French victory in Paris at CSI5* Saut Hermès

[caption id="attachment_8666" align="alignnone" width="200"] Simon DELESTRE (FRA) and Hermes Ryan Grand Prix
Grand Prix[/caption]

History was made at this weekend’s CSI5* Saut Hermès Show Jumping competition in central Paris, with the first victory ever by a French rider in Sunday’s €400,000 Grand Prix. Simon Delestre and his 13-year-old chestnut gelding Hermès Ryan claimed the win in the glass-topped Grand Palais.

The Grand Prix is the showcase event at this unique competition, and 49 horse-and-rider combinations were entered in the 1.60m class, with one round and a jump-off. Five British and two Irish riders were among the elite group looking to claim the title won last year by Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander and California.

14 pairs advanced to the tie-breaking jump-off this year, including Tops-Alexander and Inca Boy van´t Vianahof, World No.7 Lorenzo De Luca of Italy on Ensor de Litrange, World No.2 Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands on Cas 2 and World No.5 Peder Fredricson of Sweden on Hansson WL.

Great Britain’s Michael Whitaker, with 12-year-old mare JB’s Hot Stuff, also rode clear with no rails down in the first round to get to the jump-off, but finished with four faults and a time of 41.83 seconds. Nevertheless, their 11th place came with prize money of €4,000 and is a good launching pad for the upcoming Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final, also in Paris from April 11-15, which Whitaker is qualified for.

Ireland’s Denis Lynch and Bertram Allen were 15th and 16th in the Grand Prix with Van Helsing and Molly Malone respectively, after Allen and Molly’s 3rd place in 2017. But the Irish rider did win the Saut Hermès pairs class with Tops-Alexander on Saturday.

In the end on Sunday, it was Delestre and Hermès Ryan, who was rebaptized from his initial name Ryan des Hayettes in 2015 after Hermès became his and Delestre’s sponsor, who captured the €132,000 prize purse for first place, going clear in both rounds and racing through the tight jump-off course in a time of 34.54 s. Just behind, in second, were Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels and Gancia de Muze, with Marcus Ehning and Cornado rounding out the podium. Full results are here.

“I no longer have words to describe this amazing horse,” Delestre said afterwards of Ryan, whom he and Philippe Berthol bought from top-level rival Eric Lamaze of Canada in 2008. “It is exceptional.”

source: asia.eurosport.

image: © Frédéric Chéhu