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World No1 Brash Claims Electric Victory

Cannes Grand Prix

Last Updated: Jun 16, 2014 03:38pm
Allesley, Coventry
By British Showjumping
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World No1 Scott Brash Claims Electric Victory in Cannes Grand Prix

Last night's Longines Global Champions Tour of Cannes Grand Prix was won by 2013 LGCT Champion Scott Brash MBE.

The current World No 1 was on board Hello Sanctos, the 14 year-old bay gelding owned by Lady Kirkham and Lord & Lady Harris with whom he won Team Gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games followed by a 2013 European Championship Team Gold and Individual Bronze medal.

Scott and Hello Sanctos took victory following a heart-stopping jump-off as the electric French Riviera leg came to a close in a storm of world-class sport. Silver medal position went to a thrilled Luciana Diniz (POR) and Bronze to home favourite Kevin Staut (FRA). The heavy rain of the afternoon was forgotten as the three medal winners rose to their podium positions. A vocal French crowd cheered each rider as they accepted their prizes under the colourful arena lights.

The cream of the crop rose to the top in Cannes last night as only those foot-perfect with every step progressed to the 3rd round deciding jump-off. The first round of Uliano Vezzani’s Grand Prix course contained tough distances and awkward lines. Many riders had the first fence down and the remains of the heavy rain earlier in the afternoon made the conditions testing. A few of the top names opted to save their star mounts for another day, retiring after lowering a rail or two. 

The second round saw 18 of the top riders from the first round come back for another test. This course required care and precision, and a run of double clears in the middle of the draw belied the difficult nature of the gauntlet laid down by the Italian course designer. More than once, the tall set of planks on a related distance early in the course caught out even the most experienced horse and rider combinations. But each and every one of the nine riders that went through to the final jump-off looked to be on winning form. 

The jump-off offered a sweeping, galloping course with one tight turn-back, primed for an attacking ride. Edwina Tops-Alexander was the pathfinder, jumping clear in 36.57s. Bassem Hassan Mohammed, on the form of his life, shaved 0.07s off Tops-Alexander’s time from 2nd in the draw. The top names not competing in the final round gathered by the arena entrance to watch the tense action unfold. 

Kevin Staut entered the arena third and wiped nearly three seconds from the leading time. But the fastest time was bettered one again by World No1 Scott Brash, who dared his horse at every turn, to take the lead in a time of 31.99s and setting a pace that could not be caught. Luciana Diniz added another great result to her tally moving into second place with 32.68s. 

Commenting on his win, Scott said "I’m used to the weather, so it was a an advantage to me today. All credit to Uliano Vezzani, the course builder, he build a great course and it turned out a really good class - the courses were hard but fair. The first round was pretty wet, but it dried out a lot for the second round, it was a tough course when I walked it but the horses jumped fantastic. It was very exciting for the public. All credit to the organisers, it turned out to be a great class. My program now is I have a week off and I do a national show in the rain and then I go to Monte-Carlo, and then Paris and Estoril. There are so many good shows right now.”

Lord Harris was in Cannes to watch Scott Brash's Grand Prix victory and said "It was a fantastic Grand Prix and the horse is fantastic. He has jumped 24 rounds clear out of 25. And Scott is a great rider. I always said David Broome is my best rider, but I think there is very little to choose between them and the sport is more competitive now. You have to have a special horse every time."

The next round of the 2014 season is just around the corner and the Longines Global Champions Tour of Monaco (26-28 June) will be another fantastic exhibition of sporting excellence

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