French winner as showjumping tour returns to Europe

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Penelope Leprevost and Flora de Mariposa jumped to victory in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Antwerp at the weekend. 
Penelope Leprevost and Flora de Mariposa jumped to victory in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Antwerp at the weekend. © LGCT / Stefano Grasso

French showjumper Penelope Leprevost and her fiery chestnut mare Flora de Mariposa stole the show following a nail-biting jump-off for the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Antwerp at the weekend.

Leprevost declared her horse “just amazing” after scooping first place in the Grand Prix against a stellar field. Many of the top horses in the world had their first serious outing of the season, with Casall ASK, Flora de Mariposa and Hermes Ryan all on incredible form in their first CSI5* show and taking the podium positions.

Christian Ahlmann (GER) stretched his overall lead in the championship ahead of the next leg of the global circuit which takes place in Shanghai, China this weekend.

The Grand Prix of Antwerp was watched by thousands of spectators and guests at the show ground next to the mighty River Scheldt where some of the top equine athletes in the world were on parade. The atmosphere in the ‘diamond city’ sparkled all evening as the impressively high calibre of sport added to the excitement of the event. Families were able to get up close with the world’s leading riders as they descended on Belgium for the 5* extravaganza of the Longines Global Champions Tour.

Of the 45 starters over the Luc Musette course, 18 went through to the next round, and just five went on to the jump-off. Leprovost looked determined from the outset, galloping to the last in a display of agility and skill. Next up was Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) and her big striding horse, Unbelievable. Despite their valiant efforts, they were three seconds off Leprovost’s time and unable to do more.

Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Casall Ask gave it their all, but took less risks and crossed the line in 34.59s. Next came Lauren Hough (USA) and Ohlala, but a pole down meant they wouldn’t make the podium this time.

Last to go was World Number 1, and former LGCT Grand Prix of Antwerp winner, Simon Delestre with Ryan. The pair were fast, with the audience spell bound until the last fence where whoops and cheers rang out as they crossed the line. Despite the impressive performance, the French rider finished in 33.74s, just tenths of a second from his compatriot Penelope.

It was a sensational third round of the 2016 Longines Global Champions Tour season, with ranking leader Christian Ahlmann (GER) maintaining his lead and now sitting on 97 points. John Whitaker (GBR) remains in second place on 85 points, with Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA) shooting up the ranking to take third with 65 points.

 

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