Alena Hughes made the final day in St Tropez a winning one and recorded her second victory at this fabulous show with the consistent Rainbow.
Seventeen competitors tackled this 2* 1.15m track with Alena forging ahead on the Cato Z/Pouchka III 15-year-old to win with 1.67 sec in hand.
“He’s exceptional and he jumped super today,” said Alena, 13, who has ridden Rainbow for the past two years.
Tess Carmichael guided the Van Gogh 10-year-old E.Harley into fifth eight sec in arrears and Alicia Store was also clear for ninth on Uranie.
Jessica Springsteen (USA) took the biggest win of her career today with a scintillating victory in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of St Tropez in a high calibre 14-strong jump off.
Jessica reigned supreme riding the 12-year-old bay mare RMF Zecilie beating pathfinder, Belgium’s Pieter Devos on Claire Z by just over a second in a tremendous climax to the event on the shores of the Mediterranean. She is the 17th rider to qualify for the prestigious LGCT Super Grand Prix at the GC Prague Playoffs in November.
“I’m still in shock, she jumped amazing and was with me every step of the way,” said Jessica.
Young talent Harry Charles and the 13-year-old Borsato proved to be a naturally quick pair, but the first part of the Longines double came down as did the final Longines oxer - the pair finishing with eight faults and dropping from a possible second to 12th spot.
The upcoming LGCT finals in New York are close to where Jessica was brought up with her parents Bruce and Patti in New Jersey.
It’s my home town and my whole family are coming. It’s going to be unbelievable, I’m so looking forward to it,” she said.
The LGCT Finals from 27 - 29 September are set to be a truly mouth-watering showdown with a wafer-thin margin of only one point separating the season's top two riders, Belgium’s Pieter Devos and Britain’s Ben Maher. Devos took over the ranking lead after finishing second in today’s LGCT Grand Prix of St Tropez putting him on 278 points ahead of Ben on 277. France’s Simon Delestre took third place today with Hermes Ryan, the Frenchman just missing out on the chance to qualify for the LGCT Super Grand Prix.
An easy clear in the 1.55/1.60m speed – which ran concurrently with the Global Champions League – earned Scott Brash and Hello Mr President eighth spot more than five sec behind the winner, The USA’s Kent Farrington on Creedance.
It didn’t go according to plan for the London Knights in the Global Champions League. Overall ranking leaders London Knights had everything to do today to keep a chance of maintaining their overall lead. With no changes to their line up, Ben Maher was first to go with his nine-year- old mare Concona. Ben kept a flowing rhythm throughout the course, giving the horse as much time as possible to the fences, but the second part of the Longines double fell, as did two parts of the GCL triple. But it went from bad to worse, every fence thereafter falling and the team plummeting to a score of 40. Olivier Philippaerts brought back H&M Legend of Love but there was drama after the Cavalleria Toscana pole fell before Olivier could approach it. The judges rang the bell to stop Olivier, who had to pull up with his grey mare. They restarted, but both the final fences fell, the team finishing on a score to forget of 48 faults overall and a lowly 14th.
In a storyline fit for a Hollywood blockbuster, Madrid in Motion's Eric and Maikel van der Vleuten stole the show in Ramatuelle, Saint Tropez to take a sensational second win on the French Riviera.
In a dramatic shake up of the rankings, the St Tropez Pirates have now taken the overall lead with the Finals in New York next on the agenda - the team now lead on a tally of 304 points so far. With their strong second place today the Shanghai Swans have now moved up to second overall, just two points behind the leaders on 302 points so far. After a weekend to forget for the London Knights, they slip down to third with 296 points, and Madrid in Motion creep up to the top four with their win today, now on a score of 290 points overall.
Father and son duo of Eric and Maikel van der Vleuten returned for the Madrid in Motion team today, with Eric first go on Wunschkind 19. They worked hard, but kept all the fences up, handing the baton to son Maikel and Beauville Z. They nine-year-old horse responded beautifully to Maikel's requests, Madrid in Motion securing the second double clear of the day and keeping the team on a score of six faults and guaranteed a top podium place this weekend.
Another team to make no horse or rider changes were the Miami Celtics, the team fielding Jessica Springsteen first with RMF Zecilie. The 12 year old mare jumped her heart out for the American rider and they finished clear, keeping the team on their score of 13 faults. U25 rider Harry Charles brought back ABC Quantum Cruise, but the first part of the GCL triple came down to put the team on a total of 17 overall and eighth spot.
Hans-Dieter Dreher came off the bench for the New York Empire team riding Prinz. But the Dolce & Gabbana fence fell before it all started to unravel for the pair, the duo collecting a total of 12 faults to put the team on total 20 overall. Scott Brash kept his ride of Hello Mr President, the feisty 10-year-old bay gelding keen to take on the track. They delivered the clear, keeping the team on their tally of 20 for ninth.
Text and Photos © LGCT/Stefano Grasso