A field of 50 horse and rider combinations – including 8 of the world’s top 10 – battled for a win in the The Longines Global Champions Tour of Cannes Grand Prix (CSI5*) last night. It all came down to a blisteringly fast jump-off, with Scott Brash’s brilliant ride sealing him the win.
The stands were packed with an enthusiastic French crowd and the requisite Cote D’Azur glitterati, including Bruce Springsteen, whose daughter Jessica was the night’s best placed U.S. rider with her spectacular mount Cynar V.
Of the 50 riders, just 18 would move on to round 2. As the number of 4-faulters increased, 19 in all, so too did the pace – each hoping to make the cut-off. There were 8 clear in round 1, and Dennis Lynch with a single penalty thanks to a time fault, that easily made the cut, the remaining riders carried a single rail into round 2.
8 jumped clear in round 2, the Uliano Vezzani-designed course a fair but substantial test for horse and rider. Of those 8, just 4 remained faultless on the day and moved on to what would be a thrilling, crowd-pleaser of a jump-off.
French rider Roger Yves Bost was first in against the clock, his hometown crowd offering enthusiastic support. He and Sangria du Coty put in a brilliant clear, clocking in at 40.52 seconds.
Hopes of a French win were quickly dashed when Daniel Deusser put in a textbook ride with Equita van’t Zorgvliet to edge Bosty from the win.
Enter Edwina Tops-Alexander and Lintea Tequila, the spicy bay mare known for her jump-off prowess. The pair thrilled the crowd, taking all the inside turns, Tops-Alexander rarely checking the mare. The crowd seemed convinced the pair had it won, but Scott Brash proved yet again why he remains in the world top 10.
Brash and Hello Forever made a daring run for the 2nd, leaving out a stride to the massive oxer and sending the crowd into a collective gasp. He continued the thrill ride, spectators yelling him on as he galloped to the final fence, winning the day with a speedy time of 37.98 seconds.
In a post-ride interview Brash admitted the brazen ride to fence 2 was part of his plan but admitted it didn’t feel as smooth as he’d of liked. Of his partner Hello Forever, Brash says, “He’s a real trier – but I think he can get a lot smoother yet. It’s still early days with him. He can make my life difficult at times but the best is yet to come.”
The next stop on the Global Champions Tour will be just up the coast from Cannes in Monaco – it’s sure to be another thriller!
Photo gallery of the Cannes Top 10 coming soon.
Article by Ashley Fairfield-Remeza