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Martin Fuchs and Conner Jei top the CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix of Switzerland at St. Gallen

Saturday, 04 June 2022
CSIO5* St. Gallen 2022

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ
Martin Fuchs and Conner Jei won Saturday’s CSIO5* 1.60m Longines Grand Prix of Switzerland in St. Gallen. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Martin Fuchs (SUI) and Conner Jei (Connor 48 x Cosimo) won Saturday’s 1.60m Longines Grand Prix of Switzerland at CSIO5* St. Gallen. The hosts came strong in force for the Grand Prix, with six Swiss riders among the thirteen pairs qualified for the second and deciding round.

The course set by Swiss course designer Gerard Lachat counted 13 obstacles and 16 efforts in the first round. As first to go, Sven Schlusselburg (GER) on Bud Spencer 7 (Artiest de Wynckel x Azett) opened the class by posting a beautiful clear round – which was followed by a multitude of misfortunes as it took until starter number 37 – Sanne Thijssen (NED) on Hi There (Nabab de Reve x Numero Uno) – to post the second clear of the day.

The faults were scattered out all over the course at the vast grass arena of Gruendenmoos: Seven horse-and-rider combinations had to see the very first fence fall, while the open water at fence number four, an oxer with hedges underneath at fence number six, followed by a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination at fence seven, as well as the grey double at fence ten, caused headache – as did the very last related line of two massive oxers.

Thirteen pairs from the 50 starters qualified for the second round, and only Schlusselburg, Thijssen, Marc Houtzager (NED) on Holy Moley (Verdi TN x Warrant), Edouard Schmitz (SUI) on Quno (Quo Vadis I x Cashandcarry), Bryan Balsiger (SUI) on Dubai du Bois Pinchet (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Andiamo), Wilm Vermeir (BEL) on Iq van het Steentje (Toulon x Kannan) and Martin Fuchs (SUI) on Conner Jei (Connor 48 x Cosimo) did so with a clear result from round one. Koen Vereecke (BEL) on Kasanova de la Pomme (Bamako de Muze x Malito de Reve) picked up one time penalty, while Alain Jufer (SUI) on Dante MM (Diarado x Luxius), Gregory Wathelet (BEL) on Iron Man van de Padenborre (Darco x Chin Chin), Harry Charles (GBR) on Romeo 88 (Contact van de Heffinck x Orlando), Pius Schwizer (SUI) on Vancouver de Lanlore (Toulon x Le Tot se Semilly) and Elian Baumann (SUI) on Campari Z (Contact van de Heffinck x Platini M) carried four faults to the second round, which was jumped over a shortened track.

In round two, everyone except Schusselburg – who fell off at fence three after Bud Spencer pulled on the brakes – posted clear rounds. Second last to go, Fuchs and the huge jumping Conner Jei took over the lead, stopping the clock on 42.91. As last to go, Vermeir crossed the finish line in 44.76 seconds, slotting in between the Swiss, taking the runner-up position ahead of Balsiger in third, Schmitz in fourth and Thijssen in fifth.

"It was my big goal to finally win the Grand Prix here, and I'm very happy that I have achieved it," Fuchs said. "At the moment everything is going like a clockwork and I can lean back on a great group of horses that I have a chance of winning with at every show."

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