Penelope Leprevost took a very popular win in the Gucci Grand Prix in Paris. On Mylord Carthago *HN (Carthago x Jalisco B) she not only rode the two most beautiful rounds of the 45 riders, she was also by far the fastest one. With such a strong field of riders, it was bound to be produced a few clears – in the end no less than 17 riders went on to the jump-off. This made for a thriller of a jump-off, ecstatic crowds and a fantastic atmosphere.
Janne Friedrike Meyer was first to go in the jump-off, and tried to put a good amount on pressure on those who were to come. In her efforts riding Cellagon Lambrasco (Libero x Coriolan) she took down the a-element of the combination; a vertical. “It’s not so easy when you go first, but I tried my best,” the German rider said after her ride. Christian Ahlmann had two down as did Jos Lansink on the powerful Casper van Spieveld (Mr Blue x Capital) who jumped a fantastic first round. Gerco Schröder took the lead for a short while on Eurocommerce London (Nabab de Reve x Chin Chin), but with one fence down it was not to last.
Kevin Staut produced the first double clear, and the roof almost lifted in the arena. A really tight turn to the Rolex oxer on Silvana de Hus (Corland x Widor) paid off, but as Kevin didn’t go flat out to the last fence it looked like time would be shaved off by the other riders. Angelica Augustsson is not afraid of speeding up, and so she did. Mic Mac du Tillard (Cruising x Galoubet A) can make turns few other horses can copy, and it looked set for a leading time for the Swedish rider but she came to deep in to the last oxer and had it down – but the time was amazing at 34.82. Olivier Guillon suffered the same faith, although slightly slower while both David McPherson and Judy-Ann Melchior had 10a down with David also having a stop on the penultimate vertical.
Michael Whitaker’s Viking (Jacomar x Almox Prints) jumped absolutely amazing in the jump-off, literarily flying over the combination at 10a and b. A really tight turn to the midway Rolex oxer and some luck on the penultimate vertical gave the British rider the lead on 35.34 seconds.
It didn’t last for long though as Penelope was next to go with Mylord Carthago *HN. The stylish rider rode a lovely round, tightening all her turns – and especially the one to the second last vertical before making full advantage of the stallion’s big canter on the long stretch to the last oxer. When Penelope crossed the finish line on 34.40 seconds – 0.94 faster than Michael – the crowds almost exploded with delight over Penelope’s fine riding. Pius Schwizer followed on Verdi III (Hors la Loi x Cantus), and gave it a real try racing down to the last oxer – leaving him only 0.08 behind Penelope. Laura Kraut was slightly slower on Cedric and eventually ended up as number six.
Eric Lamaze had to give it a go on Coriana van Klapscheut (Darco x Hearbreaker). The mare jumped fantastic the first round, and Eric looked very happy with her performance. Eric set off determined in the jump-off, but in his shot at getting Penelope’s time he took the Rolex oxer down as well as the penultimate vertical.
The two last to go – Richard Spooner (Master of the Faster as they call him) and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum managed to cross the finish line on the exact same time: 35.23. As they both left all the fences intact on Cristallo (Caretino x Cicero) and Checkmate (Contender x Pik Bube) they ended tied third, pushing Michael Whitaker down to fifth.
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