(Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT)
By Global Champions Tour
As the sun sank towards the horizon at beautiful Port Hercule, Monaco, the afternoon’s hotly contested CSI5* Prix SBM Le Casino was won by the USA’s Kent Farrington with Willow, who clinched the win from last to go in the jump-off, ahead of Pius Schwizer (SUI) and Anisette de Lassus in 2nd, and a thrilled Ali Yousef al Rumaihi (QAT) with Gunder in 3rd, in front of a vocal crowd and packed VIP suite.
The first round course from Luc Musette was a challenging mix of tight lines and wide oxers. Many horse and rider combinations collected faults at oxers, either due to a rub on a tall, light front rail in one of the short combinations or some found the width of a spread just too much in the tight arena. Fifteen riders collected four faults, including previous LGCT Grand Prix winners Scott Brash, Pieter Devos, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, Laura Kraut and Doda de Miranda.
Nine riders of the 43 starters made it through to the jump-off round. The course required care and precision rather than an attacking ride, and many riders came away with four faults picked up at various points around the serpentine route. Ben Maher set the pace, lowering a tall upright across the middle but setting a quick time of 36.08s to finish fourth. Each rider to follow again collected penalties until Pius Schwizer, in the middle of the draw, put in a confident round with his young horse to claim the first double clear in a time of 40.63s.
Ali Yousef Al Rumaihi put in a cool-headed performance to jump the second double clear and put himself well up the placings with 40.74s, making this one of the biggest results of his career and he also became the second Qatari high up the prizes today after Abdulrahman al Saaq al Marri’s victory in the previous class. But with pole position and having the benefit of seeing where others had made errors, Kent Farrington rode a polished round to make him only the third double clear of the competition and the winner with a time of 37.92s.
With the big class coming up tomorrow night, it’s tough to choose a possible winner but with the Qataris showing some consistent good form, there may well be a maroon-coated rider on the podium tomorrow. The feature class of the show the Longines Global Champions Tour of Monaco Grand Prix will be live tomorrow from 18.30pm local time Saturday 28th June on GCT TV, ClassHorseTV and Equidia Life, and on Eurosport and beIN Sports from 21.15pm local time.