(Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT)
By Global Champions Tour
Rising star twenty-year-old Contant van Paesschen (BEL) won the afternoon’s big class in spectacular style in Shanghai with his relatively new ride Citizenguard Cadjanine Z. The young Belgian scorched around Uliano Vezzani’s jump-off course to take the valuable win from Ireland’s Billy Twomey in 2nd with Ardcolum Duke and Cassio Rivetti (UKR) in 3rd with Chataga. The local crowd thoroughly enjoyed their first taste of world-class international show jumping, clapping enthusiastically as the young star finished his round.
With US$370,000 in prize money on the table, the line-up of top riders in Shanghai meant business as they set out on course. Of the 28 starters, nine clears moved through to the jump-off after the ‘firm but fair’ first round. Every single rider in the jump-off jumped a second clear round, so it was all down to the time and in the end only three seconds separated the top eight riders.
Billy Twomey, from third to go in the draw, set the pace at a blistering 39.16s. Grand Prix favourite Ludger Beerbaum (GER) chose to save his young mount Carinou and opted for a steady clear. From the middle of the draw Constant van Paesschen was a on a mission, “I thought, “Wow! They are all jumping clear! I will have to go fast,” he said after the class. Constant stopped the clock at 39.13s.
Try as they might, the rest of the competitors were not able to catch the speedy young Belgian. The winner of the morning class Jane Richard Philips (SUI) put in second great performance of the day for another double clear. While Michael Whitaker (GBR), Marc Houtzager (NED) Cassio Rivetti and Billy Twomey were all within 0.5s of the winner, none could better the fastest time.
“It is fantastic to win here, the show is great, the facilities are really great and I am so pleased. The crowd were really supportive and my horse jumped really good,” said Constant after the class. The young rider took his first LGCT Bronze medal in Antwerp at the start of this year’s Championship season and looks to be one to watch for the rest of the Tour. “I hope to do well in the Grand Prix tomorrow, it is exciting to be here and I am really enjoying the city”