Tétouan, Morocco – October 06, 2019 – The first leg of the Morocco Royal Tour CSI 4*-W came to an end on Sunday at the Royal Guard in Tétouan, featuring the highlight class of the week, the €93,300 Prince Héritier Moulay El Hassan Grand Prix CSI 4*-W, valid for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup – Arab League.
Once again, a packed grandstand and many other spectators watched on standing up on the sidelines as 68 combinations set out, prancing and dancing around Iuliano Vezzani‘s (ITA) 1.60m course.
Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum (UAE) and Cobolt 8 were the first ones to enter the ring. They set the tone for the others, leaving all the rails up, but unfortunately, their clear performance came at the expense of one time-penalty.
As the class went on, the course turned out to be fair for both riders and horses with fences falling down throughout the course, yet some obstacles posed a higher challenge. The double (number 6) was placed along the grandstand, being within related distance from number five. Moreover, as the sun begin to set behind the grandstand, it created a shade in element b, making some horses to be spooked by it.
The double combination (number 8) and the triple with two oxers (number 9) were also important. Acting with precaution, several riders took their horses for a look at the penultimate obstacle too, since the Avis sponsored wall was placed near the exit, distractiong the horses’ attention before the 90-degree turn to jump it, with a few refusals ocurring.
Eventually, seventeen combinations (25%) advanced to the next round, with two of them deciding to withdraw. Keeping true to having riders from five continents, the decisive phase featured competitors from all of them. France led all nations with five combinations in the second round, while Brazil, Italy, Jordan, Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and Austria were all present.
Bruce Goodin (NZL) and Backatorps Danny V led the way, but unfortunately, they had four penalty-points once again and were out of the chase for the jackpot.
Felipe Amaral (BRA) & Premiere Carthoes BZ
Felipe Amaral (BRA) and Premiere Carthoes BZ (Carthago Z x Voltaire) registered the first double clear, timed in 49.08 seconds. However, over a half of the contestants were still to compete. Fellow countryman Bernardo Alves (BRA) and El Torreo de Muze went all out trying to take over the lead, but unfortunately the last obstacle came down. Alain Pierre Mortier (FRA) and Just Do It R suffered the same fate.
Emeric George (FRA) & Chopin des Hayettes
The lead changed when Emeric George (FRA) and Chopin des Hayettes (Radco D’houtveld x Nimmerdor) crossed the finish line flawlessly in 46.65 seconds.
Olivier Perreau (FRA) & GL Events Venizia d’Aiguilly
That didn’t last very long since Olivier Perreau (FRA) and GL Events Venizia d’Aiguilly soon lowered the mark. The Frenchman guided the 10-year-old Selle Français mare (Diamant de Semilly x Quick Star) beautifully throughout the final track before dashing through the timers in 45.14 seconds for the victory.
So it was a one-two for France with Brazil rounding out the top three.
Winner’s Circle – Olivier Perreau (FRA)
Approach in the First Round
“Iuliano Vezzani (ITA) was once again fair to both riders and horses. He takes into account the well being of both of them and my approach was to do the maximum.”
“I saw that Emeric was going very fast when I was waiting at the door, so I tried to do the maximum without pushing my mare too hard and by staying calm, because sometimes I take a little too much risk and make a mistake (laughs). My mare is fast, and I can trust her. She always wants to do the right thing.” This is the fourth Grand Prix that the mare has won, in addition to the Saut Hermès she won last March. These performances really pulled me up. I was afraid it would be a stroke of luck, but my mare has been very regular all year round, I am really very happy. After the Nations Cup in Rabat and the Grand Prix in El Jadida, our next objective will be to get as fit as possible for the World Cup Grand Prix in Lyon,” said the French rider.
The 2019 Morocco Royal Tour CSI 4*-W & CSIO 4* continues this week in Rabat, highlighted by two great classes, the Grand Prix and the FEI Nations Cup CSIO 4*.
For full results, please click here.
Photos: © Agence R&B Presse / Solenn Rispail