It was an electric start to the Longines Global Champions Tour of Cannes with David Will from Germany and Bertram Allen from Ireland winning the 1.45m opening CSI5* class in an incredible dead heat. The pair crossed the line with identical times, sharing victory in the Prix BMW Bayern Avenue.
The world’s best horses and riders were truly tested in the afternoon class, with thunder and lightning thrown into the mix at the normally sunny destination of Cannes. Just a stone’s throw from the world-famous La Croisette, the Cannes event is a special combination of glamour and top-class sport in the heart of the French Rivera, with today’s opening class kick-starting the weekend of show jumping. The two-phase competition, where riders had to jump the first half of the class clear in order to progress to the timed element, was over a course designed by Uliano Vezzani and was challenging but fair and achievable.
David Will soon stormed the lead, with top horse Mic Mac du Tillard, his experienced 16-year-old chestnut mare. The pair crossed the line in an impressive 26.36s after making up time all the way around the course. Hot on their heels was young Belgian talent, Jos Verlooy who rode a beautiful round with Farfelu de la Pomme but was unable to match David’s time, finishing fourth on 28.78s. Pedro Veniss (Brazil) with his beautiful black AD Argos put in a stunningly careful round amidst the downpour: a valiant effort that stopped the clock at 28.20s, two seconds off the lead.
With local fans cheering them on, leading French rider Simon Delestre and the chestnut gelding, Chesall Zimequest came home in 29.13s, securing fifth place. Daniel Deusser (Germany) and his stallion Hidalgo VG rounded out the top six, just tenths of a second behind the Frenchman with a time of 29.27s.
Towards the end of the round Bertram Allen set off at a pace with Quiet Easy, moving up a gear and jumping cleanly into the second phase. Bertram is renowned for speed, and rode the chestnut gelding with real intent to win, galloping to the last and flying across the line in 26.36s, matching David Will’s time to the millisecond. You can watch an interview with the two winners on this link.
The footing was exceptional throughout the downpour, but to ensure optimum conditions for the horses, the decision was made to rest the arena and move the evening’s second CSI5* class to tomorrow afternoon. This will now take place at 18:15 French time, with the second CSI5* class taking place at 21:15. To watch the action live, tune in to GCT TV.