Jumping de Chantilly, Grand Prix Global Champions Tour

After two entirely feminine podiums, the outcome of the Global Champions Tour’s third edition in Chantilly had a totally different aspect and was concluded by a German rider’s victory, Hans Dieter Dreher, reputed for riding difficult horses. From the first round it was clear that we were heading for a whole different scenario.

The course in the first leg, drawn by the Italian Maestro Uliano Vezzani, was fairly tricky and would put a number of favourites in a difficult position. Not one single passage of this layout would allow the riders’ to lower their vigilance. Nearly every obstacle would bring a fault. The most unexpected and the most worrying came from Sabrina, Marcus Ehning’s mare who slipped in the river and fell. She got up slightly limping and her rider later revealed that the mare had only a few bruises but was intact of bones and tendons.

And so it was another less known rider that gained the day. Hans-Dieter Dreher was for a long time rider for a French horse dealer before settling down in southern Germany. In 2011, at 39, Hans-Dieter revealed himself  internationally and qualified for the German Team in Aachen’s  very difficult Coupe des Nations. A reference. His horse, Magnus Romeo, is not an easy horse. Somewhat stubborn, one could see him stop on several occasions. This son of Royal Feu, a stallion in the Chantilly region (Chaumontel to be exact), was born in….. Argentina. He went from owner to owner, amongst whom the Swiss champion Beat Mändi. But it was with Hans-Dieter that he met his master!

To win today’s Global Grand Prix in Chantilly, and especially beat the Olympic champion Beezie Madden, he had to take all the risks: “Generally his problem is the last obstacle, but today I took it so fast that my horse didn’t have time to think.” Our man has a certain sense of humor. When we wanted his opinion on the course, his answer was worthy of a John Whitaker: “Perfect since I won”.

Even Beezie Madden added “and for me, it was almost perfect” and stressing that it was important for the American Team to be present in Chantilly:  “This allowed us to remain in the spirit of top level competitions and in contact with the best riders in the world, even if a few of them, did not ride the horses they would ride in London.“ Such as the Egyptian Karim El Zoghy, a surprising third place in this GCT EADS Grand Prix, his best result at such a level, not on his Olympic horse but one that he borrowed from one of his pupils. That is probably what all the uncertainty in sports is all about!

A glorious uncertainty which left the riders at the side of the road for only Jerome Hurel managed to reach the second leg of this prestigious class. But today it would have needed more to stifle the enthusiasm of the 6000 spectators filling the two grandstands in this one of the most beautiful arena of the international circuit.  The 2012 Global Champions Tour Grand Prix is finished. Three cheers for the Equidia Grand Prix tomorrow afternoon at 3pm. The party is not over in Chantilly!