The public is one of the strongest assets of the Longines International Jumping of La Baule. Gathered in the grandstand of the François André stadium, the spectators have been up to their reputation, encouraging each pair, supporting the French riders, greeting every ride and cheering the winners.
These true connoisseurs would have liked to sing the Marseillaise, but they did not hide their pleasure when listening to the Brabançonne that resonated to honour the victory of the Belgian Jérôme Guéry and Grand Cru de Rozenberg.
Before reaching that point, the riders had to qualify for the jump off, after analysing the course designed by Frédéric Cottier. Some were too cautious with the time (83 seconds allowed) and got trapped, especially over the oxer n°6 placed after the water jump, and over the triple combination. Among the disappointed, the Canadian Eric Lamaze who had a rail down with Chacco Kid, the Olympic champion Steve Guerdat, penalized with 4 faults associated to Bianca, as well as Simon Delestre. The world n°1, and his gorgeous Qlassic Bois Margot completed the course with 5 penalty points. Patrice Delaveau will do his very best to forget his below average performance with Orient Express*HDC (12 points)…
Only 11 riders managed to sign a clear round: Margie Goldstein-Engle (USA) with Royce, Kevin Staut (FRA) with Elky van Het Indihof HDC, Bertram Allen (IRL) with Romanov, Pénélope Leprevost (FRA) with Flora de Mariposa, Cédric Angot (FRA) with Saxo de la Cour, Johnny Pals (PB) with Fernando, René Lopez (COL) with Con Dios III, Lucy Davis (USA) with Barron, Gudrun Patteet (BEL) with Sea Coast Pebbles Z, Jérôme Guéry (BEL) with Grand Cru de Rozenberg, and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) with Fibonacci 17.
Pénélope Leprevost put pressure on her opponents when jumping the 8 fences of the jump off in a time of 36’’19 without penalties on Flora de Mariposa. But the option on a victory by the French, vice world champion and world n°5, fell apart after Jérôme Guéry’s ride on his beautiful chesnut horse with an odd-eye. Grand Cru de Rozenberg flew over the poles in a time of 35’’74 that allowed him to clinch victory in the Longines Grand Prix of the city of La Baule 2016, ahead of Pénélope Leprevost and Flora de Mariposa. The 3rd place goes to the German Michaels- Beerbaum and Fibonacci 17.
Rémi Cléro, President of the international Jumping of La Baule :
« First of all, thank you to everybody for riding this Longines Grand Prix of the city of La Baule. This Grand Prix has been possible because of the unconditional support of the city of La Baule and Longines, sponsor of the show and of the Grand Prix. Congratulations to all, to the champion Jérôme Guéry, to Pénélope for her beautiful rounds and to Meredith.»
Yves Métaireau, Mayor of La Baule :
« We had ordered a nice weather, we had a wonderful Grand Prix and a fantastic public. Around 8000 to 9000 spectators were here this afternoon, thanks to the free admission and to the quality of the show. I would only worry about one thing, where to fit in more people next year.»
Jérôme Guéry (BEL), 1st:
« You have to know this show is particularly dear to me, even if I only came here twice. I started in Super League in La Baule and win here in front of this public gave me a lot of emotion, especially because I bought Grand Cru less than a year ago, and I was jumping 1,20m classes with him. I am really happy : my plan was to come to La Baule with the national coach, I was very good in the Grand Prix today, not so good in the Nations Cup, I want to apologize to my partners, it can happen.»
Pénélope Leprevost (FRA), 2nd :
« Flora is really in very, very good shape, I did not ride well in the Nations Cup, even if it does not show, since we signed a double clear, the mare was fantastic. It is a very strange feeling to ride her, she may be the mare of a lifetime that any rider dreams of meeting once in his high level career. She may be my Jappeloup. I ride each course with great pleasure with this mare, knowing that if I had found the right distance on the last fence, I could have been faster than Jérôme, but I did not.»
Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), 3rd:
« I did not come here in a long time, since 1991 actually, since often I am in Florida in winter. I was very young the last time, I was very happy to be here and very pleased about the way things went for me this week end.»
Frédéric Cottier (FRA), course designer:
« I heard a lot about the footing after the Nations Cup, but I was really confident today when I saw how the ground dried out. The course we put up was a real one with oxers between 1,65 m and 1,80 m, and 1,60 m verticals. The line after the water jump was very technical, even if after 10 riders I had already 6 clear rounds. The first horses jumped very high the water and backed up a little. This year, we had an exceptional quality of horses.»
Photo: PSV – Jean Morel