“Making a success of such an event in Chantilly is not very complicated, joked Gérard Manzinali, organiser of the event. There is this out of the ordinary settings and when the Longines Global Champions’ Tour takes its quarters here, one could wish for a better association. Add to that a course designer such as the talented Uliano Vezzani and these fabulous riders...I have lived an extraordinary afternoon, filled with emotions.”
This sums up perfectly the situation. The sport’s side was brought by the riders: fate would have it that the best came best in the end. An ex European Champion (The Swede Rolf Göran-Bengtsson), an ex-Olympic Champion (The Canadian Eric Lamaze) the ex-quadruple Olympic Champion, quintuple European Champion, double German world Champion etc etc...the immense Ludger Beerbaum, all ex world Number 1s, and the latter’s trainee, another Swede, Henrick von Eckermann. If the French had not missed out it would have been a perfect day. There were no less than five riders qualified for the last round. They all finished with one fault on the score board! Even Patrice Delaveau, winner on last year’s Sunday, riding the same Carinjo.
But even with spectators, leaning in favour of their ‘cousin from Quebec’, soon found solace in the show put on by the four finalists. All finished with clear rounds. First Beerbaum, but who moaned about Chaman slipping: “That’s where I lost the competition” he said even before the other three were on the starting line. Henrik von Eckermann (Cantinero), on his boss’s advice, showed more caution on taking the said turn. ….. Thus losing the victory and handing it to his compatriot Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, on his old Casall: “OK I was lucky today to reach the finishing line a little faster than the others. I saw Henrick’s run; I knew Eric (Lamaze) was next, I didn’t have any choice; I just had to go as fast as possible. We know how to do that, Casall and I have been together for a long time! Anyway it’s fabulous to win here, everything is here; the setting, the spectators, the course designer and the ground is of great quality and that helps the horses to jump well.”
As for Eric Lamaze’s third place it deceived the spectators, more than himself “I’m still not 100% with Fine Lady. I only have had her since May and we have to learn to know each other better, so being third here it’s already top. Besides she’s a fairly small mare and doesn’t have a great stride…” which obviously is not an advantage in such a big arena.
Completed results of the Grand Prix Longines Global Champions Tour : http://eventcontent.hippoonline.de/933/sta_erg/04_ergENG.htm?style=longines