The world's highest ranked rider and horse – Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos – made it a much deserved win in the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. The pair has had a fantastic season, with Grand Prix wins in Wellington, Cannes, Estoril and London – tonight they crowned 2014 by going out on top in this prestigious final in Geneva. Brash and Hello Sanctos (Quasimodo V. Molendreef x Nabab De Reve) was not only the winners, they were the only pair to go double clear in the competition.
After the first round four riders were left on a clean sheet. Both Penelope Leprevost on Flora de Mariposa (For Pleasure x Power Light) and Steve Guerdat on Albfuehren's Paille (Kannan) made it all look easy as the two first riders in the ring to go clear and put pressure on the rest. Maikel van der Vleuten was very unlucky to have a rail down on VDL Groep Verdi TN N.O.P. (Quidam de Revel x Landgraf I), while last year's winner of the final Daniel Deusser posted a beautiful clear on Cornet D'Amour (Cornet Obolensky x Damiani).
Patrice Delaveau's Lacrimoso HDC (Landjunge x Cascavelle) looked to be back in top form and left all the fences intact, but unfortunately for the French rider he recorded a time penalty. His compatriot Kevin Staut had no luck though and had to see two poles fall to the ground. Kent Farrington had one down, Marcus Ehning two – and Ludger Beerbaum also had to settle for four faults. Last in the ring was Scott Brash and he rode a wonderful clear round on Hello Sanctos who made the twelve fence 1.60 track look like a walk in the park.
For the second round the course was shortened down to nine fences, with the option to take out strides on the lines. From the third last oxer to the penultimate gate a tight turn waited before an oxer remained as the final fence. This time around both Marcus, Kevin and Maikel posted clear rounds while Kent and Ludger once again had to see a pole fall to the ground.
Delaveau guided Lacrimoso HDC skilfully around the track, and although he had a little bit of a hairy moment on the penultimate gate, all fences stayed intact with the clock stopping at 50.62 seconds for the French rider to take the lead. It did not last though as next in the ring was Brash and Hello Sanctos. Setting off determinedly – Scott again rode a tremendous clear round to bring the time down to 45.26 seconds.
It would turn out that this was not to be beat. Daniel Deusser was faster, but on the expense of one down as the back pole on the oxer out of the combination fell to the ground. With a long break for Guerdat to enter the ring due to Paille having to fix a shoe, the suspense was on – but unfortunately a hoof on the penultimate vertical caused it to fall and Steve slotted into third. As last to go Penelope looked like a real threat as she is always dangerous against the clock, but this time around things did not go according to plan as the wall was left shattered on the ground and two more poles fell towards the end of the course.
Victory deservedly belonged to Brash and Hello Sanctos, who continue to rule the world of showjumping as the year soon comes to an end.
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