Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso
Saturday CSI5* competition opened with the Trofeo GNP Seguros (GNP Insurance), 1.50m class against the clock. With only five clean rides over a course that covered the expanse of the Campo Marte field with a snug time allowed, it was twenty-two year old Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) who stopped the clock in 63.79 and jumped into the top spot aboard the gray KWPN stallion Zilverstar T. After negotiating the first half without fault, Philippaerts turned up the heat for the fastest time by just over two seconds. Riding late in the speed competition, the young rider relegated veteran Christian Ahlmann (GER) and the bay stallion Cariba Z’s time of 65.81s to second place, after the pair had held the lead for most of the class. Third went to the clean and efficient effort by Emanuel Andrade (VEN) aboard Nokia de Brekka.
With a packed grandstand and a line of sunning spectators along one long side and a bustling four-tiered VIP on the other, thirty-six entries attempted to ride fast and clean. Several spots served as challenges along the way, including 7c of the triple combination, 11ab of the vertical-vertical AT&T combination and the long gallop to the final Heineken oxer. Two entries rode fault free over the track but not quite speedy enough for a single time fault. Others had the speed but were plagued by a single rail, like Laura Renwick (GBR) and MHS Washington with four towards the end of the course in 64.02s and LGCT Miami Beach speed class winners David Will and Mic Mac du Tullard with four in 64.49s. Nonetheless Philippaerts clearly came out on top for well ridden speed class win.