Rolf-Göran Bengtsson sidelined all his competitors in the Gucci by Gucci Challenge in Paris tonight. On Quintero La Silla (Quantum x Chamonix) he rode to impeccable clear rounds, and none of the other riders were able to match the Swedish rider – allowing him to win this class for the second time as he also won last year. The class was set at 1.50 and involved a winning round, but nine of the ten riders that went on to the second round were clear first time around the twelve fence track. Simon Delestre on Couletto (Couleur Rubin) was the last rider to go into the jump-off with one time fault. The main part of the faults came in the first part of the triple combination – Marco Kutscher, Michael Whitaker, Laura Kraut and Katharina Offel all had 9a down.
The shortened track in round two had eight fences, and opened for many tight turns and two long gallop stretches. Simon Delestre opened the jump-off, and was clear although not extremely fast on the grey stallion. His time was likely to be beat. Beezie Madden rides Jeroen Dubbeldam’s former ride Simon (Mr Blue x Polydox) in a beautiful manner, and the gelding seems very comfortable in his new partnership. Unfortunately they had the back pole down on the Rolex oxer midway in the jump-off. “He anticipated the turns a little bit,” Beezie said of the fault. Ludger set off in his usual determined way and held a high pace on the last line – coming off a little too far from the last oxer resulting in having the front pole down. “I didn’t ride very good to the last fence. I should have kept the same rhythm. To leave a stride out was the wrong decision,” the German rider said.
Rolf set off on Quintero La Silla, really tightening the turns and making good use of the stretches to keep covering ground with the stallion’s big canter. The time was very fast, and looked difficult to beat; 38.72 seconds – 6.19 seconds faster than Delestre! “He’s been going good in this class before, so I tried to do it again,” Rolf smiled after his round. Alvaro de Miranda was next and on AD Norson (Quidam de Revel x Grand Veneur) he really tried to catch Rolf, but in the effort he took two fences down and had a refusal after a tight turn to the penultimate vertical.
Christian Ahlmann came closest; although Codex One (Contendro I x Glueckspilz) touched the Gucci vertical he stayed clear and the time was not far away from Rolf’s at 39.57. In the end it was good enough for second. Billy Twomey and Romanov had the Gucci vertical down, as did Meredith on Bella Donna (Baldini II x Calido I) – the vertical followed a tight turn from the Rolex oxer. Pius went for a slower clear, while Angelica Augustsson did everything she could on Mic Mac du Tillard (Cruising x Galoubet A). The stylish rider’s time was super fast at 38.60 – the best time of the day – but unfortunately she had two down on her way around the track.
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