Grand Prix of the City of La Baule: Victory for the World champion pair, Simone Blum and DSP Alice

Only eight pairs out of the forty five on the start list of the Grand Prix Longines of the City of La Baule managed to clear the course designed by Frédéric Cottier within the time allowed : Eduardo Menezes (BRA)/H5 Quintol, Olivier Robert (FRA)/Vangog du Mas Grenier, Doron Kuipers (NED)/Charley, Amy Inglis (GBR)/Wishes, Grégory Wathelet (BEL)/Iron Man Van de Padernborre, Steve Guerdat (SUI)/Albfuehren’s Bianca, Simone Blum (GER)/DSP Alice and Darragh Kenny (IRL)/Important de Muze. These eight riders confronted in the jump-off, this difficult exercise requiring speed and precision.

With two rails down, Eduardo Menezes and H5 Quintol had to give up with their dream of victory. Olivier Robert and Vangog du Mas Grenier had one rail down, like Doron Kuipers and Charley, as well as Gregory Wathelet and Iron Man Van de Padenborre. For them, the dream of writing their name on the record of the Grand Prix Longines of the City of La Baule was over.
Amy Inglis was the first to sign a double clear round with Wishes in 48,84 seconds (for a time allowed of 50 seconds). But the world n°1 Steve Guerdat, associated to his faithful Albfuehren’s Bianca managed to clear as well, and be faster (43,82 seconds). Darragh Kenny with Important de Muze and Simone Blum with DSP Alice were the last two to go. Darragh Kenny et Important de Muze et Simone Blum et DSP Alice. The first pair clears in 43,90 seconds, the second one, current world champion, clears the course as well in a faster time of 43,33 seconds.
Simone Blum (GER) and DSP Alice clinches victory in the Grand Prix Longines of the City of La Baule, in front of Steve Guerdat (SWI) and Albfuehren’s Bianca. Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Important de Muze finish 3rd. Best French, Olivier Robert and Vangog du Mas Grenier place 6th.
For the record, the last feminine victory in the Grand Prix Longines of the City of La Baule dates back to 2002 with Angélique Hoorn (NED) and Hascal.

They said :
Rémi Cléro, President of the Longines International Jumping of La Baule :

« It is an honour, Simone, to have you here for this 59th edition, with your world champion title. Thank you so much for the sportive show you offered us and congratulations to Steve for the support he gives every year to this show, and to the sport. Thank you also, Frédéric, for designing all the courses, among which the one of the Grand Prix Longines of the City of La Baule, which offered this week end a great scenario with always more innovation. »

Yves Métaireau, Mayor of the City of La Baule: « My congratulations first to Simone Blum, who rode a magnificent round, it was not that easy. Time was important. Over the past 25 years, I am delighted to see that this show has constantly improved, that we have so much success with almost 20 000 visiteurs every day. This organisation, with a lot of seriousness, and a controled budget, is a real success. You have to know that the City of La Baule invested a lot in the facilities. I will not be here next year, or at least not at this position to celebrate the 60th edition, but I am delighted to see that everything that has been invested serves the sport and the world equestrian sports. »
Frédéric Cottier (FRA), course designer: « At the 7th rider, I already had two clear rounds, and one rider with one point, this is sport, the scenario is never fully written. We are always a little worried to imagine there will too much or not enough clear rounds. We end up with eight clears, with fantastic riders and horses. The green double combination n°11 played its role since the distance forced the riders to bring the horses back and especially because the colour, green over green, was important. In a rider’s head, you need very little to find the course difficult, it often depends on the previous rides. Anyway, we have the world champion and the world n°1 on the podium, there is nothing else to say. Alice, Simone’s mare, was already my favorite at the 2018 World Championships, I wanted to buy her in Italy three years ago when she was competing in 3*; she was right to keep her. »
Simone Blum (GER), winner of the Grand Prix Longines of the City of La Baule : « I am very proud to be here, it is the first time I live the CSIO5* as a competitior and it is an exceptionnal experience. It is like te French Aachen ! Of Course, for this season, it is the first show on grass with a very enthusiastic public. The first round has just been perfect, and I thought Steve would win in the jump-off, but in the end Alice was the best today. »
Steve Guerdat, 2nd of the Grand Prix Longines of the City of La Baule: « First I want to say that I was happy to be here with my three horses, it is fantastic to be in La Baule. It is a wonderful show with a great public, my only regret is that this show does not last long enough in the end. We have great pleasure to be here, and this is the type of shows we would like to have every week end. Thank you to the organisers, to those we support them, but what I am the most delighted about is that my mare does a double clear round in the Grand Prix. »

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