On the first day of the CHI Geneva, nestled beside Lake Leman in one of Europe’s most picturesque cities, Kent Farrington and Creedance stormed in with victory on their minds and a precedent to set going into a week of enormous competition.
The Credit Suisse Grand Prix was a qualifier for the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday and only 20 of the 50 participants would qualify here to move on. A 16-fence effort at 1.55 m and a tight time would have been a crucible for any other group, but with the best in the world coming to play, nine made the jump-off with double clears. Among those clears would be fellow American Mclain Ward aboard HH Azur, Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello M’Lady, arguably champion of the fall circuits Daniel Deusser (GER), the debonair Lorenzo de Luca (ITA), and Michael Whitaker (GBR); a regular smorgasbord of renowned athletes.
The jump-off proved to be the true gauntlet, as rider after rider succumbed to the tight turns and tricky distances in the massive indoor. A massive vertical plank in the center of the ring tripped up many good pairs today, leaving the crowd wondering if anyone would dare to go fast and try to leave them up.
Fifth to go in the jump-off, Kent and Creedance did just that, leaving every pole in its place and tearing between fences with fire and poise. They tripped the timers at 37.03 with half the pack left to go, putting the pressure on anyone eager to win.
Scott Brash and Hello M’Lady came in looking to win it and the bay mare was clearing every fence by a mile with her signature kick out move, but the double combination brought them miserable luck, as M’Lady just clipped the top pole of the ‘b’ element with her toe in the descent. The two had the fastest time of the day, slotting them third in the end.
Mclain and HH Azur too had an unlucky rail – theirs came early in the jump-off at fence two, a massive oxer. They ultimately finished fifth and will be in a good position for the Rolex on Sunday.
Jerome Guery was the last ride of the day, and with seven other riders failing to go clear, the Belgian opted to take a steadier round and guarantee a clear to finish second rather than take risks to win. His plan paid off, and he and Grand Cru van de Rozenberg were the runners-up on a big day.
It’s just the beginning of a big weekend in Switzerland, with the IJRC Top 10 Final coming to a head tonight! Be sure to keep it locked on JN for more coverage from Geneva.
Replays: You can replay every round by visiting the results page and clicking on the the “play” button beside each name. You can also replay the class in its entirety below.