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World no one Simon Delestre takes world class win in split second thriller

Saturday, 23 April 2016
CSI5* LGCT Antwerp 2016

Simon Delestre and Qlassic Bois Margot won Friday's feature class at the LGCT in Antwerp. Photo (c) Stefano Grasso/LGCT.
Simon Delestre and Qlassic Bois Margot won Friday's feature class at the LGCT in Antwerp. Photo (c) Stefano Grasso/LGCT.

Simon Delestre grabbed the 5* spotlight on Friday evening as the top three riders came within two hundredths of a second of each other in an extraordinary demonstration of high calibre sport at the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Antwerp.

It was a battle of nanoseconds as the World No1 and former LGCT Antwerp Grand Prix winner took the honours in the 1.50 / 1.55m CSI5* BMW-sponsored class. The pace and performance was sensational, with many of the world’s top horses and riders in action under floodlights on the River Scheldt in Europe’s 'Diamond City’.

With spectators holding their breath, Bertram Allen (IRL) on the experienced Romanov (Heartbreaker x Fedor) and Penelope Leprevost (FRA) with Vagabond de la Pomme (Vigo d''Arsouilles x For Pleasure), were joint second, crossing the line at the exact same time in 38.39s - something highly unusual in the sport. It was seen only once before last year in Paris, when Ben Maher and Karim El Zoghby took a joint win in the final class of the day.

The first round course featured light poles and cups, with delicacy the word of the day. Three skinny poles played their part with many caught out in the intimate floodlit arena.

Ten riders went through to the jump-off, with some of the world’s top horse and rider combinations in the mix for this electric round of competition. Penelope Leprevost and Vagabond de la Pomme were the first to jump clear in a strong 38.39s. Despite Vagabond de la Pomme not being a classic speed horse, Penelope rode a smooth round, shaving all corners possible and covering the ground with a good galloping stride.

Home rider Niels Bruynseels and his fiery hose Gancia de Muze (Malito de Reves x Nimmerdor) set off at a phenomenal pace, however were unable to catch the leading French rider, much to the groan of the local watching crowd. Compatriot Pieter Devos was faster in time, but with one fence down were unable to claim a medal in the tight speed class.

World number 1 Simon Delestre and his Grand Prix winning horse Qlassic Bois Margot ( l''Arc de Triomphe x Galoubet A) were next to go, steaming ahead and crossing the line just two tenths faster than his fellow French rider, in an impressive 38.37s.

Jessica Mendoza (GBR) and yesterday’s speed class winner Eric Lamaze (CAN) both caught an unlucky pole as they pushed for the fastest time. Janika Sprunger (SUI) caught a time fault with their jump-off round, and John Whitaker (GBR) joined those on four faults launching a little too early into the combination. Patrice Delaveau (FRA) was the final rider and despite putting in a valiant effort also came away with four faults, leaving his compatriot Simon with the win.


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

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