The feature class of Friday's Longines Global Champions Tour of London, the Sapinda Prix, was won by Harrie Smolders and Regina Z (Rex Z x Savoy Hanover) who put in their usual unbeatably speedy performance to take the honours in this €90,500 class. Second went to McLain Ward with Rothchild (Artos x Elegant de l'Ile), winners of the Longines GCT Antwerp Grand Prix at the start of the season, and 3rd to leading lady rider Pénélope Leprevost and Vagabond de la Pomme (Vigo d'Arsouilles).
Uliano Vezzani's course was a cocktail of tricky distances and rider problems which needed some careful consideration. Many riders walked the course a number of times in order to choose their tactics between the selection of awkward distances. The bright Ruco Line Shoe upright to a water tray oxer in front of the bustling VIP area was the most troublesome fence of the competition, the front rail of the oxer ended up in the water below during many star riders' rounds. The final Qatar oxer was also tough, as one of the biggest fences on the course off a tight line, it caused more than a few riders the disappointment of lowering the final fence.
There were no clears in the jump-off until Laura Kraut, fifth to go, set the standard of clear in 34.26s, her round was quickly followed by another swift clear from Gudrun Patteet . But it was another top lady rider Pénélope Leprevost who raced to first position on the leaderboard mid-way through the draw with 34.05s. With just one rider left to follow him, McLain Ward and his feisty mount shaved nearly a second off Leprevost's time with 33.22s.
As of the fastest riders on the Tour, Harrie Smolders enjoyed the benefits of being last to go, pushing his reliable mare to turn tighter and gallop faster, crossing the line in 32.71s. "Regina knows what she is doing in a jump-off. As soon as I start to turn she knows and she fights. The turn into the last was difficult but I was on a good stride. I think she is getting a holiday now she has done a few big shows in a row and I will now rest her until maybe the end of September so I can do a few World Cup shows with her."
Source: Press release from LGCT/Quote from Lulu Kyriacou
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