This is something that almost never happens: the Grand Prix Hermès provided the audience in the Grand Palais with two winners, the German Christian Ahlmann and the Belgian Rik Hemeryck.
The last time that such a coincidence came about was in … 2001, at the Grand Prix de Bordeaux, where the Belgian Ludo Philippaerts and the Swiss Willi Melliger with their grey horses Parco and Calvaro V had to share the glory of winning. “For my part, I have never seen anything like this neither in a Grand Prix, nor in a less important class. I have in the past been beaten by a few tenths of a second, but I have never won under these conditions”, said Ahlmann, who found his Taloubet Z performing as well as he had at the beginning of the indoor season, where they won the World Cups of Oslo and Helsinki. “Yes, he needed several competitions in order to get back into form, but here at the Grand Palais, he felt at ease from the first day on.”
Rik Hemeryck was the bigger surprise of the two winners: “Yes, I am aware of being the outsider here, especially as the world champions Philippe Le Jeune and Jos Lansink were supposed to be at the Grand Palais. They pulled out and I profited from the situation. We are two weeks away from the World Cup final in Leipzig and all the best riders and horses of the world are here, so this victory is even more exciting.” Like many Belgian riders, Rik finds and trains his horses himself. This is the case with Quarco de Kerambars: “It’s like a brought him up; I’ve ridden him since he was four. He is now eleven and began to win significant competitions last year, like the Grand Prix in Bourg-en-Bresse and in Calgary.” Quarco is a son of Darco and just like Parco, the Belgian co-winner of Bordeaux. Belgian history repeats itself!
Malin Baryard-Johnsson from Sweden joined the two on the podium with Tornesh, just ahead of the world number 1 Kevin Staut and Sylvana, the only Frenchman of the eight participants in the jump-off. A perfect scenario that will go down in history!
Completed results : http://results.scgvisual.com/2011/hermes/r8.html
Photo Credits – F. Chehu