Luciana Diniz (POR) and her impressive grey stallion Winningmood had the crowd on the edge of their seats after an electric jump-off in the opening day of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Chantilly. Racing to the finish a full second ahead of the rest of the field, the pair made a triumphant return to the Tour, with today’s result the perfect prelude to hot competition ahead of Saturday’s Grand Prix.
Set against the breath-taking backdrop of the Chateau de Chantilly, spectators flocked to the grandstand to watch the world’s best horses and riders take to the lush grass arena as the sun burst through the clouds for an afternoon of top sport. Uliano Vezzani put together a challenging but fair track, featuring gappy verticals and a tricky white plank set against the white backdrop of the VIP hospitality. A huge Longines oxer, before a short stride to a skinny vertical, was one of the toughest combinations, catching out many of the top riders. For the full report of the first round, please click here.
So it would be 13 rider jump-off, as the top athletes in the world returned to the arena to battle it out for the lion’s share of the 92,000 euro prize purse.
First in was Scott Brash (GBR) and the young eight year old Hello Senator. After a beautiful clear first round, the top British rider carefully guided the young gelding around the jump-off, putting in a fantastic display of horsemanship to stop the clocks clear in 42.84s. Although a good time, the Olympian had left the door slightly ajar, with some of the fastest riders on the grid yet to come.
Despite there being room for manoeuvre, the pressure to ride faster clear kept the crowd on the edge of their seats, as many tried, and failed, to better the pair’s time. Jack Towell (USA) with Emilie de Diamant A S, Ales Opatrny (CZE) with Dimaro v.d.Looise Heide, Jos Verlooy (BEL) with Igor and Kerry Mc Cahill (USA) with Vatson Sitte all pushed but were caught out with poles falling all over the field.
Paris Sellon (USA) and her expressive grey mare Cassandra put in another strong clear, but the duo couldn’t match Brash’s time, stopping the clock in 43.63s and slipping in just behind the lead. Others went for the gap, but it came undone at difficult fence on the field – the Longines double, with many taking out the front rail including John Whitaker (GBR) and Cassinis Chaplin, Carlos Lopez (COL) with Cuplandra, David Will (GER) with Cento du Rouet and the speedy Kent Farrington (USA) with Sherkan d’Amaury.
It looks as though Brash had played the percentages, until former LGCT Champion of Champions Luciana Diniz (POR) re-entered the arena with her eye-catching grey stallion Winningmood. Setting off at a gallop, the pair looked determined for the win, racing around the arena. Turning back tight to the vertical and taking a galloping flier to the last, the formidable strong combination wowed the crowds, stopping the clock a full second ahead of the rest of the field in 41.37s.
So the win would go to Luciana Diniz (POR) and Winningmood, with Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Senator in second and Paris Sellon (USA) with Cassandra in third. Saturday will see the GCL Chantilly final kick off at 13:45 local time (7:45 a.m. EST), with the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Chantilly taking place at 17:15 (11:15 a.m. EST).