Chantilly, France is becoming a lucky venue for the women who are regulars on the Global Champions Tour as three girls visited the podium again this year. Edwina Alexander scored her second biggest win this season matching her Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Cannes success. She likes France and so too does her French bred trusted partner Itot de Chateau.
Penelope Leprevost (France) Edwina Alexander (Australia), and Luciana Diniz (Portugal) were the only three to jump double clean to factor an exciting jump-off. There has been a soft shoe shuffle again as the Global Champions Tour ranking changed following Edwina’s win of the Grand Prix of Chantilly. She has boosted her position on the GCT rankings from 155 to 195 points to take the lead over Ludger Beerbaum who now sits with 186.50. He is just ahead of Luciana Diniz who is in third position with 186.00 points.
The Grand Prix course, designed Italian Uliano Venazzi, provided many interesting challenges. The first round was not overly big in terms of height and width of most fences. However the technical dimensions along with the unsteady soggy footing provided the most challenges.
It was going to be a battle of the best mud runners as the morning had produced many showers of rain.
French rider Patrice Deleveau, second out on course, provided the first clear round with Orient Express for the 6,000 or more spectators who roared in appreciation. Fourteen horses later, American rider Lauren Hough jumped clear with her younger Grand Prix 10 year old stallion, Arizona Pie 9.
Three more women competitors jumped clean including Portugese rider Luciana Diniz, (Lennox), Australian Edwina Alexander (Itot de Chateau) and France’s favourite Penelope Leprevost (Mylord Carthago). Added the mix of clears was Pablo Barrios (Ven).
Clarissa Crotta (SUI) and Imperial West Side van Meerputhoeve provided a round of jumping perfection but came home with 1 time fault, as did Canadian Eric Lamaze with Atlete van’T Heike. Athina Onassis de Miranda (GRE) jumped a supreme careful round with AD Crosshill however landed home with 3 time penalties to her scorecard. Last year’s winner Laura Kraut also jumped with all rails intact yet took a time penalty.
So four woman and two men clear were joined in the second round by the four riders who had incurred time penalties plus the fastest four faulters making up the 18 to go again.
Second Round and Jump Off
New weather as the sun shone and a completely new track presented for the second round with the four faulters to start. It was clear from the beginning that these riders wanted to take the shortest track in the quickest time to add pressure to those to come. They too were also hoping to gain some of the 285,00 Euro prize money and GCT ranking points.
Nine riders jumped clear of which only three were double clean to demand the jump-off. The all girl jump-off was a top class performance with the 6,000 strong spectators hanging on the edge of their seats.
Penelope and Edwina were on the podium in 2010 and back to claim a place joined this year by Luciana. Last years winner Laura Kraut jumped a clear second round and had to settle for fourth place with Cedric on one time fault.
Penelope took every angle possible with Mylord Carthago and was over the finish line in 44.16 seconds.
Although Itot de Chateau is a smaller horse in stature, Edwina had the horse covering the ground well, turning up on a short track to the second last vertical and put in a hard gallop to the last to be home in 41.91.
Sitting in pole position to go last in the jump-off Luciana Diniz looked quicker over the ground but fell short in time by .3 of a second finishing on 41.91 seconds to be second.
Victory for Edwina and Itot de Chateau who place yet another Global Champions Tour trophy on the mantelpiece.
The top riders meet again in two weeks for the 8th leg of the Global Champions Tour in Valkendwaard, The Netherlands (12=14th August).
Asked about her amazing horse, Itot du Chateau, Edwina said: When you have all the control and the dressage is good and your horse is feeling fantastic you should be able to win anywhere? He’s an incredible horse and that is why he wins in different places.
Speaking about the rankings Edwina Alexander said: I was quite far behind Ludger. Now, I’m not that far ahead and so much can happen. I am happy to be where I am, and I hope I can stay there. I am just going to take it as it comes.
Luciana Diniz was only 0.03 seconds behind Edwina in nail-biting jump off.
She said: I tried my best to beat Edwina in the jump off but she was the best today. It was a very special win for me today.
Asked why it was such a special podium place she said: First of all would like to thank all the team that made this dream possible. Without them I couldn’t have come in behind Edwina at all in the jump off. I had the best time today. It was a very special win for me today even if I was second. My whole family is here, my children, my parents, plus friends from Brazil – I want to thank them for everything. If everything is working in harmony it’s a victory and the last few weeks has shown this harmony works.
The Riders Congradulated the Course Designers, Team and All the Volunteer Workers for Working so Hard Despite the Torrential Rain.
When asked about her grey stallion, MyLord Cathargo, Penelope Leprevost: After the World Equestrian Games MyLord was off at stud for a long time because he’s very in demand, a breeding stallion. I am very happy to see he’s evolved really well, he was nearly spot on in this GC event.
Jan Tops, president of the Global Champions Tour:
I think today the sport in general won. If you saw the jump off how everything was so close, the position of all the riders, it was fantastic. The knowledge of the public, they’re connoisseurs. We had 6000 spectators. When you love the sport here you like to see it likes this and it was an exceptional jump off.
Gerard Manzinali, the President of Chantilly jumping said:
Yes, it was the 10th anniversary of Chantilly jumping. I am very proud of our team of volunteers here – many of the Chantilly staff are volunteers – and they were rewarded for their hard work. It was a beautiful spectacle of great sport.
When Marwan Lahoud of sponsors EADS (aeronautic giant) was asked about the comparison between his company the top-level GCT show jumping, he said:
We like things that jump high, go fast and keep away from obstacles!
Luciana, when asked about how she came to buy her horse, Lennox, said:
I didn’t look for him he was supposed to come into my life. I was at a show in Paris about 18 months ago. Somebody said we want to give you this horse to ride. I tried the horse before the Global Champions Tour, loved him, and bought him. It was fate. He came into my life. He needs a lot of support from the rider and needs to feel safe. But he performs excellently.
Q to Edwina: Your horse looks really laid back(?)
Edwina: He certainly didn’t feel laid back! In the lap of honour he goes really strong and I don’t like them very much even though I like to be in the prize giving. He’s pretty cool in the head, he has a lot of blood and I also think that is why he is very good.
In the jump off I was really surprised that I was faster than Penelope. She was so smooth and slick. And so I took a risk to the last and came out thinking I was not fast enough. Probably, if I hadn’t made all those extra strides I wouldn’t have won. It’s just as well I did those strides at the last jump.
Top 10 placings
- 1. Edwina Alexander, Australia, Itot de Chateau, 0/0/0 41.88
- 2. Luciana Diniz, Portugal, Lennox, 0/0/0 41.91
- 3. Penelope Leprevost, France, Mylord Carthago, 0/0/0 44.16
- 4. Laurra Kraut, USA, Cedric, 1/0/ - 72.11
- 5. Eric Lamaze, Canada, Atlete Van’t Heike, 1/1 – 77.13
- 6. Marco Kutscher, Germany, Cash 63 4/0 – 63.55
- 7. Harrie Smolders, Netherlands, Regina Z 4/0 – 64.41
- 8. Rodrigo Pessoa, Brazil, Let’s Fly 4/0 -66.70
- 9. Simon Delestre, France, Vancouver DML – 4/0 -68.88
- 10. Leopold van Asten, Netherlands, VDL Groep Santana B 4/0/-68.95
The Global Champions Tour ranking is updated after each leg of the tour based on the scores derived from the rider’s performances in the Grand Prix.
Global Champions Tour 2011 Events
Doha, Qatar (March 17-19) Valencia, Spain (May 6-8) Hamburg, Germany (June 1-5)
Cannes, France (June 9-11) Monte Carlo, Monaco (June 23-25) Estoril, Portugal (July 1-2)
Chantilly, France (July 22-24) Valkenswaard, The Netherlands (August 12-14)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (September 2-4) Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, (November 24-26)
Photos: Penelope Leprevost, France and Edwina Alexander, Australia Photo credits: Stefano Grasso/GCT