Saint Tropez, FRA – June 1, 2018 – Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and De Flipper triumphed at the second day of the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) of Saint Tropez, Ramatuelle, with a brilliant win in the Julius Bär Prix CSI5*.
As the sun began its slow descent over the world-famous Pampelonne Beach, the Italian speed merchant topped a 10 rider jump-off to take the win, just fractions of a second ahead of reigning LGCT Champion and World Number 1 Harrie Smolders (NED) with Zinius and Alberto Zorzi (ITA) with Ulane de Coquerie, who took third.
A beaming de Luca spoke after his win, “My horse is really fast, but it’s the first jump off in a big class for us. He did a fantastic job, he’s very consistent and confident. It’s an amazing show and I’m glad to be here!”
Uliano Vezzani’s course featured a delicate Dolce & Gabbana floral vertical to start, a purple treble combination set across the diagonal of the arena, and a challenging Julius Bär double of liverpools. While the course looked straightforward to walk, it was anything but simple to ride.
Poles rolled all around the arena, with the world’s best tested time and time again by Italian course designer Vezzani’s skill. Riders needed foot-perfect precision in the treble, with many caught out by the striding in and out of the gappy light purple fences.
The last fence caused a few heartbreaks, catching out the likes of Bertram Allen (IRL) with Izzy By Picobello and Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) with Sirocco – both agonisingly close to a spot in the jump-off.
First to go clear was Olivier Philippaerts (BEL), the Belgian talent piloting Extra around the arena and the watching spectators as he pulled a clean round out of his hat, Extra jumping his heart out for Philippaerts.
Anna Kellnerova (CZE) and Silverstone G pulled out all the stops in the tight sand arena, her trainer Jessica Kürten riding every stride from the ‘kiss and cry’, cheering in delight as the young star finished on a zero score. She was quickly joined by LGCT Champion and World Number 1 Harrie Smolders (NED) who looked effortlessly quick on Zinius – the top ranked horse in the world.
Scott Brash (GBR) brought out the 9-year-old gelding Hello Jefferson, riding a beautiful round with the young horse to deliver a clear. He would be joined by Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) with De Flipper, Simon Delestre (FRA) with Chesall Zimequest, Alberto Zorzi (ITA) with Ulane de Coquerie, Darragh Kenny (IRL) with Babalou 41, Jérôme Guery (BEL) with Celvin. Another showcase of top riding saw Marlon Zanotelli (BRA) manage Icarus to make it a 10 rider showdown, the quick Brazilian last to go in the high-powered jump-off.
First rider in, Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) had the tough job of riding the path-finding course, however kept his cool to power around the track with Extra to lay down the gauntlet at 36.04 seconds.
Hot on his heels, Anna Kellnerova (CZE) and Silverstone G looked to be in perfect harmony, the big striding horse flying around the course to knock milliseconds off 35.53 seconds. But she had plenty of challengers still to come, and quickly Harrie Smolders (NED) showed just why he and Zinius are on top of the world, knocking a further second off to set the bar at 34.29 seconds.
Darragh Kenny (IRL) looked dangerous to take over the lead, but a pole down ruled him out of contention. A steady double clear for Scott Brash (GBR) with Hello Jefferson also put them out of the running, the British rider resisting temptation to go for the win, looking at the bigger picture and with a clear long-term plan for his young horse.
The temperature rose again as Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) knocked Smolders off the top spot, but the lead looked set to change hands again after Simon Delestre (FRA), bolstered from an earlier win this weekend and being on home turf, galloped with Chesall Zimequest to the last line. The Frenchman set a faster time at 33.69 seconds, however was eliminated under FEI Jumping rule Article 241.3.3 after a mark was found on his horse in the post competition check.
Final rider to go Marlon Zanotelli (BRA) took an inspired turn back to the GC plank, but the pressure from de Luca’s time was too much – forcing an error as a pole fell. So the speedy Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) would claim the Julius Bär Prix with De Flipper, the pair taking the spotlight as they were presented the trophy from Rémy Bersier.
Julius Bär Prix CSI5*
Place / Rider / Horse / R1 Faults / R2 Faults | Time
1. Lorenzo de Luca / De Flipper / 0 / 0 | 33.93
2. Harrie Smolders / Zinius / 0 / 0 | 34.29
3. Alberto Zorzi / Ulane de Coquerie / 0 / 0 | 34.72
4. Anna Kellnerova / Silverstone G / 0 / 0 | 35.53
5. Olivier Philippaerts / Extra /0 / 0 | 36.04
6. Scott Brash / Hello Jefferson / 0 / 1 | 48.12
7. Marlon Módolo Zanotelli / Icarus / 0 / 4 | 34.90
8. Darragh Kenny / Babalou 41 / 0 / 4 | 34.95
9. Jérôme Guery / Celvin / 0 / 4 | 36.42
10. Simon Delestre / Chesall Zimequest / 0 / ELM
11. René Lopez / Cevrine du Banney Z / 1 | 81.63
12. Niels Bruynseels / Lady Cracotte / 4 | 74.03
For full results, click here.
Aznar Unstoppable in Power-Packed PremiuMares Prix CSI5*
Eduardo Álvarez Aznar (ESP) opened the second day of the LGCT of Saint Tropez, Ramatuelle, with a breath-taking win on his expressive grey gelding Fidux. As temperatures soared on the French Riviera, Aznar left the rest of the world class field in his wake, winning the PremiuMares Prix CSI5* speed class almost a full second ahead of the class.
“After watching the other riders it was already very quick, but I had to try!” Aznar smiled before heading into the prize giving ceremony, where he was presented a trophy by Milena Pappas, Founder of PremiuMares. “He’s a fast horse and I really tried – I knew he could do the time, but I’m very happy with Fidux. It’s a fantastic venue [here in Saint Tropez] and a great way to start the day!”
Uliano Vezzani put together a flowing course, offering up plenty of options for the riders to consider. The world’s best were given chances to turn inside the fences, or take the longer, arguably safer route around them.
Plenty of riders gave it their best shot, but it was Piergiorgio Bucci (ITA) and the eye-catching liver chestnut stallion Casallo Z who quickly rocketed to the top of the of timesheets, the elastic horse reaching over the fences but turning on the spot in between. The Longines clock stopped at 54.57s, almost a second faster than previous attempts and setting a new time to beat.
Others were forced into errors as they took on the course, with disappointment for Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) and Tesway de la Batia, Sameh El Dahan (EGY) with Championes and Julien Epaillard (FRA) with Usual Suspect d’Auge.
Bucci’s time looked unbeatable, with the Italian the long-time leader of the fast-paced class. But quickly the tables turned.
Bassem Hassan Mohammed (QAT) and Argelith Squid powered ahead of Bucci, the grey stallion just a touch quicker to finish in 54.24s. Temperatures rose higher still as French favourite Patrice Delaveau (FRA) entered the ring, the speed merchant a danger to the lead with his horse Vestale de Mazure HDC. The pair, famously fast for their blisteringly quick times pulled out all the stops, knocking half a second off the best time and propelling Delaveau to the top spot.
Just one man stood in the way of Delaveau taking a home win, as Eduardo Álvarez Aznar (ESP) took centre stage with his flashy grey Fidux. The pair set off at a gallop, taking the tightest of turns, jumping the fences at an angle and shaving off milliseconds as they galloped to the final fence. With all eyes on the clock, the duo raced through the finish gates, stopping the clock just ahead in 53.20s and taking the win – almost a full second faster.
PremiuMares Prix CSI5*
Place / Rider / Horse / Faults | Time
1. Eduardo Álvarez Aznar / Fidux / 0 | 53.20
2. Patrice Delaveau / Vestale de Mazure HDC / 0 | 53.70
3. Bassem Hassan Mohammed / Argelith Squid / 0 | 54.24
4. Piergiorgio Bucci / Casallo Z / 0 | 54.57
5. Edward Levy / Rafale d’Hyverniere / 0 | 55.04
6. Laura Kraut / Whitney / 0 | 55.23
7. Jur Vrieling / Baltic VDL / 0 | 55.97
8. Max Thirouin / Utopie Villelongue / 0 | 56.62
9. Bertram Allen / Izzy By Picobello / 0 | 57.19
10. Philippe Rozier / Reveur de Kergane / 0 | 58.29
11. Ben Asselin / Makavoy / 0 | 59.44
12. Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani / Sirocco / 0 | 61.12
For full results, click here.