Simon Delestre (FRA) made it two-in-a-row with an extraordinary victory partnering his 12-year-old chestnut gelding Chesall Zimequest in the Franco Tucci Jump-Off at Jumping Verona this evening. In a nail-biting second round the French pair were third to go, and the crowd could only hold their breath as it seemed they had put the result beyond doubt when racing through the timers in 42.24 seconds. However it was edge-of-the-seat stuff as the last three contenders challenged them with everything they had.
Italian course designer, Uliano Vezzani, increased the degree of difficulty in this class and only six qualified for the second round. Austria’s Max Kuhner led the way against the clock but picked up a time fault with Alfa Jordan, so when The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten jumped clear with Salomon he posted the first target in 45.66 seconds. But Delestre’s genius for riding at speed is second to none, and Chesall was like a cruise missile as the daring duo weaved their way around the course to shave more than three seconds off that.
It wasn’t the quickest time however, yesterday’s winners Niels Bruynseels and Gancia de Muze roaring through the finish in 41.75 seconds but leaving the oxer, three from home, on the floor for four faults. Then Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat set hearts fluttering with a super-tight turnback to the second fence which, however, didn’t pay off when Cayetana hit the next. Last in, the 2014 FEI World Cup™ Jumping champions Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Cornet d’Amour, tried the same route, but they also paid the price with a fence down so it was time for Delestre to start celebrating once again.
“Chesall made a fantastic job today like he can do!” the Frenchman said. “He is amazing, he is one of the most winning horses in 5-Stars for the last two years, he was second here last year in the World Cup Grand Prix and he won the Grand Prix in Rome a few months ago. He has had so many wins that I can’t tell you, but he is really a special horse and it’s something special to ride him!” he said.
Talking about his decision to go the longer route to the second fence he explained, “Chesall has a big gallop, for him it was safer because when I ask him to cut a bit too short he can sometimes be a little bit scared, so this was more secure for him. But he has a really huge canter so I can keep going and I can take the fence with the first distance because he is so careful so I really don’t lose time when I go the longer way around!”.
Source: Press Release by Jumping Verona
Photos: Jumping Verona / Stefano Grasso
Categories: CSI 5*