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Pedro Veniss and Quabri de L'Isle reign supreme in CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix at Château de Versailles

Sunday, 07 May 2017
CSI5* Jumping International du château de Versailles 2017

Photo (c) Tiffany Van Halle for World of Showjumping Pedro Veniss and Quabri de L'Isle won the CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix at Château de Versailles. Photo (c) Tiffany Van Halle for World of Showjumping.

Pedro Veniss and Quabri de L'Isle (Kannan x Socrate de Chivre) took yet another major Grand Prix victory on Sunday afternoon, when going to the top in the 300 000€ CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix at Château de Versailles. 

In December last year this popular pair beat a field of the world's best riders in the Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva, and today they repeated this feat at Louis XVI's royal residence – today a World Heritage Site and one of the most famous palaces in the world. 

The stands at the Château de Versailles were full today for the Rolex Grand Prix, and the spectators were in for a treat as the action got underway. Twelve of the 39 combinations managed to produce clear rounds over the Grand Prix track that counted thirteen fences including a combination at 6ab and a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination signed by Rolex as 10abc. Faults came everywhere, but many fell victim to the line from fence four to five – with a narrow pale oxer coming out of a short turn on four strides to an upright with a water tray under. World class riders such as Luciana Diniz (POR) and Bertram Allen (IRL) opted to withdraw after not getting the rhythm the course required, saving their horses for another day. 

First out in the jump-off was Marcel Marschall (GER) on Utopia 48 (Concas Z x Chambertin 3), who as pathfinder in the Grand Prix also delivered the first clear round. In the jump-off, the German rider repeated himself stopping the clock at 38.29 seconds. 

Next to go was Karen Polle (JAP) and her horse With Wings (Larino x L. Ronald) lived up to his name by flying around the shortened track with his rider not once pulling back. A beautiful round that was also efficient gave a new time to beat: 35.58 seconds – the pressure was on those to come, as it looked hard to beat. 

Alberto Zorzi (ITA) and the wonderful Cornetto K (Cornet Obolensky x Calido) would illustrate exactly that when next to go. The Italian rider pulled up on the last few strides to the final upright, lost a little time and slotted in behind Polle in 36.22 seconds. 

Fourth in the ring, Pedro Veniss set off in a high pace on his stunning 13-year-old stallion. Tightening the turn to the third last Le Figaro-vertical, and then clearing the following combination easily Pedro turned Quabri de L'Isle in the air towards the last stretch and went all in flying over the final upright. When the pair crossed the finish line they had shaved the time to beat down to an incredible 35.19 seconds.

Much to the disappointment of the home crowds, Philippe Rozier (FRA) had the last fence down in the jump-off and only two French possibilities of victory remained. Denis Lynch (IRL) put some more pressure on those when producing a blistering fast jump-off on Echo de Laubry (Virus de Laubry x Feo), crossing the finish line 0.01 seconds behind Veniss. 

Those to come had to go all in, it was that – or nothing – required to win. Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) was one of those that tried, but had two poles on his way around and slowed down. Patrice Delaveau (FRA) was urged on by his French fans, but Aquila HDC (Ovidius x Lauriston) spend a bit too much time in the air eventually finishing fifth today. Delaveau's compatriot Kevin Staut also fell victim to the speed required to win, and had three down towards the end while Lauren Hough (USA) had an unexpected refusal on the Le Figaro-vertical almost taking one of the crew on course with her on the way to the left. Also Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) – Saturday's winner of the Grand Prix Renault de la Ville de Versailles – had a rail down, so the only one who could threaten Veniss was Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) on VDL Groep Idi Utopia (Quasimodo Z x Darco). However, aboard a 9-year-old the Dutch rider opted for a steady round to finish sixth leaving the celebration at Château de Versailles with one of the sport's most popular couples. 

Text ©  World of Showjumping // Picture © Tiffany Van Halle for World of Showjumping

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