Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 (CAN) proved the pair to beat in the CS15* 1.50/1.55m class after their lightening quick jump off round left the rest of the star-studded field trailing in their wake.
The Rio individual bronze medallists, who were third to go in the seven-strong jump off, stopped the clock on a speedy 38 seconds, laying down a tough gauntlet for the remaining riders. Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello M’Lady were next into the arena and they came the closest, producing a clear round in 38.24 to occupy second place.
Yuri Mansur Guerios (BRA)and Quartz de la Lande couldn’t match the speedy pace of their rivals and opted to record a sensible and solid jump off round which left them in third place, just ahead of Christian Kukuk (GER) and Limonchello NT.
Bertram Allen (IRL), a winner earlier in the day, had to settle for seventh aboard the exuberant Hector van d’Abdijhoeve after the 10-year-old grey stallion stood off at fence two in the jump off and knocked it down.
Fifty-four riders started the class which took place in the picturesque grass arena at Campo Marte, eight riders jumped clear around what was a large and twisty course with technical distances but Simon Delestre (FRA) and Hermes Ryan withdrew ahead of the jump off.
The course, which was designed by Uliano Vezzani, caused several problems, most notably at the combination fence at 8 and at the final fence, planks dressed with Western saddles on the wings. Notable names such as Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Corbinian and Jos Verlooy (BEL) and Caracas fell foul at the latter while Kevin Staut (FRA) and Ayade de Septon et HDC had a round they would probably rather forget as they notched up 13 penalties, which included accruing four penalties at the last fence.
But it was Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Fine Lady 5 who stole the show, with the crowd cheering as they galloped to a stunning win.
Tomorrow will see another CSI5* class, before Saturday’s GCL Final and Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Mexico City.