(Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT)
By Global Champions Tour
The final class of the first historic Longines Global Champions Tour of Paris Eiffel Jumping, the Gucci Gold Cup, was won by the one and only Marcus Ehning (GER) with Sabrina, a rider who has has a spectacular show, as he also finished 3rd in last night’s LGCT Grand Prix with Cornado NRW and 2nd in yesterday morning’s class with Sabrina. Second place went to Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) with VDL Groep Sapphire B and 3rd went to Reed Kessler (USA) with Cylana.
The first round of the 41-strong class saw another technical track from Uliano Vezzani. The startlist was packed with top names, but clear rounds were few and far between, with the Gucci branded fences once again falling frequently. Seven riders went through to the jump-off on a zero score, including Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Vindicat W, Simon Delestre (FRA) and Stardust Quinhon, and Patrice Delaveau (FRA) and Ornella Mail HDC.
First to go, Jessica Springsteen lowered the first fence, as did Delaveau and Harrie Smolders (NED). Delestre came close to catching the winning time, but had the last fence down, the Gucci upright. Kessler was the first clear round, taking smooth swift turns to stop the clock at 38.28s with her 2012 Olympic ride. Maikel van der Vleuten followed with his quick grey mare and shaved 1.5s from the American’s time. Late in the draw, Marcus Ehning rode a masterful and deceptively quick route to take the win with a time of 35.16s.
Ahead of next weekend’s Cascais, Estoril Grand Prix, all eyes are on the look out for who might challenge LGCT Ranking Leader Kevin Staut for the crown. With Ehning on such great form and lying in 8th place on the leaderboard, he has once again become the hotly-tipped favourite to win the 2014 Championship title. But with a flying Kevin Staut and a consistent Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) to contend with, we can no doubt look forward to another ranking lead change in Portugal.
Jan Tops – President Longines Global Champions Tour
Virginie Couperie-Eiffel – President Paris Eiffel Jumping
Robert Triefus – Chief Marketing Officer Gucci
Marcus Ehning (GER) – Gucci Gold Cup winner
Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) – Runner-up, Gucci Gold Cup
Reed Kessler (USA) – 3rd, Gucci Gold Cup
Marcus Ehning – “I am very happy with her. She was yesterday 2nd in the first class, for myself a really good weekend, I was happy to be third yesterday. But today in the jump-off I know what she can do, she has a lot of experience and I know her well.”
Maikel van der Vleuten – “My horse has always been good as long as I have had her. She has been out injured for three months, so it has been nice for me that she is back at this level and she gave me a very good feeling – I was just not fast enough. A very good round from Marcus, I was happy with my jump-off, but I could have gone faster especially as Marcus’ horse is naturally fast and Marcus is good at riding the smooth jump-offs so he deserves it today.”
Reed Kessler – “It’s a super birthday for me today. But I have a big check from Gucci and I cannot go shopping as I am leaving Paris today! I am really happy with Cylana. When I went into the jump-off, there were so many faults so I wanted to put pressure on the others but make sure I jumped a clear round. These two are speedsters so they beat me in the end, but I am going to Aachen with her in a few weeks so it’s a really nice way to finish before I take her there.”
Virginie Couperie-Eiffel – “I am very happy. Thank you to my partners who supported us for this first edition, Longines and Gucci. I think we had a fantastic competition with the Gucci Gold Cup today with an amazing jump-off.”
Robert Triefus – “As a sponsor, we couldn’t think of a more impactful and beautiful backdrop, and we had the world’s top riders here today and even with challenging weather conditions we’ve had a wonderful day and we are very proud to be associated with such a successful event. Gucci has been associated with equestrianism for decades and each decade we try to do even better with the sport and it’s a sport that’s growing in popularity around the world thanks to the great riders and the media coverage, so we are very happy to be involved with a sport that is bringing enjoyment to more and more people.”
Jan Tops – “For the Gucci Gold Cup, you see the riders come out with their best horses again and of course Marcus is really on form. Yesterday he was on the podium and again today. Paris and the location is unique and you dream to have a show here. Virginie made it happen over the last three years and we were talking often about it but we needed to get the okay to have it here. To get that is very special. This was a great first edition, we were a little unlucky with the weather. It is fantastic to have this location and I’m sure we will be back.”