Rabat, Morocco – October 13, 2023 – In Rabat, the Grand Prix is held on Friday, as Sunday is devoted to the Nations’ Cup (where eight teams will compete). This year’s Grand Prix was (almost) exclusively for women, with three of them in the top five!.
For this Grand Prix, Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani (ITA) has set up a course that is… tough. Thirteen obstacles, triple and double, of course, and the maximum height of 1.55m were generously reached, leaving only five clear rounds among the thirty-eight riders at the start. It wasn’t until the break and the twentieth starter that the first clear round went to Ireland’s Christopher Megahey (IRL) on Doriano de Blondel … but he was unable to repeat this performance in the decisive second round, where only five riders with clear rounds in the first rounde were in with a chance of victory.
Three of them were women: Belgian rider Marine Scauflaire (BEL), French rider Jeanne Sadran (FRA) and Swiss rider Barbara Schnieper (SUI).
The Belgian rider was the first of the three to set off after a double clear from Italy’s Roberto Previtali (ITA) aboard Conthargo-Blue, and achieved the winning result with Cuba Libre de Nevada Z.
Jeanne Sadran (FRA) also kept her score clean with Kosmo Van Hof Ter Boone, but was slower and finished third, while Barbara Schnieper (SU), always a top performer on the MRT, was faster with Escoffier, but at the cost of a fault that kept her off the podium.
At just 30 years of age, Marine Scauflaire, competing in her first MRT, is slowly but surely making her way to the top, and this first-ever victory in a 4* Grand Prix is part of her journey to the top. It’s a victory Marine hadn’t really expected with a horse that’s still relatively young:
“Cuba Libre de Nevada Z has been moving in the right direction for a few months now, but I didn’t expect him to win here. But every time, for several months now, he’s been there. I set off in this second round with the sole aim of getting a clear round, but not to win, as Cuba Libre is still relatively ‘green’ and not everything is yet perfect… but the game has turned in our favor today”.
A fine reward for her work as a trainer, as Marine herself has been educating this gelding since he was 5 years old, and he still belongs to his breeder, Karel Van Damme: “He was a very late bloomer, as he didn’t start stringing together clear rounds until he was 7, something he was almost incapable of doing before. He was injured when he was 8, so this is the first year he’s competing in big classes, and today was his first 4* Grand Prix. And I’m convinced that he has the means and the qualities to go one step further”. The Olympic Games? “You just have to keep working hard, set reasonable goals and whatever happens, happens”. A serious and philosophic rider who will be back with her formidable bay on Sunday in the Nations Cup as part of the Belgian team.
Eight nations will be taking part in this Nations’ Cup in Morocco, with the following draw: Spain – France – Switzerland – Morocco – Ireland – Belgium – Ukraine.
Final Results – €60,000 Prix SAR La Princesse Lalla Amina – World Cup Grand Prix CSI 4*-W
1) Marine Scauflaire (BEL) & Cuba Libre de Nevada Z – 0 / 0 – 41.53
2) Roberto Previtali (ITA) & Conthargo-Blue – 0 / 0 – 41.69
3) Jeanne Sadran (FRA) & Kosmo Van Hof Ter Boone – 0 / 0 – 42.09
Source: Press Release from Agence R&B Presse for Morocco Royal Tour
Photos: © R&B Presse / Adèle Renauldon