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Orient Express speeds to Grand Prix victory with Delaveau

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Grand Prix winners Patrice Delaveau and Orient Express. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.The Longines Falsterbo Grand Prix saw Patrice Delaveau and Orient Express go all the way to the top after an incredible fast second round. The new Swedish super star Angelica Augustsson on Mic Mac du Tillard was runner-up, and Maikel van der Vleuten was third on his stallion VDL Groep Verdi. “Next year I will try to win the Nation Cup also,” joked  Delaveau about his successful weekend. “It’s been a fantastic weekend for me; I was actually only allowed to ride the Grand Prix as some other qualified riders pulled out yesterday,” Patrice said.

The first round track was difficult enough, with a triple combination at 6a,b and c followed by a line to the water and a new line to a vertical. It was the combination with two verticals at fence nine that caused most trouble though, and plenty of the riders faulted her as the horses became a bit too flat. Nine riders produced clears in the first round, and the first clear came with the first rider; Ramzy Al Duhami on Bayard van de Villa Theresia. Just one rider later the talented Nicola Fitzgibbon rode a beautiful clear on her 14 year old gelding Puissance. Eight riders followed with faults, but Denmark’s up and coming Christian Schou came close as he only got one sour time penalty on Coronada.  Alberto Michan from Mexico – who has been competing in Europe this summer – also set the standard with Rosalia La Silla, and crossed the finish line on a clean sheet. Although he had a little luck when coming very close at two of the fences, Niall Talbot from Ireland held it together on his bouncy French gelding Nicos de la Cense to hold a zero score. The crowds went wild when Rolf-Göran Bengtsson was clear on his stallion Quintero La Silla, while Kevin Staut had some difficulties when Zeta de Hus decided not to jump the last element of the triple element – leading to Kevin withdrawing.

Third; Maikel van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Verdi. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson. Maikel van der Vleuten has had a fantastic weekend with VDL Groep Verdi; they had only one time penalty in the Nations Cup Friday, and produced another lovely clear in today’s first round. Angelica Augustsson is another rising star, who popped clear around the course on the hot and not so easy Mic Mac du Tillard. Yet again the crowds went wild. They were joined by Leon Thijssen on the fantastic Numero Uno-stallion Tyson who jumps with the athleticism of a puma, as well as Patrice Delaveau on the Quick Star-stallion Orient Express.

The course was reduced down to seven fences and eight jumps in the second round, an opened up for a lot of galloping in Falsterbo’s big grass arena. Four faulter Christine McCrea had gone through to the second round as the rules allowed eleven riders to move on from the first. The American rider had the vertical at fence five down, and ended up with a total of eight faults. Christian Schou suffered the same faith, and ended up at six penalties. Ramzy Al Duhami was the first to go double clear, but his time didn’t look unbeatable. Alberto Michan and Niall Talbot both had faults; Alberto’s horse slammed on the breaks at the wall and Niall had a fence down – Maikel van der Vleuten on the other hand rode a brilliant round on Verdi that covers a lot of ground with its big gallop and went into the lead. Rolf-Göran and Quintero had a complete miss at the oxer at fence six which resulted in the stallion jumping through the top poles.

It looked bad when Leon Thjissen and Tyson both crashed to the ground when the stallion took off at a bad stride at the b-element of the combination, but luckily it looked like both horse and rider where fine and in one piece.

Runner-ups; Angelica Augustsson and Mic Mac du Tillard. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson. Angelica Augustsson is a girl who likes speed, and put her mare into top gear to challenge Maikel van der Vleuten. The Swedish rider raced down to the last oxer, and the audience exploded when she crossed the finish line and went into the lead. Angelica’s time of 44.72 looked unbeatable, but Patrice Delaveau is not a rider who is afraid to move his horses forward. Stretching out all the gallop possible of Orient Express paid off, and Delaveau’s tactic “to do exactly the same as Angelica, but only faster” paid off. Delaveau was not only the winner, but also historic as he is the first rider to win both the Derby and the Grand Prix.

Angelica was more than happy with being runner-up and said; “I’m very happy. I walked the course and thought it was tough, some of the lines looked difficult for my mare as she is not the easiest to control. I took it a bit slow in my turns in the jump-off as I was told it was a bit slippery, and also put in an extra stride to the oxer at fence six – I only really let her run to the last oxer.” Maikel was also pleased with his stallion Verdi; “he’s only nine and not a horse that I go that fast on yet.”

For full results click here.

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