World of Showjumping
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Double Swiss in the Longines Grand Prix of Basel

Sunday, 14 January 2018
CSI5* Basel 2018

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Martin Fuchs and Clooney en route to victory in the Longines Grand Prix of Basel. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Home rider Martin Fuchs (SUI) and his 12-year-old Clooney (Cornet Obolensky x Ferragamo) gave the Swiss crowds an extra treat with a home win in Sunday’s CSI5* 1.60m Longines Grand Prix of Basel.

“I’m very proud to be the first Swiss rider to win this Grand Prix, and that in front of this fantastic audience. Clooney has very often proved that he can jump the biggest classes, but he was not always so fast. Now he is getting faster and faster for every class, and he has a fantastic overview and is still extremely careful. He was amazing today,” a very happy Fuchs said after the win.  

The Grand Prix went over two rounds with the 15 best from the first round qualifying for the second. The first round gave the riders quite a challenge, with faults spreading all over. The line from fence 8-9-10 caused a bit of extra mistakes with three long strides from the vertical at 8 to the wide oxer at 9 and then four short strides to the vertical at 10. Also the penultimate vertical on the short side and the last fence – a wide oxer with a water tray under placed right by the in-gate – fell over and over again.

Among the riders qualifying for the second round, five were clear to be joined by the ten fastest four-faulters. The second round against the clock went over a shortened course that consisted off eight fences including a combination as no. 4, with an oxer-vertical with two strides in between. As earlier on in the weekend the riders were offered some short turns, and stretches to let the horses use their canter, in the second round.

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Runners-up: Werner Muff and Daimler. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

The riders brought their faults from the first round with them into the second round and the jump-off started in reverse order. First to go was Kevin Staut with the 12-year-old Silver Deux de Virton HDC (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Heartbreaker). Staut had to add another four faults to his record – to end on a total of eight faults - and finished the shortened course in 39,26 seconds.

Last year’s winners Niels Bruynseels (BEL) and Gancia de Muze (Malito de Reve x Nimmerdor) were next out and with some fantastic jumping in full speed, they delivered the fastest round of the day in 37,56 seconds. The pair took over the lead, but still with their four faults from the first round.

Julien Epaillard (FRA) with Toupie de la Roque (Kannan x Nabab de Reve) had to see two fences fall on his way around adding these to his previous four faults. Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) with Spring Dark (Jazz Band Courcelle x Palestro II) were supposed to start next, but the mare was not feeling 100% after the first round so Bengtsson chose to withdraw.

Alain Jufer (SUI) with the well jumping Casall (Casall x Cantus) cleared the course in 39,72 seconds, and went into a temporary runner-up position but was quickly pushed down by  Hans-Dieter Dreher (GER) with Berlinda (Berlin x Gento) after a very smooth round in 38,02 seconds.

Next out was Jerome Guery (BEL) with the beautiful Grand Cru van de Rozenberg (Malito de Reve x Heartbreaker). Guery let the chestnut use his canter, but didn’t take the shortest turns, and after crossing the finish line in 39,36 seconds he went in on third place.

Jos Verlooy (BEL) gave it a go with his Caracas (Casall x Colman), but when the second last oxer fell he slowed it down and went in right after Staut with his total of eight faults. Next out, Pius Schwizer (SUI) and About A Dream (Clinton x Indoctro) had a misunderstanding on fence no. 6, which lead to four faults to add to his previous four. 

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Third place went to Simon Delestre and Chesall Zimequest. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) was the fastest of the four-faulters from the first round, and rode the amazing mare California (L’esprit x Libero H) with real fighting spirit – ending the course in 38,15 seconds to go in on the third position behind Bruynseels and Dreher.

The first rider with a clean sheet when he entered the ring for the second time was Niklaus Rutschi (SUI) riding the ‘Swiss Horse of the Year 2017’ Cardano CH (Chameur x Apartigene v Schlösslihof). They did a steady round, and when the second last fence fell Rutschi went down the ranking with his four faults in 42,26 seconds.

Simon Delestre (FRA) started quite calm, but then decided to speed it all up along the way with his 13-year-old Chesall Zimequest. Delestre delivered the class’ first double clear in 41,91 seconds to take over the lead from Bruynseels.

Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) on the other hand, had a misunderstanding with Salomon (Stolzenberg x Aramis) in the turn to the third fence which resulted in a circle before they could continue and with four faults in the second round he fell down the result list.

With two more to go, both of them home riders, the temperature was about to rise in Basel. Never before has a Swiss rider won the Grand Prix of Basel, and now the chance was there. First out was Werner Muff with the incredible Daimler (Canturano x Lupicor) – the pair that won the Golden Drum on Friday. A steady round without too much risk was enough to take over the lead from Delestre with a time of 39,64 seconds – a Swiss win was secured.

As last to go, Martin Fuchs (SUI) was in the very best position and grabbed the opportunity. Fuchs made the turns a bit shorter and cantered a bit faster than Muff, with Clooney jumping amazing and looking very motivated. Crossing the finish line, the two had managed to shave off almost a second on Muff’s time and ended up as first Swiss winners of the Longines Grand Prix of Basel. 


Text and pictures © World of Showjumping

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