3rd Place - Michel Hecart on Pasha du Gu
“I’m very happy. I think today we saw some great sport. I would like to thank all the sponsors and organisers for putting on this great event here in China. We saw a lot of spectators, which means there is a lot of interest which was great and it it nice to see so many people at a first event. I think we had three really good rounds and a fantastic jump-off. I think I have a very good horse which made me win today. I had the horse since he was 1 and I think we make a good pair - we have a good connection. I’m sure the horse knows that he won - they know when it is important and they have to do their best. I am happy that he did such a good job for me, he is treated like a king and I think that it is very important that we treat our horses as friends.”
“I am very happy of course, but I would like to have won! I took one too many strides to number two. But I want to thank the sponsors and the organisers, the event has been unbelieveable. I would also like to thank Uliano Vezzani who did a great job as always. I couldn’t happier, my horse is in super shape, and there was great support from the public. My horse has never jumped that good before, it wouldn’t have mattered how good or bad I rode today, he didn’t want to touch a fence. He loves it here. I couldn’t be happier with him.” Eddie Peng, with Edwina Tops-Alexander,Pieter Devos and Michel Hecart
The event was widely covered by Chinese TV networks and thousands of spectators enjoyed the top-level sporting entertainment and smart retail village. The large VIP hospitality lodge was packed with a fashion-conscious crowd from across China, including senior Government figures and captains of industry. Limousines chauffeured guests to the unique show ground and famous Asian actor and new Ambassador of Elegance for GCT Title Partner Longines, Eddie Peng added some celebrity stardust to Grand Prix day. Guests of partners FedEx, Audi, RL Polo also enjoyed the first world-class show jumping competition ever to be held in mainland China from their prime VIP hospitality area. Pieter Devos’ performance on the day was described as ‘inspiring’ by the newly-converted show jumping fans who flocked to the event in Shanghai.The first round saw a tough and demanding course set by Uliano Vezzani (ITA), with no real ‘bogey’ fences. Technical lines and tricky distances came thick and fast causing more than a few top names to pick up penalties. Of the 18 riders through to the second round, eleven carried zero penalties with seven going through on four faults.
The second round saw just five double clears. Once again tough distances and awkward lines caused many to lower a rail, but the crowd cheered loudly after every clean round. First to go in the jump-off was the face of LGCT Shanghai, Ludger Beerbaum with Zinedine who was forced to take some chances and lowered a vertical mid-way through the round. Michel Hecart, still in fantastic form at 60, set the standard from second to go at 45.40s, but he was immediately bettered by Tops-Alexander who stopped the clock at 43.12s. Pieter Devos rode the round of his life, taking chances at every turn to produce a winning time of 42.48s. Last to go, Abdullah al Sharbatly and big-jumping Tobalio looked like they would demolish the winning time coming to the last, but the World Championship medallist took off too far away and at such speed his horse was unable to clear the final fence, so he finished in 4th. The crowd rose to their feet to acknowledge the human and equine athletic performance as the three medal winner entered the arena. Looking ahead to Cannes , the Championship race is well and truly on for the 2014 official Longines Global Champions Tour series. Issue 19 SPORTING HORSE
Published on Jul 15, 2014