Pieter Devos On Top Again at LGCT Shanghai

On form Pieter Devos (BEL) rode his amazing mare Jade v. Bisschop to a stunning super fast win in the €200,000 SPD Bank 5* at the Shanghai Longines Global Champions Tour.

Devos was first to go in the 9-strong jump off and fought off challenges from some of the world’s speed aces including Marlon Zanotelli (BRA) who came in second and only 0.23 of a second slower with Pius Schwizer (SUI) in third.

Pieter Devos on Jade v. Bisschop. Photo by Stefano Grasso/LGCT

With the arena bathed in bright sunshine the world’s top riders locked horns in the SPD Bank 5* it was Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Balou du Reventon who set out as the pathfinders on Uliano Vezzani’s course. With a fence down and time faults for Darragh it was clear the time allowed was going to be a major challenge.

Young Chinese rider You Zhang made a debut on the International stage on home turf and will feature along with other Chinese riders over the weekend gaining valuable experience at the top level.

LGCT Ranking leader Pieter Devos and Jade v. Bisschop executed a masterful first round with impressive technique to bag a place in the jump off. He was swiftly followed with a clear round by Alberto Zorzi (ITA) on the dark bay stallion Cinsey.

Christian Ahlmann (GER) was out of contention after his bay stallion Atomic Z had four faults at the red and white plank, which became the bogey fence of the day, and then the horse became unsettled and had other fences down for an uncharacteristic tally of 18.

Abdel Said (EGY) and the exuberant and scopy Jumpy van de Hermitage thrilled spectators with a lively round producing plenty of gasps as they finished clear and into the jump off.

They were joined after polished performances from last year’s Shanghai LGCT Grand Prix winner Gregory Wathelet (BEL), today riding Qualido 3, and Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) and Sunshine du Phare.

Marlon Módolo Zanotelli on VDL Edgar M. Photo by Stefano Grasso/LGCT

Marlon Zanotelli (BRA) rode VDL Edgar M to a place in the jump off and the clear rounds started to flow as riders calculated the optimum strides and turns to stay within the tight time allowed.

There was disappointment for a host of top talent including Julien Epaillard (FRA), Scott Brash (GBR), Martin Fuchs (SUI), Maikel van der Vleuten (NED), Daniel Deusser (GER) Marcus Ehning (GER) and Denis Lynch (IRE) as the delicate plank, LGCT vertical and the triple and double combination efforts took their toll.

Pius Schwizer (SUI) and About A Dream delivered a superbly efficient round and Leopold van Asten (NED) and Jerome Guery (BEL) finalised the jump off contenders.

Devos was first in with Jade and out of the starting blocks at lightning speed. He never took his foot off the accelerator and finished in 31.81 putting enormous pressure on the eight riders to follow.

Zorzi had a rail down and was out of the running but Abdel Said and Jumpy gave it their all with a sharp angle at the start to gain time but finishing in 33.74. It was clear that riders had to make up crucial time in the first half of the course to have any chance of beating Devos.

Wathelet and Qualido 3 looked strong but were slightly adrift at some turns and finished too slow at 33.01. Bosty was unable to match the tremendous pace and crossed the finish line in 35.25.

A thrilling round from Marlon Zanotelli and VDL Edgar M had the audience holding their breath as he was only fractionally behind at the mid-way point. But the clock stopped at 32.04 putting him in second place.

Pius Schwizer and About A Dream looked a sure bet but went a bit wide at one fence and it was to provide costly putting him in third place on the podium in 32.60.

The final challengers Leopold van Asten and Jerome Guery knew they were up against a massive time challenge and both clocked up four faults in their pursuit of the leader.

Pieter Devos on Jade v. Bisschop. Photo by Stefano Grasso/LGCT

Speaking after his win Devos, who was widely congratulated by other riders, said: “She is quite a new mare for me at this level and she is jumping amazing. I was first to go in the jump off and fast riders behind me, so I said ok I will take the risk and it worked out. My mare was really with me and did it very well. Marlon really tried and we are all friends here. It is just super.”