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St Tropez Pirates take pole position in Riviera battle

Friday, 09 June 2017
CSI5* LGCT Cannes 2017

Photo (c) Stefano Grasso/GCL. Jerome Guery for St Tropez Pirates. Photo (c) Stefano Grasso/GCL.

The team St Tropez Pirates took the win in the first round of the Global Champions League of Cannes last night.

Talking about their powerful performance in Cannes, Pirates rider Jérôme Guery said “I’m really happy. I knew I’d have to ride clear [for us] to stay in the competition as I had a little pressure on me, but I’m really happy with my horse.” Teammate and best friend Simon Delestre agreed the team had propelled themselves into the best possible position: “It’s good to be in the lead, and we knew we had to jump clear to be in with a chance. We have a very good team spirit - we are good friends and we want to fight for each other.”

Uliano Vezzani’s course was a tough test for the world’s best, with multiple fences causing headaches. Making full use of the space, Uliano’s winding circuit featured signature gappy oxers and a colourful treble across the diagonal line. The biggest challenge however was the penultimate fence; an imposing full height stack of planks, featuring a colourful image of a super yacht which caught the eye of many horses.

While there was plenty of drama, several riders and horses shone under the spotlight, with clears coming from St Tropez Pirates' Jerome Guery, Miami Glory’s Scott Brash, London Knights’ Ben Maher and Shanghai Swans’ Roger-Yves Bost, much to the delight of the watching spectators. 

U25 star Emily Moffitt put in an impressive round alongside teammate Ben Maher to propel the team up to third place. Another young star to shine was Evelina Tovek of the Mexico Amigos, who only picked up a time fault. Teammate Christian Ahlmann on the other hand picked up an unusual 13 faults, putting the team down in 8th ahead of Saturday’s final.

First to fall foul of the planks was Cascais Charms rider Nicola Pohl, who after a double refusal eliminated the team from the rest of the competition. The fence caused drama throughout the field, after home team rider Ludger Beerbaum of the Cannes Stars followed suit as did Chantilly Pegasus’ Lucy Davis. Daniel Deusser of the Shanghai Swans also had a first refusal, but managed to jump it, saving the team from elimination but dropping them down to 10th overall.

Doha Fursan Qatar’s strategy of consistency once again paid off, with Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani and Bassem Hassan Mohammed collecting four faults apiece to put them on a team total of eight. In second position heading into the final, the team will be hoping for another podium result, with the overall GCL ranking battle tighter than ever. Current leaders Hamburg Diamonds finished tonight in 11th, after star striker Harrie Smolders and Jos Verlooy picked up eight faults each.

Snapping at their heels are long-time leaders Valkenswaard United who, after a strong fifth with Alberto Zorzi and Janika Sprunger, will be hoping to leap ahead and back up to the top of the rankings. 

The tough test tonight will see teams now planning their strategy for Saturday’s round two showdown, deciding which horse and rider combinations to field to gain maximum advantage in the compact sand arena and under floodlights on the Côte d’Azur. 


Source: Press release from the GCL / Picture © Stefano Grasso/GCL

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