British and Irish riders enjoyed a fantastic time in Cannes (9-11 June) as they came home with a clean sweep of victories in all four CSI5* classes at the Longines Global Champions Tour.
Saturday night’s feature class, the grand prix, went to Scott Brash with Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham’s relatively inexperienced Hello Forever. The in-form pair scooped the €99,000 top prize, despite some slightly hair-raising moments along the way as the 10-year-old gelding showed some youthful overconfidence.
“My horse gave everything – he tries his hardest,” said Scott, who also won this class in 2014 on Hello Sanctos. “He can make life a little difficult for me at times, but he really tries when he gets there and he’s a winner. The nice thing is I think the best is still to come from him, so I’m very happy. It’s nice to know it’s in him, and I hope we get more wins in the future.”
Victory came after a pulsating four-rider jump-off in which the last-drawn Scotsman toppled Edwina Tops-Alexander (Lintea Tequila) in to the runner-up spot with Germany’s Daniel Deusser taking third with Equita Van’t Zorgvliet.
“I wanted to set off good between fences one to two in the jump-off, but he’s sometimes just a bit difficult and doesn’t quite lock on to what I’m locking on to,” said Scott. “But it’s getting better and better and he’s a fantastic jumper – when he gets to the fence he really tries for you.”
Earlier in the evening, Ben Maher and Aristo Z took the 1.45m speed class with a 3sec winning margin.
“He loves this show. I think he’s won a class here every year since he was eight years old – he loves the ring or the fresh air,” said Ben. “Aristo’s so fast so I just do what I can do, not what I can’t, and it paid off today.”
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Ireland’s Denis Lynch and All Star 5 headed Friday night’s 1.50m jump-off class.
“It’s my daughter’s birthday today so she said ‘Dad, please try to win something tonight’ so I was under serious pressure to win it!” said Denis. “He’s a fantastic horse and I’m very lucky to have him, so thanks to my owner and long-time sponsor Mr Straumann.”
Torrential downpours, thunder and lightning hit the French Riviera on Thursday night, which caused the postponement of one of the five-star classes, but 20-year-old Bertram Allen shared the spoils in the two-phase curtain-opener in a rare dead heat.
“It was a strange class with a few withdrawals at the end, but my horse dealt with it no problem and it was funny finishing on the same time as David Will – it doesn’t happen too often,” said Bertram.