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Pedro Junqueira Muylaert with surprise win in Longines Grand Prix of La Baule

Sunday, 14 May 2017
CSIO5* Longines Jumping International de La Baule 2017

Photo (c) Tiffany Van Halle for World of Showjumping. Pedro Junqueira Muylaert and Prince Royal Z MFS celebrate their victory in La Baule. Photo (c) Tiffany Van Halle for World of Showjumping.

Brazilian rider Pedro Junqueira Muylaert surprised everybody when going to the top in the prestigious CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix of La Baule on Sunday afternoon. Riding Prince Royal Z MFS (Prince de Revel x Ramiro Z), the 30-year-old rider left behind him some of the world’s very best – snatching the victory from home hero Patrice Delaveau.

Eight pairs managed to produce clear rounds over Frederic Cottier’s master piece first-round track. The faults spread out over the thirteen fences, but several got in trouble in the combination at 6ab with an airy oxer with a water ditch under or later on the oxer following the open water. The triple combination that was set as the penultimate fence with a vertical-oxer-vertical also fell again and again, while the last massive red oxer caused heartache as well – like for poor Harold Boisset (FRA) who was so close to going clear, but saw the tiny Quolita Z (Quasimodo Z x Ramiro) clip a rail here.

However, with three of the eight riders moving on to the jump-off being French there was plenty of excitement building up for the second part of the competition that played out accompanied by beautiful weather and an electric atmosphere so typical for the French five-star shows.

First to go against the clock was home rider Patrice Delaveau on the lovely Aquila HDC (Ovidius x Lauriston). The two set off in a high pace around the shortened track, that was still long enough though as it used much of the space in the huge grass ring in La Baule with several stretches to gallop between the eight jumps – with the horses having to lengthen and shorten to the very last line. Coming towards the big red oxer that was the fourth-last fence, Delaveau got a great turn back to the next vertical before he galloped on down to the last line supporting a bit on the few last strides – crossing the finish line to wild applause with a clear round in 45.94 seconds.

Next to go was Delaveau’s compatriot Cedric Angot, who unfortunately had two poles down on the second and third jump. Angot was followed by Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann who did a tremendous clear on Cantinero (Cento x Cash) stopping the clock on 46.59 seconds slotting in behind Delaveau.

Last year’s winner Jerome Guery went all in, but took a big risk to the second oxer and Grand Cru van de Rozenberg (Malito de Reve x Heartbreaker) turned on the breaks leaving the Belgian rider last of the eight in the jump-off. Dutch rider Wout-Jan van der Schans had the back-pole on the second oxer down, but his compatriot Maikel van der Vleuten followed next with a lovely clear round on VDL Groep Arera C (Indoctro x Voltaire). It rode a lot faster than it looked, and Van der Vleuten slotted into runner-up position with a time of 46.24 seconds.

However, that was not to last – next in the ring was Pedro Junqueira Muylaert. The Brazilian rider had nothing to lose, and opened with a huge canter – really letting go on the open stretches. Crossing the finish line, it looked like Junqueira Muylaert hardly could believe his own eyes as the score board showed a new leading time of 45.39 seconds – snatching the pole position from the French.

Only one rider could threaten Junqueira Muylaert, and that was home hero Simon Delestre on Qlassic Bois Margot (L’Arc de Triomphe x Galoubet A). Delestre gave it everything he had, and was lifted on by the crowds that filled up every single space around the ring – but in the race down to the last line Qlassic Bois Margot clipped the penultimate vertical with his hind legs – dropping Delestre down to fifth.

Although their biggest win to date, it was not the first big victory for Junqueira Muylaert and Prince Royal Z MFS. The 10-year-old stallion that jumped at the 2016 Olympic Games with Nestor Nielsen van Hoff also won a three-star Grand Prix with Junqueira Muylaert earlier this year at the Winter Equestrian Festival – and today impressed again in La Baule adding a second five-star win for Brazil in one week, following up on Pedro Veniss' victory in Versailles last Sunday.


Text © World of Showjumping // Picture © Tiffany Van Halle for World of Showjumping

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