Grimaud, Saint Tropez, France – May 01, 2021 – The scenario of the first Hubside Jumping Spring Tour CSI 4* Grand Prix of 2021 was ideal. The sun shining again over the ring, with forty-one combinations competing in this 1.55m €100,000 Hubside Grand Prix CSI 4* and a final with 10 jump-off riders: the French course designer Cédric Longis (FRA) was to be commended to have successfully finished up with the 25% of clear rounds expected. Although two lady riders finished on the podium, in the end it was Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (ESP) who was the winner, riding Legend, his ten-year-old gelding.
In this first round of this first 4* Grand Prix of the year in Grimaud, where riders had poles down here and there over the course, twelve combinations managed to jump the thirteen fences and sixteen jumping efforts clear. Daniel Deusser (GER), eagerly awaited with his Killer Queen VDM, missed going through to the jump-off, finishing ten hundredths of a second over the time allowed, resulting in a time fault. In the same way, despite jumping a perfect round with Cordial, young Mégane Moissonnier (FRA), also endedup with a time fault as she finished thirty-seven hundredths of a second over the time allowed.
So the jump-off featured ten combinations representing not less than six different nations. First to go, France’s Grégory Cottard (FRA), already the winner of a class at the beginning of the week, finished his jump-off round at top speed with Bibici. However, a pole down on the last fence put them into sixth place despite a fast time of 41.13 seconds. After him, Turkey’s Derin Demirsoy (TUR) and Belgium’s François Mathy Jr (BEL), both had a pole down on the first element of the double. Mathieu Bilot (FRA), who is known for taking risks with Quel Filou 13, saw his hopes of a victory disappear on the second fence of the jump-off andfinished at a less frantic pace, in a time of 44.52 seconds, putting him into tenth place.
As for Jessica Springsteen (USA), the first lady rider to go in the jump-off, she had one down on the second last fence with RMF Tinkerbell, so half way through the jump-off, no combination had managed to be double clear. But it rapidly became a done deal when Niels Bruynseels (BEL) and his gelding Nabeau van cet Migroveld Z came into the ring. They finished in a time of 46.05 seconds and went into the lead, but only for a few seconds.
Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (ESP), the only Spanish rider in this Grand Prix, finished more than four seconds faster than the Belgian rider. The Spaniard and the 10-year-old chestnut Belgian Warmblood gelding (Ogano Sitte x Nabab de Reve) put on two impecable rounds, securing the victory by completing their flawless jump-off performance in 41.93 seconds.
Although Kevin Staut (FRA) had one down on the second oxer on the track, he had the fastest jump-off round, in 40.46 seconds and finished in fifth place overall. Only the two lady riders left to go could still hope to unseat the Spanish rider. Despite taking out a stride on the last line, Pénélope Leprevost (FRA) wasn’t able to do better, finishing second. The French superstar rode GFE Excalibur de La Tour Vidal (Ugano Sitte x Ogano Sitte) towards a penalty-free effort in 43.20 seconds during the tiebreaker.
The third spot on the podium was claimed by another famous female equestrian, known around the world, Luciana Diniz (POR). The brazilian native and former top-10 rider in the world, who now defends the colors of Portugal, had two brilliant runs too. She teamed up with Conchento PS (Conthargos x Chacco-Blue), rounding out the top three with a final time of 43.86 seconds.
So once again, the lady riders came close to winning at the Hubside Spring Tour. Perhaps they’ll succeed in beating these gentlemen next week on the French Riviera’s first CSI5* of the year? All will be revealed from Thursday onwards when competition resumes.
Winner’s Circle – Eduardo Álvarez Aznar (ESP)
“This was Legend’s first 4* Grand Prix, so I couldn’t be more pleased today! He jumped really well in the first round. I knew there were still some very fast combinations after me in the jump-off so I took a lot of risks and they paid off. I’m really delighted and I would like to thank my groom for the great job that he has done.”
Pénélope Leprevost (FRA)
“It was a fabulous day for us! I’m proud of Edenwho rode really well in her 2* Grand Prix and who was amongst the best riders at the prize givingceremony. It was an important day for her! As for the 4* Grand Prix, I’m delighted with Excalibur. He’s juststarted competing again after a break this winter and a few rounds at the Sunshine Tour at the beginningof the year. It was his first show here and he’s in great form! I took risks on the last line to take out astride, which surprised him a bit but he jumped really well! I don’t think that we could have really goneany faster in this jump-off so I’m really thrilled by this second place!”
Luciana Diniz (POR)
“Today was my first Grand Prix with Conchento PS so I’mpleased to be third, and even more so as the owners are in Saint-Tropez and were here today! I was lastto go in the jump-off, so I should have gone faster, but I wasn’t able to maintain the pace that a lastjump-off rider should normally have. Conchento is still young and has never gone fast in a jump-off. Lastweek I made a silly mistake in the jump-off in Den Bosch and maybe that was still at the back of mymind. Today I tried to do better and I am satisfied with my third place.”
Final Results – €100,000 Hubside Grand Prix CSI 4*
1) Eduardo Álvarez a Aznar (ESP) & Legend – 0 / 0 – 41.93
2) Pénélope Leprevost (FRA) & GFE Excalibur de La Tour Vidal – 0 / 0 – 43.20
3) Luciana Diniz (POR) & Conchento PS – 0 / 0 – 43.86
Source: Press Release (edited) by Daniel Koroloff / Blizko Communication for Hubside Jumping
Photos: © Hubside Jumping / Marco Villanti / Filippo Gabutti