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Marcus Ehning and Cornado NRW win the Grand Prix Hermès in Paris

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Marcus Ehning and Cornado NRW won the Grand Prix Hermès in the beautiful Grand Palais. Photos by Jenny Abrahamsson.After two incredibly beautiful rounds it was Marcus Ehning and Cornado NRW (Cornet Obolensky x Acobat) who won the Grand Prix Hermès in Paris on Sunday afternoon. In true Ehning-style the German rider made sure that the lovely 10 year old stallion did not put a foot wrong in the two rounds – riding as smoothly and rhythmical as only Marcus Ehning can. With only three other clears in the first round, it was a very exciting jump-off where Patrice Delaveau on Lacrimoso HDC (Landjunge x Cascavelle) produced the only other double clear next to Ehning to take second while Katharina Offel was third on Lacontino (Landgold x Continue), with Laura Renwick in fourth in Bintang II (Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve x Orlando).

Cornado NRW jumped incredible under Marcus Ehning.It was a real challenge that met the 37 riders in the class, as Frank Rothenberger had built a proper thirteen fence Grand Prix track – that included a difficult line with the triple combination as 7abc and then four really short strides to a vertical at 8. The final part of the course also caused plenty of trouble with the back rail on the oxer at 12 falling frequently in addition to the final combination. Poor Kevin Staut and Cameron Hanley were both extremely unlucky with super rounds only to see the final part of the combination fall, while Maikel van der Vleuten had the very first vertical down. There was a little drama as well as Hamad Ali Mohamed A Al Attiyah had a stop on the oxer at 9 and then fell off, but luckily all went well with rider and horse.

Runner-up Patrice Delaveau on Lacrimoso HDC.Delaveau set the first clear as second to go with Lacrimoso HDC jumping fantastic – causing wild celebrations from the home crowds in a full Grand Palais. One rider later followed Offel, who recently was second in the Grand Prix in Hong Kong. She produced a beautiful clear round on a very well jumping Lacontino, securing a jump-off spot. Three riders later Offel was followed to the jump-off by another great lady rider – Laura Renwick on Bintang II who rode a terrific clear on the only eight year gelding. Then it was time for Marcus Ehning and Cornado NRW – winners of the World Cup in Bordeaux in February. Their round was simply beautiful to watch, and Cornado NRW looked untouchable as he popped around the track as it was a walk in the park.

Katharina Offel continued her great form to end third on Lacontino.With only four riders back for the jump-off in a breathtaking sun filled Grand Palais, it was bound to be exciting. When Patrice opened with another great clear in the jump-off, doing eight strides on the opening line and then later getting a perfect turn back to the third last oxer and then also from the penultimate vertical to the wall the clock stopped at 37.62 seconds. It looked hard to beat for those three riders to come. And when Katharina Offel got the pole at the penultimate vertical down as Lacontino threw in a little buck to take away the perfect distance and Laura Renwick had two poles down, it was all up to Marcus.

And Ehning showed he was in it to win, putting Cornado NRW in top gear from the beginning. Also doing eight strides on the opening line and getting perfect turns absolutely everywhere, Marcus put in five strides to the penultimate vertical and then racing inside to the wall – and when the clock stopped he had shaved off 0.03 seconds on Patrice’s time pushing the French rider down to second and Katharina Offel to third. “I am very happy with my horse, he did an incredible first round. I saw Patrice’s round in the jump-off, he was fast – but still I thought I had a chance. Kathi Offel gave me the right tip for the five strides to the penultimate vertical, and it all worked out very well today,” Marcus smiled after his round.

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