Levy wins first ever LGCT class on home soil
Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grassop
Edward Levy (FRA) kicked off the Longines Global Champions Tour of Paris in style by taking a home first place with Starlette de la Roque by just over two-tenths of a second. Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) finished in second on the fast H&M Second Chance while Wilm Vermeir (BEL) was in a very close third position on King Kong d’Avifauna.
Grégory Bodo designed a twisty full up 1.45m two-phase course for the world-class riders to tackle. There were multiple lines for the combinations to take including some very tight turns if they wanted to win.
First to go Abdel Said (EGY) and Arpege du Ru put in a strong start to the class by jumping a clear round in 34.18 seconds. It wasn’t the fastest time and left plenty of room for the following 58 riders to squeeze in front.
Belgian rider Celine Schoonbroodt-de Acevedo (BEL) stormed into an early lead in a rapid time of 30.66 seconds with her 8-year-old Boheme de Fleyres. It was young gun Evelina Tovek (SWE) next to challenge this time. She has been on flying form this season already and produced yet another clear round on Mill’s Sheridan but couldn’t cut enough corners and had to settle for second place.
Unexpectedly Ben Maher (GBR) had two down on Don Vito but they will be back later on this week in the hope to land a podium position.
LGCT Super Grand Prix winning combination of Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) and California used the class to school round and get to know the arena before super Saturday tomorrow at LGCT Paris. Stablemate Alberto Zorzi (ITA) also added extra strides around the large sand arena and finished with two time faults as well.
Fresh from his win in Cascais, Estoril Olivier Robert (FRA) rubbed the first fence in the second phase causing it to fall meaning he wouldn’t be in the placings today with Tempo de Paban.
Current ranking leader Pieter Devos (BEL) picked up one time fault in the first phase along with Michael Duffy (IRL), Wilm Vermeir (BEL), Christian Ahlmann (GER), Daniel Bluman (GRE), Scott Brash (GRB), Cian O’Conner (IRL) and Athina Onassis (GRE).
Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) took the handbrake off the moment the second phase started. She accelerated around the tight corners and put herself straight onto the top of the leaderboard by over two seconds with her famous grey H&M Second Chance.
Next to go Michael G Duffy (IRL) put maximum effort in to try and cruise into the lead, he used Chappo Chey’s big strides to cover the ground but unfortunately he was just a second slower than the time to beat causing him to finish in fifth.
The drama continued as former world number one Daniel Deusser (GER) knocked the first fence down and had to quickly change his plan to a schooling round on his mare Jasmien v. Bisschop. The crowd cheered as home rider Simon Delestre (FRA) entered the arena, he left all the jumps up but wasn’t going for the time as he finished with a time fault to save Hermes Ryan’s energy for the bigger classes.
Two-time LGCT Grand Prix winner this season Martin Fuchs (SUI) steered Silver Shine home in a time of 30.96 seconds which allowed them to finish inside the top 10. Former LGCT Grand Prix of Paris winner Kevin Staut decided to retire halfway round and on form Jos Verlooy (BEL) had to work hard to keep Varoune straight in the Massimo Dutti double but it was the second double that caught him out to leave him on four faults.
The very consistent Nayel Nassar (EGY) meant business today on Oaks Redwood. The fast and furious combination powered over the finish line less than half a second slower than Malin to finish in fourth place.
A new face on the Tour and young talent Edward Levy (FRA) took the outside turns but kept rolling and proved what he is made of. With a smile on his face, he flew into the lead with Starlette de la Roque and left the 12 remaining combinations to come having to ride hard if they wanted to take over the lead.
Michael Duffy was fast on his second horse in the class Rumbles Starlight but he got a little flat to a wide oxer in the second phase causing it to fall but he still crossed the line in a well respected 29.33 seconds. Last to challenge for top spot was speed demon Wilm Vermeir, the crowd thought he has done it but he finished 0.49 seconds slower on his big bay King Kong d’Avifauna.
So it was a win for a home star, with plenty of action still to come this weekend in Paris.