Eric Lamaze and Hickstead (Hamlet x Eikstein) won the Grand Prix Longines of La Baule today. Pénélope Leprévost and Mylord Carthago (Carthago x Jalisco B) were second, followed by Carsten-Otto Nagel aboard Corradina (Corrado I x Sandro).
There were 47 riders lined up to compete for the victory in the Grand Prix, and in order to do so they had to tackle a thirteen fence track where the combination, triple combination and the water jump caused most of the problems. This was the case for riders such as Kevin Staut on Banda de Hus, and also for Simon Delestre on Vancouver.
Eleven of the riders in the class jumped clear and qualified for the jump-off, amongst them were Michel Robert and Kellemoi de Pepita, on-form Billy Twomey aboard J’Taime Flamenco, Eric Lamaze and his super-star Hickstead, Vincent Voorn on Audi Alpapillon, Carsten Otto Nagel with Corradina, Philippe Le Jeune on Vigo d’Arsouilles and Pénélope Leprévost on Mylord Carthago.
It was Eric Lamaze and Hickstead that proved to be the best couple around the jump-off course – that was reduced to seven fences. Lamaze’s fabulous stallion scored a time of 37.22 seconds, with Pénélope Leprévost close behind with a time of 37.45. Carsten-Otto Nagel and Corradina had a slightly slower time on 38.19 to slot into third place. Philippe Le Jeune ended up fourth; also he and Vigo produced a double clear round. Billy Twomey had the fastest time of the day on his GCT-winner J'Taime Flamenco, they crossed the finish line on 36.58 seconds but had one unfortunate pole down.
After his win Eric said; “I have always wanted to win here! I have been coming here for several years and what a trip it will be to have our names engraved on the marble Hall of Fame in La Baule! I know Hickstead really well now and can tell when he is feeling good. As he was jumping really well all week, I was fairly confident for the Grand Prix. Also, there weren’t too many right turns which was helpful because Hickstead is not too comfortable turning right.
The official jury had to replay the video of Lamaze and Hickstead jumping fence number two at a sharp angle. After several viewings, the jury unanimously declared that the win belonged to the Canadian rider. Concerning the wait for the final results Eric said; “The jump-off was very fast, but for me – even if I made a very tight angle over the fence – the horse jumped clear. The jump was a bit strange I’ll admit, but I hope the judges see that we jumped between the flags.”
“I was happy with my horse, placing 2nd behind Eric makes me very happy! If he had been disqualified it would not have been a real victory. Last year Mylord Carthago consistently had clear rounds in the first round and we had difficulty repeating the same performance in the jump-off within the allowed time. I am just placed after Eric and frankly, I think that is not so bad,” Pénélope said of her runner-up position.
For full results click here.
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