Saint Tropez, FRA – May 31, 2018 – The first class of the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) of Saint Tropez, Ramatuelle, kicked off in true red-carpet style with Simon Delestre (FRA) and Chesall Zimequest taking a high-octane win in the McLaren Prix CSI5*.
With guests and VIPs settled into the luxurious surroundings, there was an air of anticipation and excitement as the first CSI5* class of the weekend kicked off with 67 of the world’s best international combinations taking to the arena, but it was the flying Frenchman who took a win on home soil, much to the delight of the local spectators.
A smiling Delestre said: “It’s always nice to start the weekend with a good win! Chesall is a fast horse and I knew he would be able to make up the time, so I’m really happy.”
Second went to Sameh El Dahan (EGY) with Championes and third place to Jérôme Guery (BEL) with Celvin with less than 1 second separating the top five.
Uliano Vezzani’s first course of the weekend threw up a few challenges for the top athletes in show jumping, including a tricky double angled at a dog leg across the arena. A beautiful McLaren P1 was parked in the centre of the arena, eye-catching for most but no distraction for the horses and riders.
Daniel Deusser (GER) took an early lead with the head-turning grey Cornet, the light and agile grey and white speckled horse perfectly suited to the long sand arena. 29.78s was the new time to beat, with the fast time forcing others into errors. Cameron Hanley (IRL) and Aiyetoro picked up a costly eight faults in the second phase, and others including Alberto Zorzi (ITA) and Nayel Nassar (EGY) rolled a pole trying to make up the time.
World Number 1 Harrie Smolders (NED) brought with him the top ranked horse in the world, Zinius, but couldn’t continue through to the second phase after an unlucky pole saw them out of contention. Other big names
Hot on the German’s heels was American rider Laura Kraut (USA), with her fiery chestnut Whitney putting in a speedy round to slot just behind Deusser in 29.80 seconds. Peder Fredricson (SWE) with H&M Christian K also gave it a valiant try, but couldn’t match their time to stop the clock over a second slower in 30.89 seconds.
The French speed merchant Simon Delestre (FRA) looked determined to better Deusser’s time, setting off at a blistering pace with Chesall Zimequest at their home event. The pair shaved fractions of a second off the original time to beat, taking the win in 29.12 seconds.
McLaren Prix CSI5*
Place / Rider / Horse / R1 Faults / R2 Faults | Time
1. Simon Delestre / Chesall Zimequest / 0 / 0 | 29.12
2. Sameh El Dahan / Championes / 0 / 0 | 29.25
3. Jérôme Guery / Celvin / 0 / 0 | 29.72
4. Daniel Deusser / Cornet / 0 / 0 | 29.78
5. Laura Kraut / Whitney / 0 / 0 | 29.80
6. Peder Fredricson / H&M Christian K / 0 / 0 | 30.89
7. Geir Gulliksen / VDL Groep Quatro / 0 / 0 | 31.54
8. Jos Verlooy / Caracas / 0 / 0 | 31.65
9. Cian O’Connor / Clenur / 0 / 0 | 32.73
10. Emily Moffitt / It’s Real Love vd Smis Z / 0 / 0 | 32.79
11. Edwina Tops-Alexander / Veronese Teamjoy / 0 / 0 | 33.38
12. Eric van der Vleuten / Wunschkind 19 / 0 / 0 | 33.89
For full results, click here.
Swans Sparkle in Spectacular First Round of the Global Champions League
Shanghai Swans’ Daniel Deusser and Pedro Veniss soared to a second pole position of the season after a challenging GCL first round tested the world’s best on the French Riviera.
Spectators were treated to a showcase of the world’s best athletes in action, as teams fought for the coveted pole position ahead of Saturday’s showdown. But only two teams could manage the elusive double clear, with Shanghai Swans leading the charge ahead of Miami Celtics who put in the only other clean score of the day with Shane Breen and Jessica Springsteen. Slipping into third were the Monaco Aces, with teammates Simon Delestre and Jerome Guery fastest of the four faults in a tight fight for supremacy.
“My horse is a little green so the plan was to go for a slow clear, then Daniel did an amazing job as always! It’s a pleasure to ride on a team with him,” A smiling Veniss spoke after their round. His teammate Deusser highlighted the challenged still to come: “We have a good start for Saturday, but we’re only halfway through. It’s another course, so we have to concentrate and try to go double clear again.”
Uliano Vezzani’s course took no prisoners, with a colourful triple combination set along the grandstand and away from home, a gappy Premiumares fence, delicate Dolce and Gabbana vertical as well as an imposing Julius Bär oxer to finish. A consistent rhythm and attacking pace looked to be the order of the day, with precision turns making all the difference in the long sand arena.
From the start, the world’s best were tested as the fences came up thick and fast, with the pathfinding Berlin Eagles’ Ludger Beerbaum and Ben Asselin rolling a pole each. Bertram Allen and Gin Chin van het Lindenhof of Valkenswaard United collected an uncharacteristic 12 faults, but teammate Alberto Zorzi and Fair Light van T Heike pulled out a brilliant clear, showing just why the Italian rider has become such an important anchor for the blue and orange team.
Simon Delestre of Monaco Aces, fresh from his McLaren Prix CSI5* win earlier today, came up trumps with Hermes Ryan, riding clear as the pair blazed around the arena quickest so far. Just one pole down for teammate Jerome Guery and Garfield de Tiji des Templiers put them into the lead on four faults overall, with the rest of the world-class field to come.
2017 Champions Montreal Diamonds brought out World Number 1 Harrie Smolders with Emerald and U25 rider Jos Verlooy with Igor – the 9-year-old son of Emerald. Seasoned campaigners Smolders and Emerald had an unusual two poles down, including the last, as the gleaming chestnut bucked and skipped his way around the arena. Verlooy was also caught out by the triple combination, putting the team on an overall score of 12 and right in the middle of the pack ahead of Saturday’s final.
A carefully managed clear from Olivier Philippaerts and H&M Legend of Love put overall ranking leaders London Knights in a strong position, however teammate Ben Maher and Winningood clipped the oxer in middle of the triple combination to collect four faults – putting them on an equal score as the Aces but on a slightly slower combined time.
It would be a long wait for the first double clear, but finally the penultimate team, Shanghai Swans, put in a foot-perfect round with Pedro Veniss with Uccello de Will and Daniel Deusser with Tobago Z – the duo teaming up for the second time this season. Indeed, it was the very same pair who took pole position at GCL Madrid, with the combination a proven team for the crucial first round.
The final team to go, Miami Celtics, were the only contenders who could steal the coverted pole position from the Swans.
Shane Breen set off with clear determination, mastering a brilliant clear with Ipswich van de Wolfsakker to put the pressure on teammate Jessica Springsteen to follow suit. Setting off at a fast but careful pace, Springsteen rode RMF Swinny du Parc beautifully around the sand arena, as Breen watched on with baited breath. Clear to the last, Springsteen galloped through the finish gates but stopped the clock just shy of the Swans’ combined time, slipping the Celtics into second.
So it would be the Swans who take their second pole position of the season, with team managers now discussing strategy and tactics, and which pairing to play up front on Saturday, June 2.