‘I’m still in shock’ — Jessica Springsteen claims her showjumping first

“It’s 100% the biggest win of my career, I’m still in shock,” said 27-year-old Jessica Springsteen after winning her first Longines Global Champions Tour grand prix in Saint-Tropez on Saturday (14 September).

Riding the 12-year-old mare RMF Zecilie (Acolord x Canturo), the US rider produced the fastest double clear against her 13 jump-off rivals to claim the €99,000 (£87,900) first prize.

“Zecilie was flying today!” said Jessica. “She was with me every step of the way and jumped exceptionally. I’m delighted, especially for her owners [Rushy Marsh Farms].”

Victory in the grand prix means Jessica becomes the 17th of 18 riders to qualify for the LGCT Super Grand Prix at the GC Prague Playoffs in November, where she will join a high-calibre field including Great Britain’s Ben Maher, Darragh Kenny, Christian Ahlmann, Peder Fredricson and Daniel Deusser.

“I’m so excited about the GC Prague Playoffs,” she said. “Helena [Stormanns, team manager of her GCL squad Miami Celtics] said there are only two chances left [to qualify] and I laughed it off and said ‘no way’ so I really can’t believe it, I’m so excited.”

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The LGCT Final takes place in New York next week (27-29 September) and, going in to the US decider, just one point separates the new LGCT rankings leader, Pieter Devos, and second-placed British rider Ben Maher, who has been making a bold bid all season to defend his 2018 title, but failed to qualify for Saturday’s grand prix.

“I knew I had to be in the top three to beat Ben Maher and go into first place,” said Pieter, who finished second behind Jessica Springsteen in the grand prix riding Claire Z, having produced a lightning-quick clear from first draw. “I gave it my all today.”

Don’t miss the full report from the LGCT show in Saint-Tropez in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 19 September.