It was an evening of explosive top sport as Daniel Deusser and Bingo Ste Hermelle risked it all as first to go in the jump-off and triumphed in the dazzling Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Cannes presented by Volvo Groupe Cavallari.
Deusser reigned supreme in Cannes winning a supercharged jump-off against the heavyweight stars of show jumping just 0.23s ahead of Spencer Smith and Theodore Manciais in second. Ben Maher and Faltic HB claimed the final spot on the podium next to the shores of the Mediterranean for the 7th leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour circuit.
Smiling and waving to the crowd Deusser told GCTV: “I am very very very happy with my little horse tonight. First to go in the jump-off is never easy. I took all the risks to the last fence, it is a great atmosphere here tonight and a great jump-off but of course, I wanted to be number 1. Bingo really fights for me and wants to win in the ring.”
Deusser’s victory means he is the latest to earn a coveted place at the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix later this year he said: “Prague is one goal for every rider here. The sooner you qualify the better it is and I am happy and lucky I did it today.”
François Bourey - President of the Jumping International de Cannes said: "A successful return! We were sold out this evening, which proves that the jumping was really expected. Next year will be the 40th edition of the competition and we are determined to make it a great celebration. It will be a special moment. We have started to talk about it with Jan Tops this evening and we have some great projects to work on in the coming months. First of all, I would like to thank the city and Mr David Lisnard, Mayor of Cannes, who has always supported the competition and made sure that the Jumping is held in optimal conditions. I approached this 39th edition as if I were organising my first international and felt the same emotions as when I started, which is absolutely wonderful. The organising team, the public, the volunteers, the atmosphere, the sponsors present, everything was great. See you in 2023!"
Tonight’s showdown also had a big impact on the overall season rankings. Christian Ahlmann extends his lead to 148 points while Pieter Devos stays in second on 139 points. Niels Bruynseels is now just 3 points ahead of Ben Maher on 124 and 121 points respectively.
It was a rollercoaster start to the LGCT Grand Prix of Cannes as course designer Uliano Vezzani’s tough first round track triggered multiple faults and retirements from a string of top riders. Under floodlights and in hot temperatures on the French Riviera, more major players tumbled out of the 1.60m class leaving just 6 to go through to the jump-off.
It was a full house at the Cannes showground and the excitement rose as the crowd went wild as first to go in the jump-off Daniel Deusser and Bingo Ste Hermelle entered the sand arena. The atmosphere was electric as the top combination set off flying to the first fence but it was his flat out gallop to the final fence where he risked it all in 34.62s that put pressure on the rest of the world class field.
The race was on as Max Kühner rode another double clear even taking one less stride than Deusser in the first line but he couldn’t match the pace stopping the clock in 37.40. The temperature soared as home hero Kevin Staut and the youngest in the field Dialou Blue PS rocketed around the shorter course but with two down ending their chances of a home win.
Looking for his ticket to the LGCT Super Grand Prix still, Ben Maher was determined as ever to take the win in Cannes. Taking one less stride than Deusser in the first and penultimate lines Maher shook his head with disappointment as he stopped the clock slower than Deusser clear in 35.68s
The bar was set high but Spencer Smith and Theodore Manciais were not intimidated. Making good use of Theodore’s long stride, the America star gained time between fences but an extra check to the final fence meant he crossed the finish line just fractions of a second behind stable mate Deusser in 34.90.
Last to go Fernando Martinez Sommer and High Five gave it their best shot but they were a second down on the time to beat at halfway and a costly rail put them on four faults, off the podium and handing the win to the German tonight.
The Longines Global Champions Tour now heads to Stockholm from 17 - 19 June for the eighth stage of the dramatic Championship race.