World of Showjumping
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Pedro Veniss and Quabri de l´Isle make a dream come true winning the Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva

Sunday, 11 December 2016
CHI Geneva 2016

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson "It is a childhood dream to win here,” an extremely happy Pedro Veniss said after his win in Geneva with Quabri de l´Isle. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Pedro Veniss’ face was covered in one big smile as he won the Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva riding his “magnifique” Quabri de l´Isle (Kannan x Socrate de Chivre) after a masterpiece of a jump-off. “Quabri jumped fantastic the first round so I had to try everything in the jump-off. It is a childhood dream to win here,” an extremely happy Veniss said after his win.

Like last year, 16 competitors qualified for the jump-off over the first CSI5* 1.60m track of Switzerland’s course designer Gérad Lachat. Faults spread out all over the 14-fence track where nearly all 17 efforts came on a related distance. It was only the gallop from fence two to the combination at fence three, and from the triple combination at nine to the wall at fence ten that gave the horses and riders room to breathe.

The riders who found their rhythm made the course look easy while others struggled to clear the huge fences as they could not give their horses the necessary balance.

The first clear came already at start three from on-form rider Niels Bruynseels and Cas de Liberte (Cracky Z x Chellano Z). The Belgian rider was later joined by many world-class combinations, such as home favorite Steve Guerdat who did his last performance with super star Nino des Buissonnets (Kannen x x Narcos II), Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final runner-up Christian Ahlmann on Taloubet Z (Galoubet A x Polydor), Simon Delestre and Qlassic Bois Margot (L’arc de Triomphe x Galoubet A), Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and his amazing Casall Ask (Caretino 2 x Lavall 5) and the first and only rider to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Scott Brash on Ursula XII (Ahorn x Papageno).

Photo (c) Jenny Abrhamsson “I added one more stride to the last vertical to be safe and that cost me the first place," Olivier explained at the press conference. Photo (c) Jenny Abrhamsson.

The jump-off turned out to be a thriller as all 16 riders obviously were extremely motivated to chase the Rolex Grand Prix win, this on the expense of some unexpected faults. The course was reduced to seven fences and eight efforts as the b and c-element of the former Rolex triple combination came as fence number six. The distances between the first three fences as well as the line to the final vertical opened up for a good canter, but it was the ability to ride the most accurate turn from the fourth fence to the wall at the fifth fence as well as getting a good line down to the following combination that proved to be the ultimate challenge. Several riders were ahead of Veniss after the first half of the jump-off track, but lost the victory over the following four fences.

Niels Bruynseels was first to go and crossed the finish line on a clean sheet at 40,52 seconds. Home rider Martin Fuchs was next to go, but did not get the turn to the wall as planned and had to leave the course by foot as Clooney 51 (Cornet Obolensky x Ferragamo) put on the breaks and lost the bridle as a result. The home crowds did not get much more to cheer for as Niklaus Rutschi and Windsor XV (Karandasj x Wellington) ended on 12 faults.

Then it was time for Pedro Veniss and his lovely Quabri de l’Isle. As the first rider to do so Veniss placed his line from the second fence to the third on the right side of the wall that he later was to jump as fence five, instead of going on the left side like the riders before him. This gave him a shorter way down to the next oxer, but it also made the angle sharper. Several riders followed his example while others chose to draw the line out as that also made the turn from three to four easier. For Pedro and Quabri de l’Isle every turn around the jump-off track still looked easy and they hit every stride perfectly balanced to end the course in 38,96 seconds which was 1,56 seconds faster than Niels Bruynseels.

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Number three: Scott Brash and Ursula XII. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Twelve riders did their best to beat Veniss, without succeeding. Janika Sprunger ended as the best Swiss rider as number eight with four faults. Harrie Smolders and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson both produced clear rounds, but they could not beat Veniss’ time. Penelope Leprevost and Flora de Mariposa (For Pleasure x Power Light) were in the lead towards the combination, but got both fences down and could look long after the Rolex title, while Christian Ahlmann and Taloubet Z got an uncharacteristic refusal at fence four and Steve Guerdat’s attempt to give Nino his last victory failed as the angle to fence two got too sharp and they had to make a circle.

Speed machines Simon Delestre and Roger-Yves Bost could not keep the fences intact, while their fellow country man Kevin Staut secured the only double clear for France to finally end fourth aboard Reveur de Hurtebise HDC (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Capricieux Des 6 Censes).

It was Olivier Philippaerts and H&M Legend of Love (Landzauber x Corgraf) who came closest to taking the big win, but 39,21 seconds was not enough and the Belgian rider had to settle for second place. “I added one more stride to the last vertical to be safe and that cost me the first place. I am still super happy with my horse and I think it is a very special horse for the future,” Olivier explained at the press conference.

Last to go was the Rolex Grand Slam legend Scott Brash who was on a mission to win another Rolex Grand Prix. In his accurate way of riding he did a super round with Ursula XII to take the final place on the podium as number three with the time 39,41. “Ursula jumped absolutely amazing today, she could not have done anything more. Congratulations to Pedro, he did an absolutely amazing round and he is a deserved winner,” Brash said afterwards.



Text © World of Showjumping //  Pictures © Jenny Abrahamsson

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