Champion British rider Nick Skelton blew away the opposition with an electrifying victory at the GCT Chantilly today. Only days before the start of the Olympic Games Skelton, who will ride for Great Britain in the London Olympics, demonstrated sizzling form in the heat of the French countryside with a super fast win on his grey gelding Carlo. Skelton recently told GCT that Carlo and his Olympic horse Big Star are “the best” he has ever ridden.
More than 30 minutes after his triumph Nick was still posing for photographs with fans at the showground and was congratulated by his partner, top US rider Laura Kraut, who finished fifth. Skelton expertly raced Carlo over the double combination in the final 1m50 CSI5* of the GCT weekend in Chantilly and after clearing the vertical he galloped flat out to the last fence in a time of 37.63. Patrice Delaveau of France was a popular second place on 37.95 on Ornella Mail. The spectacular bay mare left the French crowd gasping as she flicked her tail constantly as he leapt over the obstacles in dramatic style.
Irish rider Denis Lynch was a strong third in 38.27 on his extraordinary big striding gelding Lantinus and had a lucky break at the double after knocking a rail. The Grand Prix Equidia Life was a story of split second timing due to the high calibre of the competitors.
Skelton said: “I saw the distance a long way out from the vertical. The horse is really fast away from the jumps after he lands. I am really pleased with him. I would not have jumped him today if we had not had a fence down yesterday.
“This is my last class before the Olympics and it is a really good result. I am looking forward to going to the Olympics.” Asked about the pressure of competing in the Games he said: “I have got a very good horse, his heart is in the right place. I will just keep him in good shape.” He rode his Olympic horse Big Star at the GCT Chantilly and has used the prestige event as solid preparation for the Games.
After a weekend of great sport in a spectacular venue with huge crowds, GCT moves to Valkenswaard in The Netherlands from 17-19 August when the world’s top riders will again do battle for the series championship.
Source: Press release from GCT.
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