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Delestre takes an emotional World Cup win on home soil in Lyon

Sunday, 05 November 2017
CSI5*-W Lyon 2017

Photo (c) Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping Simon Delestre and Hermes Ryan won the Longines FEI World Cup in Lyon. Photo (c) Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping.

The fourth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup Western European League took over the huge EurExpo arena in Lyon (FRA) on Sunday afternoon. And when home hero Simon Delestre (FRA) on his wonderful 12-year-old gelding Hermes Ryan (Hugo Gesmeray SF x Ryon d’Anzex) secured the win in the 300,000 Euro class presented by GL Events, the roof was about to blow off in Lyon. “Winning here in Lyon in exceptional,” Delestre told the press after the World Cup. “Not only because we are in France and the venue and the audience are fantastic, but because Hermes Ryan is such a special horse for me. To have him back at the top means a lot to me,” the French rider said about his horse that has had a long break due to an injury and came back earlier this year.

Forty of the world’s best horse-and-rider combinations lined up for the challenge set by the French course designer Grégory Bodo. The 1.60 track counted 13 obstacles and 16 efforts in a time allowed of 72 seconds – something that was altered to 70 seconds after the first three riders had completed the course. A plank at fence number five, the triple combination at fence number seven and the very last line consisting of a vertical-vertical combination followed by a final oxer caused headache for the riders and in the end eleven pairs cleared their way to the jump-off.

Three home riders, Julien Epaillard (FRA) on the 9-year-old gelding Instit de Jucaso (Cooper van de Heffinck x Darco), Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) on the 11-year-old mare Sydney Une Prince (Baloubet du Rouet x Alfa D’Elle) and Simon Delestre (FRA) on Hermes Ryan, got company from Holger Wulschner (GER) on the 13-year-old gelding BSC Skipper, Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) on the 12-year-old gelding G&C Arrayan (Baloubet du Rouet x Grannus), Piergiorgio Bucci (ITA) on the 9-year-old mare Driandria (Carthino Z x Sheraton), Michael Whitaker (GBR) on the 10-year-old gelding Calisto Blue (Chacco Blue x Con Air), Mark McAuley (IRL) on the 13-year-old gelding Miebello (Flyinge Quite Easy x Cardento), Pieter Devos (BEL) on the 9-year-old mare Claire Z (Clearway x Coronado), Steve Guerdat (SUI) on the 11-year-old mare Bianca (Balou du Rouet x Cardento) and Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) on the 11-year-old mare Mary Lou (Montendro x Portland L). 

Photo (c) Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping. "To have him back at the top means a lot to me,” said Delestre about Hermes Ryan. Photo (c) Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping.

In the jump-off McAuley and Miebello, the pair that topped the Longines Grand Prix on Friday, were determined to take another big win and set the time to beat to 40,00 seconds sharp. But things started to heat up when Devos took an unexpected turn, taking over the lead with a time of 39,28 seconds.

Guerdat and Bianca followed, took the same route and proved that there was still room to improvement, clocking a time of 39,05 seconds. With only Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann and Mary Lou left, the home crowds went mad as Delestre and Hermes Ryan topped the leader board with their phenomenal round in 37,72 seconds. Unlike the three previous riders, Von Eckermann chose a longer route, clocking a time of 38,35 seconds – a time that was still quick enough to slot into the runner-up position, pushing Guerdat to third, Devos to fourth and McAuley to fifth spot.

“My horse is naturally fast, so I chose to go around that fence where others turned in front,” Von Eckermann explained about his decision afterwards. “I am very happy with my horse, she has done a great record of results in the World Cup shows and our eyes are now set on the final in Paris.”

Third placed Guerdat made sure to thank the organisers in Lyon and the course builder, who did his five-star debut: “It was the first fiv-star show that he was building at, and I think it is very good from the organisers to give a chance like that to someone new – it also gives us riders something fresh to think about,” Steve commented on the work of Grégory Bodo. “This show is one of those places where you really can see what our sport is truly about – great sport and great atmosphere. As a sport we are going through some huge changes at the moment, and I hope that this show stays true to what they are – they set a great example.”

 


Text and pictures © World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen

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