oxer. But Guerdat immediately found back his rhythm and gave it all from start to finish. The Swiss top rider left out strides in several lines and finished on 0/40.94 to take over the lead from Lamaze.
Guerdat’s time turned out impossible to beat, but France’s Simon Delestre came as close as it gets. With the powerful stallion Qlassic Bois Margot (L’Arc de Triomphe x Galoubet A) he gave it a great shot and finished only 0.03 seconds slower than Steve Guerdat slotting in between the Swiss rider and Eric Lamaze. Delestre can currently be called the ultimate runner-up, after finishing second in both the Grand Prix of Paris last week as the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final last Friday. When even Sweden’s Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and the experienced Casall Ask (Caretino x Lavall II) could not come close to Guerdat’s time (finishing on 42.66) eyes were on Bertram Allen, Emanuele Gaudiano and Kent Farrington.
For 20-year-old Irishman Bertam Allen the jump-off just did not work out with Molly Malone V, finishing on an unlucky score of 12. Emanuele Gaudiano and Admara (Padinus x Murano) – the cousin of the legendary Hickstead – couldn’t match Guerdat’s time, finishing on 42.01 and the 5th spot. Kent Farrington had a great shot as last one to go with his Rolex Top 10 Champion Voyeur. But even the American jockey couldn’t beat Guerdat and finished on fourth place (0/41.47).
In front of his home-crowd Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets were again crowned as winners of the Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva, winning no less than 396.000 Swiss Francs (366.344 euro). Their eyes will be on the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping.
Text © World of Showjumping by Peter van der Waaij// Pictures © Dirk Caremans/www.hippofoto.be.
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