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JUNE BLOG RANK 74
Pénélope prevails at first 5* at GCT Cannes.
French riders Pénélope Leprevost and Julien Epaillard scored at the opening GCT 5* speed class in Cannes flying the flag for the home crowd.
Pénélope pulled off a dramatically quick round in 56.99 on Oscar des Fontaines with a fiery pace round the 1.45m course on the Riviera. In a patriotic win she strongly outpaced the rest of the field on her bay stallion and after her lap of honour she said: “It was great. He was super.”
(photo credits: Sportfot/GCT)
Fellow French rider Julien Epaillard had held on to the lead for most of the competition after his big striding horse Qarat de la Loge devoured the double combinations in the Stade des Hesperides arena. But his time of 61.02 was shattered by Pénélope’s masterly display of speed. Third place rider Marcus Ehning of Germany rode a deceptively quick round on Sabrina finishing in 62.10.
The arena close to Cannes’ famous Croisette, home of the star-studded film festival, was bathed in evening sunshine as many of the riders took the opportunity to use the class to prepare their Grand Prix horses. But others like Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya and Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa went flat out taking risks around the course, but paying the price with four faults. But even their fast times were beaten by Pénélope.
Irish rider Denis Lynch and Ludger Beerbaum of Germany were both back in the saddle at the GCT after brief time-outs with injury. Fifteen riders jumped clear out of a field of 51. The arena is set for a packed schedule of world class show jumping climaxing in the GCT Grand Prix on Saturday evening.
Pénélope pulls off the double in tight jump off in Cannes
Ecstatic Pénélope Leprevost celebrated a double win last night in a supremely tight jump off on the opening night of Global Champions Tour of France.
The French rider crowned her earlier victory with another win in the 5* Prix Generali thrilling the local crowd in Cannes, one of the most glamorous locations on the French Riviera.
Pénélope won the first class on Oscar des Fontaines and the second event on the experienced mare Nayana.
Speaking after her the lap of honour on Nayana she said: “I am really happy with both horses. Oscar is a very good horse and if I am riding well too then it always goes well. And I’m especially pleased with Nayana as I have only been riding her regularly for a few months but it is now a good combination.”
Pénélope was already ahead of her rivals halfway through the course and finished in 34.39. Her time was almost beaten by her former trainer and fellow French rider Michel Robert who zipped to the finish line only a fraction of a second behind on 34.44.
The split second finishing times demonstrated the extremely high level of competition at the GCT events. Dutch rider Gerco Schroder was third on another fast time of 34.62 with American Laura Kraut on 34.77. The riders with the top times took full advantage of the tight turns built into the course by Uliano Vezzani.
A total of 13 riders had jumped clear in the first round of the 1.50m class, but only 12 went into the jump off after Edwina Tops-Alexander decided to concentrate on the Grand Prix on Saturday with her star horse Cevo Itôt du Chateau. Some of the world’s leading riders ended up on faults after the first round including Christian Ahlmann, Alvaro da Miranda, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Simon Delestre.