The finale of the Hubside Spring Tour de Grimaud-Gulf of Saint-Tropez, which had brought the world’s best riders together for two weeks on the French Riviera, saw Sadri Fegaier’s Haras des Grillons play host to the first CSI5* outdoor show in Europe (and the only one in the world so far this year). The world hierarchy was respected since the best rider on the planet was the winner of Sunday’s feature grand prix: Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat added an umpteenth victory to his exceptional list of wins today, five weeks after his greatest achievement ‒ the birth of his daughter.
“It’s my first win since I became a dad, so it obviously means a lot to me,” said Guerdat, who rode to victory aboard Venard de Cerisy. “I imagine that my daughter had absolutely no idea what happened (smiles), but it pleases me to think that I won this 5* Grand Prix for her on the day that she is five weeks old.
“We realised that Eduardo Alvarez Aznar, who was the first to go in the jump-off, had ridden a lot faster than we imagined when we watched his round on the screen. I don’t think my jump-off course walk was the greatest as there were strides to take out all over the place: this is why we were caught off guard by the jump-off and Eduardo’s time. I tried to take out strides but I didn’t succeed, so I stepped on the gas going into the double. So my jump-off may not have seemed very smooth.
“At any rate, I’m really pleased, my horse jumped superbly. I wasn’t sure that it would be enough for the jump-off, but it worked out well in the end. None of my horses competed a lot last year. This one took part in two or three shows in 2020; he started competing again in Spain this year, in small classes and a 3* Grand Prix, then everything came to a standstill again in terms of European show jumping. So it’s obviously his first show since competition resumed; he has a great mindset and he’s in really good shape. He was a bit fresh on the first day and I was concerned that wouldn’t be enough for today, but he gave it his all and he was in exceptional form.”
Rounding out the podium was Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (ESP) with Legend in second, and Penelope Leprevost (FRA) third aboard Vancouver de Lanlore. Canada’s Eric Lamaze placed 17th in the class with Fine Lady 5, having a rail in the first round. He also rode Cacao JMG, a nine-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Torrey Pines Stable Inc. and the Rein Family, to 6th place in Sunday’s CSI2* Special Two-Phase 1.40m out of 57 entries.
Full 5* GP results here.
~ with files from Blizko Communication