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Spencer Smith seals the deal in the CSI4* Grand Prix of Valence

Sunday, 19 August 2018
CSI4* Jumping International de Valence IV 2018

Photo (c) R&B Presse Spencer Smith and Théodore Manciais won the Grand Prix Axeria-SFAM in Valence. Photo (c) R&B Presse.

Sunday marked the closure of an intense first weekend of competition at the Jumping International de Valence. It was the meeting point of an exceptional set of riders for the CSI2* and the CSI4* as the high-level Grand Prix Axeria-SFAM only showed one clear round, the young American Spencer Smith.

The American rider, only twenty-one years old, was the first to start in this difficult class. His fluent and clear round made both riders and crowd believe in an easy task, he was however the only one in the Grand Prix to achieve it. Riding his 11-year-old Selle Français gelding Théodore Manciais (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Power Light), the couple didn't even have to prove itself again in the jump-off. The difficult course designed by Uliano Vezzani tricked more than one rider, especially the head liners of the competition such as Cian O'Connor, Roger-Yves Bost, Carlos Lopez, Scott Brash, Olivier Robert or even Simon Delestre, all making at least four penalties. 

"The final line (jumps 11, 12 and 13 - ed) was the most technical to approach: the water oxer in particular and we had to be careful with the palanque," said the winner. Eric Lamaze's student is still a newcomer on the CSI4*, but thanks to his coach's great advices, he rises step by step: "I think it was a good thing to be the first to start in this Grand Prix. I didn't believe that this class was more difficult than any other. Eric advised me to stay calm, relaxed and to ride peacefully my horse. And it worked! I don't know if I'm going to be there next weekend, it will be decided in a few days. We're staying in Europe until this winter, after that, I'll go back home in Wellington. Until then, I hope to participate in several indoor competitions and I would love to join the World Cup circuit's classes."

There were only two other riders who managed a clear round on the jumps, but respectively received one and two penalties because of the time, the American rider Katherine Dinan with Dougie Douglas (Ard VDL Douglas x High Roller) and the French rider Aldrick Cheronnet on Atlantys by Wisbecq (Argentinus x Darco), finishing in second and third position of this Grand Prix.

The French rider revealed: "I'm pretty happy with my horse. It's not my lead horse but I chose to ride him a bit more. Seeing that the class led to many mistakes, I decided not to care about time, I did not mind to eventually have time penalties. Atlantys by Wisbecq jumped well and I'm delighted with this third place!"

The Grand Prix Axeria-SFAM wasn't the only class of the CSI4* this day: The Prix MMA-SFAM, a two-phases class at 1,45m, made Harold Boisset and T'obetty du Domaine (Kashmir van Schuttershof/Diams du Grasset) finish their weekend like they started it: With another victory! 

The Jumping International de Valence starts all over again next week from August 23th to August 26th and set the appointment for all riders and spectators!


Source: Press release from R&B Presse

Picture © R&B Presse

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