Ines Joly and Ambassador Z clinched their first ever 5* Grand Prix in Monte Carlo

There were tears throughout Monte Carlo tonight as Ines Joly and Ambassador Z clinched their first ever 5* Grand Prix win in the €1.5 million Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix du Prince de Monaco. In the most tense atmosphere of the year Max Kühner and EIC Up Too Jacco Blue was pushed into second place when the last fence fell in the high-stakes competition which took place against the picturesque backdrop of Monaco, captivating fans from around the world.

With only two riders in the jump-off, Nina Mallevaey was the second French young female to stand on the podium in third place picking up a single time fault in round one with Dynastie de Beaufour in an agonising 0.04 seconds over the time allowed.

Under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, the 10th leg of the Championship race is a long-established and popular event, boasting a roster of illustrious winners over the years since its debut in 2006. Spectators lined the edge of the arena, while VIPs, including former Formula One driver Daniil Kvyat, watched the world’s top riders and horses compete in this unique venue.

“Out of this world”... a speechless Ines Joly tried to put into words what this win meant for her to GCTV. She said, “I never imagined this, it’s amazing and incredible. I knew I had one chance so I thought I would give it a go, it was the chance of my life and I took it.”

She went on to add, “If you’d told me two years ago that I would be winning my first 5* grand prix at the Longines Global Champions Tour I would have still been there with my mask during Covid and saying you’re dreaming. It truly is a dream.”

2024 has seen Max Kühner post a host of impressive performances, including securing a stage win at the LGCT of Ramatuelle, St Tropez just a few short weeks ago. A second place in Monaco was bittersweet, with the final rail falling in the jump off, with a time that would have seen him take a comfortable first place. Looking back at his round, Max said, “He felt really good in the jump off - I thought, just ‘stay cool’ and ride it home. Maybe I should have fought a little more… EIC Up Too Jacco Blue likes me really to fight and work a little bit on him, and now it looks like it wasn't quite enough.”

He went on to add, “there are a lot of positives from tonight in this €1.5m LGCT Grand Prix. EIC Up Too Jacco Blue jumped super in both round one and the jump off so i am very happy with him. Monte Carlo is always a great place for me, I won here in 2022 and I have been on the podium a few times on the podium so it is always good to be back.”

Nina Mallevaey tonight also combined her first ever 5* grand prix podium with her first ever LGCT Grand Prix podium, and couldn’t hide her delight. Following a single time penalty in round one keeping her out of the jump off, she said, “My mare was amazing, she gave everything. I was so proud of her and a bit mad at me. I am still so proud of her, it is only her third big 5* class and she did it so easily… I was really between happy and frustrated.”

She went on to add, “I am also so pleased for my owners, Mark and Cassidy Rein, they do so much for me, and my trainers, so I am also so happy for them to give them a podium.”

Max Kühner now extends his 2024 LGCT Championship lead to 208 points, with Andreas Schou in hot pursuit now on 192 points. Former multi-stage leader, Eduardo Alvarez Aznar, hangs on to third by a single point ahead of Maikel van der Vleuten on 161 points. 

Members of royal families and VIPs settled into their seats for an exceptional display of top-tier show jumping. The ringside views allowed everyone to fully immerse themselves in the elite competition. With 39 riders qualified for the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix du Prince de Monaco, the stage was set for an exhilarating climax to the 10th event of the season.

Uliano Vezzani’s course was filled with numerous distractions and challenges, leading to upsets in the first round and only two riders securing a spot in the jump-off. A fashionable crowd paraded along the red carpet lining the port side, with spectators pressed against the ringside to watch the stars of the show jumping world in action.

The dazzling evening of top sport under floodlights at the incredible showground nestled alongside Monaco’s famous port beneath the Prince’s Palace did not disappoint. HRH Princess Caroline de Hanovre and HRH Princess Alexandra of Hanover were joined by the CEO of Longines Matthias Breschan who watched from the Royal Hospitality as the first riders navigated the exceedingly technical course in the compact sand arena.

With drama from start to finish everyone was on the edge of their seats when the likes of Gregory Wathelet and Jérôme Guery both had two refusals crushing their dreams as they were eliminated. LGCT Grand Prix of Paris winner Jeanne Sadran made it through to the jump-off in Monaco last year so knew exactly how to play it but the unluckiest rail fell ultimately finishing as the fastest on four faults with ​​ Dexter de Kerglenn to take fourth place.

Fighting for the overall Championship lead you could see the disappointment in Andreas Schou's face as he exited the arena with four faults and a quick round onboard Napoli vh Nederassenthof but he still picked up a big chunk of points with 5th place overall. Edwina Tops-Alexander with Fellow Castlefield and Longines ambassador of Elegance Jane Richard Molly Mallone Z rode masterclasses in the tight arena to make it five out of the top seven placed riders female. 

The crowd fell silent as the two jump off competitors warmed up for the jump off. Excitement and apprehension was palpable as Ines Joly and Ambassador Z cantered in to the ring. A crowd full of hopeful spectators imagining if the young French rider could pull off the unimaginable.

As the duo took to the course and jumped one fence after the other, every pair of eyes in Port Hercule was either on the arena or on the big screen watching the duo in action. A flawless, scopey and quick round threw down the gauntlet with just the ultra competitive Max to follow.  

In came Max Kühner aboard his ultra consistent and ultra competitive EIC Up Too Jacco Blue. Has the duo made their way around the challenging track, the crowd began to rise in their seats. Up on the time posted by Ines and Ambassador Z, they flew to the final fence… a heartbreaking foot on the pole left second place theirs for tonight and victory to the astounded Ines Joly and Ambassador Z. 

The Tour takes a break for a couple of weeks after three consecutive events, before heading to Riesenbeck, Germany for the 11th leg of the 2024 Championship race. As the action intensifies, the race to the final shifts into high gear.


Official Press Release 
image@LiveStudio GCTV