Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso
Denis Lynch (IRL) took the win in tonight’s Prix E.Leclerc 1.55m CSI5* competition after a superb round and jump-off with his 13 year old bay stallion All Star 5. Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) claimed second place with VDL Groep Quatro and Germany’s Daniel Deusser (GER) continued his run of good form with stallion Hidalgo VG to finish in third.
The second day of competition for the Longines Global Champions Tour of Cannes culminated in this evening’s class as 47 world class riders took centre stage in the floodlit arena, with fans and VIPs including Bruce and Patti Springsteen – who are currently on a world tour – watching on as the class unfolded. The first round was a challenging course set by Uliano Vezzani, which set the precedent for the rest of the show, and the big delicate track giving opportunities for fences down all over the course. Sustained accuracy and control all the way around were the themes of the evening, with a committed half stride to the last an option for the brave.
Just four went through to the jump-off, and with over 60,000 euros on offer the scene was set for an intense final round of fast paced competition.
First to go was home rider Julien Epaillard (FRA) with Cristallo A LM, with the local crowd’s hopes resting on this brilliant combination. They were quick throughout, but a fence down put them on four faults. Next up was Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) and VDL Groep Quatro, who crossed the line in 35.30s. Daniel Deusser (GER) and his stallion Hidalgo VG also jumped clear, but were a touch slower than the Dutch rider, riding a little wide to the final fence and crossing the line in 36.07s. Last to go was Ireland’s Denis Lynch with All Star 5, who set off with intent, galloping to the first two fences to make up time and kept up the tempo throughout the course, crossing the line in 34.93s and coasting home.
Earlier today, Ben Maher (GBR) wiped the floor with the opposition after a stunning win in the CSI5* Prix Constance Prince Maurice Trophée MTPA comtant pour Generali FFE French Tour. As the picture perfect sunshine started to give way to twilight, Ben and his fiery chestnut gelding Aristo Z cleared the field by a full three seconds in the 1.45m class, which fielded 72 starters with many of the top riders competing with two horses.
Following the galloping grass arenas of Mexico City, Hamburg, Madrid and Chantilly, the leading horse and rider combinations were faced with a new challenge with the intimate LGCT Cannes sand arena, measuring 75m x 55m in total, best suited to horses quick on their feet and agile in their turns. Ben and Aristo Z have performed well here in the past, with the pair well suited to fast sand arenas and winning classes at every edition of the LGCT Cannes show they’ve competed in.
Uliano Vezzani’s 1.45m course made full use of the arena, with opportunities for tight cut-backs, and enough space to pick up a galloping pace between fences. The liverpool caused a few problems for many of the world class combinations, as did the final fence – a light vertical which caught many off guard as they galloped for home.
Pius Schwizer (SUI) and Balou Rubin R took second place, with the bigger striding 9 year old dark bay gelding unable to match the pace of Ben’s Aristo. Compatriot Jane Richard Philips (SUI) took a strong third with Dieudonne de Guldenboom, and Laura Kraut (USA) took fourth with her young 9 year old grey Confu. Audrey Coulter (USA) was just tenths of a second behind in 5th with Alex, and Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) rounded out the top six with his 11 year old bay mare VDL Groep Arera C. But it was Ben who masterfully guided his hot chestnut gelding around the course, making full use of Aristo’s speed and scope to jump clear in an impressive 52.62s and claiming the lion’s share of the prize money.