Paris cheers Kevin and Silvana on winning the Grand Prix Gucci at Gucci Paris Masters Sunday, 08 December 2013

He's back with a bang. In front of his home fans, Kevin Staut and his mare Silvana achieved one of their best results this year by winning the Gucci Grand Prix, in Paris. The Frenchman was exceptionally fast and left no chance to his twelve competitors in the jump off. But first things: 43 couples in the class, after three days of high level competitions in one of the most prestigious top events in the world. Hosted by the Salon du Cheval, the Gucci Paris Masters is one of the three, with Hong Kong and New York, Masters Grand Slam. On Sunday afternoon, for the biggest competition, the stands were full of excitement, the fans looking forward to see the best riders in the world in action. The course, designed by Conrad Homfeld, 1,60 m high with sixteen efforts, was difficult but fair. The Irish Denis Lynch was the first rider in the arena, but the first clear round was set by De Ponnat's exceptional performance which fired up the home crowd. Aymeric was the first of the french who qualified for the jump off with Armitages Boy. After him another twelve clear rounds followed, three of them adding to the home glory: Timothée Anciaume, Kevin Staut and Simon Delestre. Among them, the American Brianne Goutal, the Irish Cameron Hanley, the Germans Christian Alhmann, Ludger Beerbaum and Marcus Ehning, the British Scott Brash, the Dutch Michael van der Vleuten and Gerco Schroder and, finally, the Australian Edwina Tops-Alexander. First in the jump off, Aymeric de Ponnat: his double clear set a challenging time to beat, 42.95 seconds, and allowed him to hold on to the first spot for a few turns. One down for Goutal and Hanley, eight penalties for Anciaume and Alhmann who decided to retire after Aragon Z's unexpected refusal. Kevin entered for the second round in the arena and didn’t deceive his fans: with a double clear in 39.56 seconds he managed to claim first place, leaving Aymeric in second. But still seven couples had a chance to win the class: eight penalties for van der Vleuten put the dutch out of the game, same for Delestre, who got four. The attention grew with Beerbaum and Chiara who seemed determined to win but they stopped the clock at 43,24 seconds. Kevin knew it was still early to celebrate, especially when the next rider was one of the most performing in recent events, the talented Scott Brash. He and his mare Ursula pushed hard to catch Staut, but ended just behind him, with a clear round in 40.72 seconds. Three riders left, but no one could catch the Frenchman. Schröder clear in 41.32 who claimed third, Ehning on Cornado and Tops-Alexander with her speedy Cevo Itot du Chateau, both with one down. “Les jeux sont faits” as the French would say. Barbara Leoni