Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Casall Ask (Caretino x Lavall I) was the winning pair in the CSI5* Longines Grand Prix at Equita Lyon on Friday evening. After a World Equestrian Games that ended just outside the podium, it was evident that Rolf was hungry to be back on top – producing two very determined clear rounds on the wonderful 15 year old stallion. It was no easy win though, as Rolf had to battle it out against eighteen other riders against the clock. Unsurprisingly, the jump-off turned in to a race.
With a lot of open stretches, it was not much else to do but gallop as fast as possible. That is excactly what the first rider in the ring did as Penelope Leprevost set the target time to 43.42 seconds after a trademark stylish clear round on Vagabond de la Pomme (Vigo d'Arsouilles). Four riders later her compatriot Simon Delestre brought the time to beat down to 42.67 seconds, taking over the lead aboard Ryan des Hayettes (Hugo Gesmeray SF).
Coming in half-way in the second round, Rolf managed to bring the time down under the 42-second mark – stopping the clock on 41.94 seconds. The Swedish rider got a great tight turn back to the third last oxer, and although supporting his four-legged partner a little extra on the following open stretch to a vertical before turning sharp to the final oxer to the whistles of the enthusiastic French crowds – it was in the end enough to take the win. None of those to come could catch Rolf and Casall Ask, who with their performance brought home the top prize of 25.000 Euro.
Next-to-go Billy Twomey came close on Diaghilev (Vangelis S x Handstreich) though. The Irish rider took all the risks, to stop the clock on 42.26 seconds – enough to slot into second between Rolf and Simon. Penelope ended fourth, while fifth place went to Rodrigo Pessoa who also was double clear on the lovely Status (Satisfaction x Sao Paulo). Fastest of all today was Patrice Delaveau on Carinjo HDC (Cascavelle x Landgraf I). Their time was as good as 40.43, but much to the disappointment of the home crowds a pole fell on the way round the shortened track.
"This was Casall Ask's first big class since the World Championships, in between he only did two small classes in Odense. He jumped fantastic today, and feels to be in good form," Rolf commented after his win.
The first five star class of the day went to Belgium's Constant van Paesschen on Citizenguard Understone van de Kapel (Happy Wind D'hof Ten Bos x Gladstone). Constant had one of nineteen clears in the second phase in this 1.50 class that counted 53 riders, but was the fastest one against the clock with a time of 31.20 seconds. A tiny 0.09 seconds behind followed Rodrigo Pessoa on Tinkabell 12 (Casco x Ekstein), while Lauren Hough was third with Royalty des Isles (Zandor Z) in a time of 31.64 in the second phase.
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