Scott Brash and John Whitaker fly the flag for Britain in Chantilly
Scott Brash gained a little recompence in the 5* 1.55/160m speed at the Longines Global Champions tour of Chanitlly with Hello Forever after the debacle over the ‘blood rule’ and subsequent elimination a week ago. The pair raced ahead, the For Pleasure 11-year-old relishing the competition to claim victory by 0.40 sec over speedy Frenchman Patrice Delaveau and Aquila HDC.
Last-to-go John Whitaker posted a steady round on Cassinis Chaplin and picked up a time fault, but there was method in his tactics. The class – judged as the second leg of the Global Champions league – meant John had to go clear or with a very quick four faults to beat Scott’s round for the Maimi Glory team. The pressure was on, but John gave a masterclass with clean and steady the obvious strategy, and secured victory with one time fault for Hamburg Diamonds teammate Harrie Smolders, who had jumped clear on Emerald NOP.
John was ever-modest – “Cassinis Chaplin jumped great yesterday – I don’t think I rode him as good as I could but he really tried and he jumped clear,” he said.
Harrie was very complimentary about his Hamburg Diamonds partner.
“I must say I think John and I are a good couple. It’s a privilege for the Diamonds to have someone like John on our team, and I think he showed again today how good he is, and his skills. At the moment we’re in the lead, but we still have five circuits to come. But the Diamonds are in good shape - we’re also very focused on the team, we try to put our good horses [forward], we don’t ride for the class ourselves, but we try to ride for the team first. I think that’s why we’re in the lead.”
Scott’s win put him in the reckoning, but Miami Glory partner Paris Sellon posted four faults on Cassandra and the pair finished second.
The Hamburg Diamonds now leap to the top of the leaderboard with a 13 point advantage over second-placed Valkenswaard United.
The Netherlands’ on-form Harrie enjoyed a diamond of a day and together with Scott went on to feature in the top-billed grand prix of Chantilly. Only four of the 24 returned initial clears for a high-calibre jump-off, Harrie skilfully piloting Emerald into brilliantly executed tight turns and a gallop to the last.
Only last-to-go Scott could deny Harrie victory, but although he was quick and clear, Hello Forever crossed the line 1.19 sec in arrears for second spot. Scott admitted he lost time on the turns.
“Hello Forever was amazing today - I was just too slow! I must say you can’t take it away from Harrie, he did an amazing jump-off round, he was very fast. I did everything I could and I’m delighted with my horse. I’ve juggled around with bits in the past with him, but the double bridle works great - perhaps the turning is not quite amazing yet, and I probably lost it back to the second last as I wasn’t tight enough there, but we’re going in the right direction and he’s jumped great this weekend. I still feel far away [in the Championship] if you see Harrie’s result - he’s done amazing. We’ll keep trying and there’s still a lot of jumping to go," said Scott.
Harrie was understandably delighted.
“Emerald deserves all the credit for the results this week, he felt good at home but it’s never a guarantee to turn out like this. He was clear yesterday and jumped three clears today to win the GCL and GCT grand prix- it’s amazing. I didn’t actually think I was fast enough [in the grand prix], I was smooth everywhere but had two steady moments – I’d left a little gap open – but it was enough,” said Harrie, who now tops the leaderboard by 57 points over Italy’s Alberto Zorzi.
British luck didn’t extend to John in the grand prix, and he was unceremoniously unseated in the middle of the combination by Cassinis Chaplin.
Skye Higgin topped the 2* 1.45m speed in fine style, galloping ahead to hold off all 61 rivals on the Quidam De Revel 13-year-old Quarina De Blondel to win by more than two sec.
Skye, who is based in France, rode for Penelope Leprevost for three years before moving to Normandie and Elevage du Tillard and has ridden Quarina for more than two years.
Lucinda Roche continued with a successful show, claiming two second places. She finished second in the 1* 1.35m speed aboard WCE Falco, the Cruising 12-year-old finishing 1.18 sec behind the pace. A steady clear put Jane Davies and Egalini in 15th. Jane also claimed sixth in the 1.25m on new ride Quite Like It, an eight-year-old Quirado mare formerly ridden by Sophie Heaven.
And Lucinda – based in Britain but rides for Ireland and recently selected for the young riders European championships – also claimed second in the 1.15m speed with the Darco 10-year-old Hebe Van’t Palmenhof, 1.88 sec behind the winner. Alicia Store was steadier for fifth and sixth aboard Capellini II and Uriko Van Sint Antoniushoeve.
Photos © LGCT/Stefano Grasso & Jumping Around