It was a fantastic Friday of thrilling sport just meters from the Mediterranean Sea as Swedish Campion Peder Fredriscon triumphed in the action-packed Prix PremiuMares, while young gun Mike Kawai claimed his first-ever CSI5* win earlier in the day.
There was a distinctly cool Riviera vibe at the LGCT Ramatuelle/Saint- Tropez, Longines Athina Onassis Horse Show as fans and guests enjoyed top sport and soaked up the lifestyle in the chic shopping village featuring world-famous brands. Fredricson and Catch Me Not S took the trophy from Julien Epaillard with Calgary Tame, and Maikel van der Vleuten with Elwikke rounding out third.
Peder smiled “There were some super fast riders in the jump-off, so I knew it was going to be really fast. I won it to the last, I thought it was going to be a long 8 strides, but then I saw them ride it and thought I would try to do 7.”
Gregory Bodo put together a flowing course for the 1.50m jump-off class, sponsored by PremiuMares, offering up plenty of options for the riders to consider. The world’s best were given chances to turn inside the fences or take the longer route around them. The time allowed played a huge part triggering disappointment for some, catching out top-level talent including Harrie Smolders, Christian Ahlmann, Nayel Nassar and rising star Lucas Porter who were all agonisingly close to a spot in the jump-off.
There were 11 to go in the high-powered jump-off featuring some of the world’s top horses in the world today. First rider in, Maikel van der Vleuten, had the tough job of riding the path-finding course, but kept his cool to power around the track with Elwikke to lay down the gauntlet at 37.34 seconds.
Hot on his heels, Julien Epaillard and Calgary Tame were in perfect harmony, the big striding horse flying around the course to knock over two seconds off Maikel’s time and fly through the finish line in 34.87s.
Fresh from his win yesterday and wanting to impress once again on home soil Edward Levy set off at a flat out gallop on Uno de Cerisy. Unfortunately it was too risky and with one fence falling they dropped down the order this time.
Peder Fredricson then showed the crowd why he is one of the best in the world by knocking a further two tenths off the time to soar into the lead on the stunning Catch me Not S. There was disappointment for Pieter Devos and Apart as a very unusual refusal at the second fence put them straight out of contention for today.
The temperature rose again as Carlos Enrique Lopez Lizarazo also took the risk of just 7 strides to the last fence, but a light touch cost them a place on the podium and he had to settle as the fastest on 4 faults with Evita SG Z
It was a steady double clear for Jos Verlooy and Varoune also putting them out of the running, the Belgium rider resisting temptation to go for the win, looking at the bigger picture of the Super Saturday showdown tomorrow.
Trying to make it a win on home soil the speed merchant Simon Delestre looked dangerous to take over the lead, but was caught out at the double putting himself and Chesall Zimequest into tenth place. Next up, Nicolas Delmotte took an inspired roll back to the double on Ilex VP but the pressure from Peder’s time was too much - forcing an error as a pole fell.
There was drama when Zoe Osterhoff got a long stride to the second fence, taking off too early and causing the poles to fall with Ferrari VDL. Final rider to go German legend Ludger Beerbaum couldn’t match the pace from the start and finished off the time with Cool Feeling in 42.40 seconds, but producing a textbook double clear.
So it would be Peder Fredricson who would claim the Prix PremiuMares win with Catch Me Not S, the pair taking the spotlight as they were presented the trophy by founder of PremiuMares, Milena Pappa, under the sunset in Ramatuelle/Saint-Tropez,
Tomorrow will see the GCL Ramatuelle/Saint-Tropez final which kicks off at 14.00 local time, and the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Ramatuelle/Saint-Tropez, which takes place at 17.25. All the action will be streamed live via GCTV, with expert commentary, analysis and exclusive guest interviews.