Once again Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets (Kannan x Narcos II) proved that they have got what it takes when it matters the most. The Olympic Champions and World Cup-runner ups took home the first prize of 330 000 Euro in the OI Grand Prix in Rio de Janeiro last night, and were simply in a class of their own – yet again. Edwina Alexander came the closest on her wonderful Itot du Chateau (Le Tot de Semilly x Galoubet A) and ended second, while third place went to Clarissa Crotta and West Side V Meerputhoeve (Baloubet du Rouet x Apollonios).
Thirteen riders were clear after the first round, while Michael Whitaker and Gerco Schröder both were left on one time penalty. Only four of the thirteen riders managed to produce a second clear round to move on to the jump-off; and the first came from Olivier Guillon on Lord de Theize (Donald Rouge x Tolbiac de Halles). Then followed Edwina, Clarissa and Steve. Michael Whitaker was the only other rider to leave all the fences intact on a fabulous jumping GIG Amai (Nonstop x Bacara) - but was again punished with a time fault. In the end it was good enough for 5th for the British rider.
Olivier Guillon opened the jump-off, but after a fence down and what seemed like a misunderstanding in a sharp turn the French rider retired. Edwina and Itot really set out to win, with incredible speed, really tight turns and a race track gallop to the final fence. The clock stopped at 35.16 seconds, and the time looked very hard to beat. Clarissa went for a bit more steady round, keeping the hot West Side under control to cross the finish line on 36.76 seconds – a great result for the Swiss rider who was Olympic reserve this year. Last to go were Steve and Nino, and the super pair produced an amazing round. Nino literally flies the fences, as well as covering a lot of ground – and Steve made some great turns to shave off an incredible 1.93 second of Edwina’s time taking home the win.
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