Release date: 09/06/2017
The second evening of competition on the Longines Global Champions Tour of Cannes showcased another night of top sport and world-class entertainment as the stars came out on the French Riviera. On-form LGCT Ranking leader Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) wowed the crowds by winning a 12-rider jump-off by over a second from the rest of the field with Halifax van het Kluizebos, winning the lion’s share of the €62,000 and an all inclusive holiday to Mauritius.
Speaking about his round, Lorenzo praised his phenomenal stallion: “My horse jumped fantastic. He loves to do the jump-off, he’s always competitive. He loves to go fast! It’s a fantastic atmosphere here.”
Uliano Vezzani’s course was all about keeping focus, with the spotlights shining on the 54 strong field. Related distances, imposing oxers and full height verticals were all in the mix with the Italian course designer featuring big parallels, wide and square.
First to set the pace again with a clear was on-form Simon Delestre (FRA) with chestnut gelding Chesall Zimequest dancing around the arena as the sky changed from blue, to pink to deep purple while the sun began its slow descent. The home town hero drew cheers from the crowd, with the top French rider not disappointing after a masterful display of show jumping prowess. Local fans had plenty to celebrate, after Mathieu Billot (FRA) with his stunning dapple grey Vent du Sud Kerglenn and Kevin Staut (FRA) jumped beautiful clears to earn themselves a place in the jump-off.
19 year old German talent Philip Houston (GER) has been impressing around the world with his skills, however took an unusual tumble at the gappy vertical after a miscommunication with Ulane Belmaniere while pushing for a longer stride saw them stop at the very last minute. Jane Richard Philips (SUI) was another rider to taste drama, after Calinesse de Guldenboom checked before the treble combination, adding a stride before crashing through the black and orange oxer, and Scott Brash (GBR) was eliminated after Hello Annie stopped at the BMW oxer, somersaulting Scott over her head with the British Olympian landing on his feet.
Clears came throughout the field, with Darragh Kenny (IRL), Ludger Beerbaum (GER), Pieter Devos (BEL), Ramzy Hamad Al Duhami (KSA), Alberto Zorzi (ITA), Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP), Henrik von Eckermann (SWE), Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and Denis Lynch (IRL) making up the 12-strong jump-off.
First to go was Simon Delestre (FRA) and Chesall who set off at a pace with all the intent of a home win. But a shock stop from the chestnut gelding at the Longines plank saw the pair collect four faults, before Simon retired his feisty horse from the competition. Darragh Kenny (IRL) had the pressure of setting the bench mark, but mastered the course with Chanel setting the time at 38.55s.
Ramzy Hamad Al Duhami (KSA) gave it a spin with High Quality J, but the pair were unable to match Darragh’s time, as did Pieter Devos (BEL) and Claire Z and Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) with Hermes de Mariposa who jumped beautiful clears but all finished outside the Irishman’s time.
Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) blitzed around the arena with G&C Unicstar de l’Aumone, with the pair rolling the dice at their gallop to the last. Luck wasn’t on their side, and the pole fell to the groan of the crowd, dropping them down the order. Their faster time however showed there was still room for manoeuvre, with the final riders yet to come.
An unlucky pole for Italian star Alberto Zorzi (ITA) and Cinsey put them out of the running, and Ludger Beerbaum (GER) also picked up a refusal after coming at the vertical with too much of an angle for his young horse Chacon. The pressure was on local rider Mathieu Billot (FRA), who also clipped a pole to collect four faults.
Three big guns were yet to come, with the LGCT Ranking leader Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) storming into the ring with Halifax van het Kluizebos. The pair seriously meant business with the speedy Italian galloping the course and taking an absolute flier to the last to stop the clock in 37.46s. Denis Lynch (IRL) and RMF Bella Baloubet looked strong but a rub of a pole dropped them down the order with four faults.
The final rider to enter was local star Kevin Staut (FRA) and Silver Deux de Virton HDC, with the crowd erupting for their home hero. The crowd drew their breath as the pair set off around the course, but it wasn’t to be after they clipped a pole and picked up four faults.
So it was Italian star Lorenzo who shone brightest tonight in Cannes, with all eyes on the LGCT Ranking leader to see if he can keep hold of his lead in tomorrow’s Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Cannes. The Global Champions League of Cannes final will kick off at 18:30, with the top 25 individuals qualifying for the Grand Prix which will take place at 22:00 local time.