It doesn’t happen very often in showjumping, but two riders recorded identical times to tie for first place in a gripping finale to the Hermes Grand Prix in Paris today (Sunday).
In a non-stop, eight-rider jump-off for the top prize, Germany’s Christian Ahlmann (Taloubet Z) and Belgium’s Rik Hemeryck (Quarco De Kerambars) both stopped the clock clear in 40.71sec.
“I don’t think I’ve ever shared a class before, certainly not a class this big anyway,” said the German rider.
Belgian rider Rik added: “It’s excellent for the public to see two winners. You have 30 of the world’s top riders competing here, so it’s not just luck to win – you need to work really hard, too.”
Britain’s Ben Maher had an unfortunate four faults in the jump-off on nine-year-old Tripple X III, who looked to have come of age at this five-star show. The youngest horse to reach the jump-off, Ben’s home-bred black stallion proved more than capable of holding his own against some of the best horses in the world in the 1.60m grand prix, finishing in sixth place.
“He still has a lot to learn, but he’ll have learnt so much from jumping here,” said Ben.
Earlier in the day, some of Europe’s best under-25 riders fought out “Les Talents Hermes” – a team competition for pairs of riders from seven different nations.
Britain was represented by Matthew Sampson (Utopia) and Daniel Neilson (Chauvanist). This talented duo finished fourth. It was a great show for Daniel and the nine-year-old Vigo D’Arsouilles gelding who finished third in the young rider class the day before.
For full report, results and pictures from the three-day five-star show in Paris, don’t miss next week’s Horse & Hound (out 28 April).