In the latest edition of the LGCT Grand Prix Analysis, host Frederik De Backer looks deeper into the win of Malin Baryard-Johnson and H&M Indiana in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Ramatuelle St.Tropez.
Comparing the jump-offs of Baryard-Johnson and Smolders, De Backer pointed out that Smolders was ahead even 2 strides in to the last line.
“Harrie is well-known for his well-planned course and he exactly knows the strengths and weaknesses of his horses. He knew Baryard-Johnson was still to come with a horse that was likely to produce more speed over Gregory Bodo’s course but had less rideability, so he made sure he was very tight all the way through.”
“He managed to leave out a stride in the first line and still be tight to the next vertical of Longines in the middle of the arena. Though he was ahead in the first line and Baryard-Johnson went wider in the second turn, the Swedish did manage to get level at the upright. She was very brave to choose for a first-distance approach putting her level with the Dutchman”.
Out of the line and back in.
“That plan worked well at the take-off but at the landing she flew out of the next right-hand turn to the double.”
With Smolders again tidy around the turn he managed to get ahead of the 2021 Rome Grand Prix winner. Neat through the double and short to Premiumares, Smolders actually found himself 2 strides ahead of Baryard-Johnson with just 2 lines to go.
“It is difficult to say if it was all planned and we know that Indiana is a mare with a lot of personality and drive, but Malin actually went for another wide approach to the second last fence. At first it looked uncontrolled but a closer look learns that it allowed Malin to get a better angle to the second last fence after which H&M Indiana could play her favorite game.”
From 2 strides down to 0.38s ahead
“The angled approach allowed Malin to jump into the last turn and she didn’t have to adjust the direction too much, making the turn much smoother. She basically evaded the minus of Indiana by riding the same 10 strides as Smolder to the second last fence. I’m convinced she could easily have done it on 9 but to set her up for the last line needed that extra stride.”
Once into that line she could repeat what she did to the Longines vertical, that is to pick the first distance and commit to it. In doing so she left out a stride compared to Smolders and made up the 2 strides she was behind in the landing after the second last fence.
“No one in that 12-rider jump-off other than the eventual winner managed to go first-distance to the last. So it was a really smart move from Baryard-Johnson and H&M Indiana not to race down the second last line. Smolders rode less strides in his jump-off and kept his turns much tighter than Malin’s but he got caught by a fire breathing dragon in the last stretch.”
To find out all the details about the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Prague, watch the LGCT Grand Prix Analysis on a GCTV Pro Pass.