Nobody had a chance today against a very determined Kevin Staut in the Grand Prix Gucci at Gucci Paris Masters. The French rider seemed to have his eyes firmly set on the trophy, and showed such a fighting spirit on Silvana HDC (Corland x Widor) that there was very little the remaining twelve riders in the jump-off could do – Kevin’s round was just in a league of its own from beginning to end. Although the world’s number one Scott Brash and Ursula XII (Ahorn x Papageno) really gave it a go – it was just not near to be enough today, as Kevin had raised the bar too high. Third in the thrilling class was Gerco Schröder riding London (Nabab de Reve x Chin Chin).
The first round saw a total of thirteen riders go clear, while poor Katharina Offel was left out of the jump-off after recording a single time penalty on a very well jumping Lacontino (Landgold x Continue). Four of the clears came from home riders, which made the amazing atmosphere during the class even better – and the temperature rose as the jump-off came closer. For those who were not clear, many had to see faults appear in the penultimate challenge of the course, a triple combination with an oxer-verical-vertical where many got it tight jumping out over the c-element.
The first out in the jump-off was Aymeric de Ponnat on the stunning stallion Armitages Boy (Armitage x Feo). The French rider did a beautiful performance, and put pressure on those to come with a clear round of 42.95 seconds – following up on his great first round. The four next riders – Brianne Goutal, Cameron Hanley, Timothee Anciaume and Christian Ahlmann all had faults – and the latter chose to withdrew as Aragon Z (Askari x Kolibri) decided that it was enough for the day and refused to go any further when approaching the Longines oxer half way.
Kevin Staut was next in the ring, and already as he entered it was clear that he had his mind firmly made up to go for the win. Setting his lovely grey mare in top gear already on the first line of the shortened track – and then getting a perfect turn back to the following vertical he got a great start, and when he finished the remains of his round in the same way – precise and quick everywhere – it looked like the rest would have a hard time catching him. Racing down to the final Gucci vertical Staut stopped the clock on 39.56 to take the lead from de Ponnat.
Maikel van der Vleuten and Simon Delestre – the top two from last weekend’s Grand Prix in Maastricht – both had to see poles fall, while Ludger Beerbaum went for a steady version on Chiara (Contender x Coronado) to eventually finish fifth.
Scott Brash has already won two classes at the Gucci Paris Masters, and gave it a go to take a third one – but today it was just not good enough. Even though he tightened the turns, and rode with his usual coolness to try and catch Kevin he was 1.16 seconds behind and had to settle for second. Even the fantastic combination of Gerco and London had to give in for Kevin today, and although they did a great round they were 1.76 behind and slotted into third. The last two riders – Marcus Ehning and Edwina Tops-Alexander – could do nothing as they had a pole down each, and Kevin Staut could celebrate yet another win on Silvana HDC for the weekend. This time the biggest of them all, as he picked up the top prize of 115 500 Euro.
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