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Riviera rollercoaster as Peder Fredricson triumphs in LGCT Grand Prix of Cannes

Sunday, 10 June 2018
CSI5* LGCT Cannes 2018

Photo (c) Stefano Grasso/LGCT. Peder Fredricson with Hansson WL. Photo (c) Stefano Grasso/LGCT.

Peder Fredricson (SWE) and the 10-year-old Hansson WL (Hip Hop x Iowa) reigned supreme in the LGCT Grand Prix of Cannes winning a supercharged jump-off against the heavyweight stars of show jumping. It was a night of explosive top sport next to the shores of the Mediterranean for the 7th leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour circuit.

Fredricson’s victory means he has qualified for a coveted place at the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix at the spectacular new GC Playoffs in Prague in December. Speaking after the prize-giving ceremony he said: “I am really excited to go to Prague, it’s going to be really good.”

After the event it was announced that €3 million, in addition to the €6 million already spent on infrastructure at the venue, has been agreed by the City of Cannes and Mayor David Lisnard to continue to improve the facilities.

It was a rollercoaster start to the LGCT Grand Prix of Cannes as course designer Uliano Vezzani’s tough first round track triggered multiple faults and retirements from a string of top riders. Kevin Staut (FRA) retired to huge disappointment from the crowd and was followed by Bertram Allen (IRL). Under floodlights and in balmy temperatures on the French Riviera, more major players tumbled out of the 1.60m class including Maikel van der Vleuten (NED), Christian Ahlmann (GER), Alberto Zorzi (ITA) and overall LGCT ranking leader Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS).

There was palpable tension as the tough course beat combination after combination until Ludger Beerbaum (GER) and his chestnut Casello (Casall x Carolus I) turned the tide and delivered the first clear round. The appreciative crowd applauded as the combination cleared the difficult triple combination in front of the grandstands and cheered with delight as Ludger and Casello finished with a clean scoresheet.

It was a full house at the Cannes showground and the excitement rose as reigning LGCT Champion Harrie Smolders (NED) demonstrated world class form with his top stallion Emerald (Diamant de Semilly x Carthago Z) going clear and ensuring a jump-off. With the top five on the overall LGCT ranking out of the jump-off, Harrie had a serious chance to rise up the leaderboard.

Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (SWE) was next to win through to the jump-off with Oak Grove’s Carlyle (Casall x Corrado I) producing a super smooth round. The high calibre line up continued to grow as the crowd went wild as Simon Delestre (FRA) and Hermes Ryan (Hugo Gesmeray x Ryon d'Anzex) entered the sand arena. The atmosphere was electric as the top combination secured a clear round into the jump-off. Peder Fredricson looked formidable from the start and Hansson kicked out his hind legs emphatically after clearing the final fence.

Cameron Hanley (IRL) on his grey Quirex (Quirado x Concept) grey powered round the course with a superb rhythm to a wonderful clear. Hanley wore a black armband in a poignant tribute to the young Irish rider Jack Dodd who tragically died in a road accident this week. 

Dutchman Jur Vrieling riding VDL Glasgow (Nabab de Reve X Darco) and Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts on Extra (Berlin x Heartbreaker) joined the parade of stars through to the jump-off.

The knowledgeable crowd and guests from all over the world were treated to an exceptional display of speed and precision. Simon Delestre said: “We have seen sport today that is the highest we can see.”

In the jump-off Ludger Beerbaum was first to stop the clock at 42.55s but was quickly beaten by a super fast round from Harrie Smolders and Emerald in 38.46. The race was on. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson could not catch them and finished in 39.82.

The temperature soared as Simon Delestre and Hermes Ryan rocketed around the simplified course, but finished fractions of a second behind Smolders in a time of 38.53s.

The bar was set high but Peder Fredricson and Hansson were not intimidated. Making good use of Hansson’s long stride, the Swedish star gained time between fences and crossed the finish line in 38.05. Fredricson watched anxiously as Cameron Hanley, Jur Vrieling and Olivier Philippaerts pulled out all the stops but could not beat his time.

The result still means Edwina Tops-Alexander remains overall LGCT ranking leader, but both Harrie Smolders and Simon Delestre have crept up the standings as the series heads to Cascais, Estoril next weekend.

“I’m really, really happy about the win today. It feels fantastic," said Peder Fredricson. "And I’m very impressed with my horse. It came at a good time as All In has been out for a few months - he’ll be doing his first show next week - but of course getting this new horse in the stable means a lot. I’m very excited to go to Prague, and I’m looking forward to the [Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix] - it’s going to be a tough competition!"

Runner-up Harrie Smolders said: “It’s tough to beat the Swedish! And he was already a few times in the way! His horse jumped incredible and this combination are on top at the moment, and it’s well deserved. Emerald had a few weeks off, and last week I needed to get back in the rhythm. This show I felt him getting better and better, so I had good hopes for the Grand Prix and it turned out very well! I’m looking forward to the rest of the season as I have all my horses in the show rhythm. I have three good results in the Global and hopefully we’ll get more in the next few shows.”

“The jump-off was really amazing today," said third-placed Simon Delestre. "I went as fast as I could with Ryan, but in the end they were faster and I could not do so much. I was second last year, and I tried to do my best this year, so maybe I’ll catch [the win] one time. It’s an amazing show, I’ve been here for many years and I enjoy it, but as Jan said we saw top sport today so I’m pleased to be on the podium."

Source: Press release from LGCT // Photo © Stefano Grasso/LGCT

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