Sultan de Chateau on the way to victory in the Stephex Grand Prix in Oliva with Laurent Guillet in the saddle. Photo (c) Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com.
The first week of the 2016 Spring MET II concluded today in Oliva, with a win for France’s Laurent Guillet and Sultan du Chateau in the CSI2* Stephex Grand Prix. Finishing in 43.19 seconds, Laurent Guillet and the half-brother of the legendary Itot du Chateau defeated Belgium’s 17-year-old talent Zoe Conter in the Grand Prix presented by her father’s company Stephex. Correctly enough, Stephex-rider Petronella Andersson ended up in third place securing two of the three podium positions for Stephan Conter’s strong team.
“I had a very good feeling today; my horse felt fantastic,” Laurent Guillet stated after his win. Aboard Sultan du Chateau (Kannan x Galoubet A) – that comes out of the same mother as Edwina Tops-Alexander’s unforgettable Itot du Chateau – Guillet has had great success over the years. “I got the horse as a 5-year-old and he is now 10. Sultan got his education by me, and he turned out to be a super horse for competition. He is very fast, really intelligent and has a lot of blood,” Laurent said about his impressive mount who already won numerous Grand Prix competitions throughout his career. “For me Oliva has been a very good show. It was top footing today as well as a great and interesting Grand Prix,” Guillet commented on first week of the MET II. As to his plans for 2016, the French rider stated: “I think my horse will be able to jump five-star Grand Prix classes this year, as he is developing excellent and has reached 10 years of age.”
As last to go, Guillet beat the only 17-year-old Zoe Conter – daughter of Stephex Stables’ owner Stephan Conter. The talented Belgian rider has had some excellent results over the last couple of months, with a second place in the CSI2* Grand Prix of Mechelen and a third place in the CSI4* 1.50m of Jumping Amsterdam as some of the highlights.
Riding Zeta di Sabuci (Kannan x Robin II Z), Zoe settled for runner-up position again in today’s Grand Prix. “I saw Petronella’s round, which was very fast and I thought it would be really hard to beat her. But since she is riding for Stephex Stables too, we are a team and it doesn’t really matter who is on top. Being a strong team is the most important,” Zoe commented after beating her colleague Petronella Andersson and Cantacorda (Canturo x Accord II).
Zoe’s horse Zeta di Sabuci has been a loyal partner for her the last months. “I have been riding Zeta for about six months, and we grew into a real team. She is super careful, has all the scope and she will do anything for me,” said Zoe. Riding at the CSI4* show Jumping Amsterdam, gave Conter a real boost; “For me riding in Amsterdam was a great experience and really gave me a lot of confidence. Competing here in Oliva, I feel more confident than ever and today it paid off!”
Zoe will use the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour to build up her other horses to a higher level as well. “I will also try to get my other horses ready for the big classes here in Oliva, and my ambition is to ride some good shows this year alongside the world’s best riders!”
Besides Laurent Guillet, Zoe Conter and Petronella Andersson, Swiss rider Alain Jufer also showed off great form with Wiveau M (Niveau x Concorde) finishing 4th in 46.83 seconds. Great Britain’s Jaime Wingrove and Cardigan Z (Chellano Z x Zeus) ended up on fifth spot, stopping the clock at 48.20 seconds.
Source: Press release from 2016 Spring Mediterranean Equestrian Tour // Picture © Hervé Bonnaud, www.1clicphoto.com.