Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso
It was an electric start to the Longines Global Champions Tour of Cannes with David Will (GER) and Bertram Allen (IRL) winning the 1.45m opening CSI5* class in an incredible dead heat. The pair crossed the line with identical times, sharing the win in the Prix BMW Bayern Avenue, and despite the challenging weather conditions top sport prevailed.
The world’s best horses and riders were truly tested in the afternoon class, with thunder and lightning thrown into the mix on the normally sunny destination of Cannes. Just a stone’s throw from the world famous La Croisette, the Cannes event is a special combination of glamour and top-class sport in the heart of the French Rivera, with today’s opening class kick-starting the weekend of show jumping. The two phase competition, where riders had to jump the first half of the class clear in order to progress to the timed element, was a course designed by Uliano Vezzani and gave enough challenges to for the world class combinations while also providing a fair and jump-able course. Unfazed by the weather, the riders and horses took centre stage in the intimate floodlit arena, watched on by fans and VIPs who cheered them on during the impressive first round of action.
David Will (GER) soon stormed the lead, with top horse Mic Mac du Tillard, his experienced 16 year old chestnut mare, crossing the line in an impressive 26.36s and making up time all the way around the course. Hot on his heels was young Belgian talent, Jos Verlooy (BEL) who rode a beautiful round with Farfelu de la Pomme but was unable to match David’s time, crossing the line in 28.78s, and finishing in 4th overall. Pedro Veniss (BRA) was the next rider to have a go for the lead, with his beautiful black AD Argos riding a stunningly careful round amidst the downpour. The pair put in a valiant effort, and crossed the line in 28.20s, two seconds off the lead.
Leading French rider Simon Delestre (FRA) gave the crowd a fantastic performance with his chestnut gelding, Chesall Zimequest, as the local fans cheered him on. They crossed the line in 29.13s, and secured themselves 5th place in the class. Daniel Deusser (GER) and his stallion Hidalgo VG rounded out the top six, just tenths of a second behind the Frenchman to finish on a time of 29.27s.
Towards the end of the round Bertram Allen (IRL) set off at a pace with Quiet Easy, notably notching it up a gear as the pair jumped cleanly into the second phase. Renowned for his speed and agility, Bertram guided the chestnut gelding around the course, at a pace that showed intention to win. Bertram galloped to the water tray, flying over the jump and galloped to the last to make up the time – crossing the line in 26.36s, matching that of David Will’s to the millisecond.