Cannes Day One
The French leg of the Global Champions Tour began as usual with a speed class over a 1.40 track designed this time by Serge Houtmann. But although the riders who eventually took the top places were men this was really a night about the female sex. Third to go Jessica Kurten set a time of 60.33 on her veteran mare Quibelle and then had to watch while the other 43 riders tried to beat her. She had to wait a while but it came as no surprise to GCT regulars that it was Italian superstar Gianni Govoni who was the man who did it. Riding his mare Love Affair with whom he won in Valencia, Gianni set off, as usual, with no thought of coming second. Without taking a single pull and to gasps from the crowd Gianni took nearly three seconds off Jessica's time. Then he had to wait and see what happened.
Daniel Deusser got very close on his super consistent Valencia winner Vonka, another mare but 58.14 was not quite fast enough. Oliver Gullion, making the most of wild card entry, steered yet another mare, Kikuyu di Coty, to a time of 59.35 but in the end this was only good enough for fourth.
Alvaro de Miranda is the organiser of the Brazilian leg of the GCT and together with wife Athina, are great supporters of the series. But his mare AD Peanuts was the oldest mare in the class and also a chestnut. However AD Peanuts made anybody who believes all the stories about chestnut mares look foolish because under a lovely ride from Alvaro, she jumped a perfect round, appearing almost effortless to stop the clock in 56.84 and claim the 6400 first prize.
In the second class some of the leading contenders were lost in the first round at what seemed straightforward fences. Albert Zoer (Oki Doki) and Ben Maher (Robin Hood) both had the last and Edwina Alexander (Itot Du Chateau) got a bit close to the oxer at 9 to end her chances of victory.
In the end 13 made it through to the jump off over a shortened course. Oliver Gullion continued his good start to the show by being among them but no-one was really expecting him, as second to go, to set such a standard. Flying round in 39.9 on Lord de Thieze he proved almost unmatchable. Except that second last to go was Michael Whitaker on another mare, the 15 year old Insul Tech Portofino. A winner last week in Rome, the mare seems to be determined to make up for being a last minute withdrawal at last years Olympic Games. Wasting not a single minute she and Michael flew through the finish in 38.27. Last man in was Patrick McEntee on Ever Mury Marais but despite their best efforts they could not quite catch the British rider although 39.87 was just good enough to snatch second place. Leaving the arena 8000Euro better off is never a bad thing but Michael was full of praise for his horse.
“She is 15 now but she still seems as good as ever. Oliver set a really fast time but I had the better draw so I had to go for it and Portofino was fantastic. I am going to see how Insul Tech Amai jumps tomorrow before I decide which I will ride in the Grand Prix as it is going to be very big and Portofino has done so well today.”
Results Class 1
1. Alvaro De Miranda, BRA, AD Peanuts , 0, 56.842.
2. Gianni Govoni, ITA, Love Affair, 0, 57.83.
3. Daniel Deusser, GER, Vonka, 0, 58.16
Results Class 2
1. Michael Whitaker GB, Insultech Portofino, 0,0, 38.27
2. Patrick McEntee BEL, Ever Mury Malais, 0,0, 39.89
3. Oliver Gullion FRA, Lord de Theize, 0,0, 39.9
Quote Alvaro de Miranda- “I do organise Rio but for me, the most important thing is being involved with horses. Everything I do is for them. I love riding and training, at home with the Pessoa's and at the show's with Jos Lansink, and I am competitive in both my life and when riding, so I have a double motivation .”
Alvaro De Miranda from Brazil and AD Peanuts
Brazil's Alvaro De Miranda and AD Peanuts
Michael Whitaker on the 15yr old mare Portofino
For full results go to www.globalchampionstour.com
© Cyberhorse 2009 Lulu Kyriacou