Photo: Longines Global Champions Tour
It was a battle of the best this afternoon in Monaco, with Simon Delestre reigning supreme in today’s CSI5* Trophée Casino de Monte-Carlo class, finishing just tenths of a second ahead of Victor Bettendorf who won the 5* speed class earlier in the day.
In an edge-of-the-seat jump-off, Simon Delestre piloted his trusty 17-year-old Hermes Ryan to the top of the leaderboard, snatching the win after a thrilling 14-rider jump-off. Bettendorf secured second on board his energetic Astuce de la Roque while first to go in the jump-off Gilles Thomas and 9-year-old Jetric van Beek Z came third.
Speaking about his special horse, Simon said: “Winning a class with Ryan always gives me a lot of emotion and we know it was almost one of the last classes he will jump in his career and to still be fit to win that type of class - it is really something special to me. Honestly, I risked it all today."
Looking ahead to Super Saturday Simon said: “Dexter is also an amazing horse and he will jump his first 5* Grand Prix tomorrow so I will try my best but I know he will be a superstar in the future.”
The biggest class on the second day of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Monaco saw temperatures rise in the perfect prelude to Saturday’s showdown. The incredible show jumping arena, sandwiched between Monaco’s famous yacht harbour and the Prince’s Palace, attracted a stylish crowd enjoying the lifestyle of the Principality and world-class sport. The LGCT of Monaco once again received tremendous support from HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Caroline of Hanover and her daughter Charlotte Casiraghi who attended during the three-day event.
Fans and tourists lapped up the amazing scenes as superstar horses performed metres from the seafront and VIPs arrived on private tenders from their superyachts to enjoy first class hospitality on the French Riviera. During the three-day event spectators got to appreciate the wonderful destination for top equestrian sport.
Uliano Vizzani put together a technical, tough track for the world’s top international riders, utilising the full width and breadth of the arena. Although the course required plenty of focus, responsiveness and bravery, it was proof of having the best athletes in the sport in Monaco as 14 combinations made it look easy to make it through to the jump-off.
First to go Gilles Thomas carved the path for the rest to come he put in a fast and smooth clear but didn’t risk it all leaving the rest of the field to chase his time of 33.62s.
Maikel van der Vleuten revved the engines of Dywis HH, powering out of the starting blocks and taking every chance. The turn back to fence two was brave but the upright fell mid course knocking their chances today.
There was disappointment for Robin Muhr with Baccarat Meniljean, as they flew from the top to the bottom of the arena, picking up 12 faults in the testing course. Faults kept coming, with Malin Baryard-Johnsson with Harley Davidson and Denis Lynch on Rubens LS la Silla all collecting penalties.
It was a total of 9 double clears as Samuel Hutton on Bonne Amie, Fernando Martinez Sommer with High Five and Jodie Hall McAteer onboard Mademoiselle-A opted to play it safe with steady clear rounds to collect their share of the prise purse.
Olivier Philippaerts riding H&M Miro, Constant van Paesschen on Plato de Muze Z and Geir Gulliksen with VDL Groep Quatro all gave it their all putting the pedal to the metal in the former Monaco pit lane but couldn't match the pace keeping them out of the top three today.
Simon Delestre and the iconic Hermes Ryan were lightning fast as always and jumped cleanly to propel themselves in the lead in 32.64s. They gave it their all and even the fresh combination of Victor Bettendorf and Astuce de la Roque couldn’t match the pace having to settle for 2nd overall in 33.31s.
Last to go Edwina Tops-Alexander handed the win to the flying Frenchman after picking up 8 faults on Catenda and pushing her out of the top 10.
On Super Saturday GCL Monaco R2 kicks off at 17.00 local time before the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix du Prince de Monaco at 20.30. GCTV allows to watch all the action live!