CSI 5* : Prix du Grand Palais / Class 1 : Pius Schwizer gets off to a winning start

CSI 5* : Prix du Grand Palais / Class 1 : Pius Schwizer gets off to a winning start

In this first class of the CSI 5* competition (at 1.45m), the Swiss rider Pius Schwizer got off to a winning start on his 10-year-old gelding Leonard de la Ferme. The world number 24 rode the fastest of the 14 clear rounds, finishing with a time of 26’’48, less than a second ahead of the world championship silver medallist Patrice Delaveau, riding Carijno*HDC (27’’13).

“I felt really great,” said Pius Schwizer. “Leonard de la Ferme is a horse that is naturally fast over the ground and a very good jumper. He was a little nervous in the arena, but very obedient. I’m really happy! Now, the aim is to qualify for the class on Saturday, the Saut Hermès, with my second horse, Chellatus.”

The British rider Laura Renwick (37th in the world rankings) was the third to finish under 28 seconds on MHS Washington. On a course designed by the renowned German course-designer Franck Rothenberger, she finished ahead of one of the Hermès partner riders, the Swiss rider Romain Duguet on Twentytwo des Biches, who won the Grand Prix in 2015.

Talents Hermès / Class 2 : Les Talents Hermès get underway

In parallel with the CSI 5*, the Saut Hermès opens the stage of the Grand Palais’ arena up to young up-and-coming international riders during “Les Talents Hermès” classes. Today, twenty riders aged under 25 and representing ten countries rode their first class of the weekend: a course with 1.40m obstacles over two phases.

The Dutch rider Charlotte Verhagen won this opening class with flying colours on her 11-year-old gelding Abache HL. Having already competed last year, they were the only couple to ride a perfect round under 30 seconds, posting a time of 27’’53. Neither the American rider Catherine Pasmore on Z Canta, (clear round in 30’’59) nor Alexander Potthoff on Quinara 27 (clear round in 31’’39) came close to the performance of the young 23-year-old Dutch rider. “It was an excellent course for the first day of competition,” said Charlotte Verhagen. “It wasn’t too big. I have a great horse, who was really comfortable in the arena. He was with me last year, so he knows the competition already. Riding under the glass nave is just amazing. It really is magnificent!”

The fourth and final couple with a clear round in a time of 35’’01 was Eoin McMahon on Sally 643, who just missed out on the podium.

Representing France in their first Talents Hermès, Camille Condé Ferreira, the European Champion riding Pirole de la Chatre, and Titouan Schumacher on Océane de Nantuel finished 13th and 15th respectively with one fault each.

Prix Hermès Sellier / Class 3 :Bertram Allen makes it two in a row !

The Prix Hermès Sellier, a speed class with 1.50m obstacles, rounded off the first day of the Saut Hermès in style at the Grand Palais. Cheered on by a large crowd, Bertram Allen posted the fastest time in 50’’71. Wearing number 3 and riding his stallion Romanov, the 20-year-old young Irish star was untouchable. None of the other 33 riders managed to better his time, not even the reigning European and World Champion Jeroen Dubbeldam. Riding Carusso LS La Silla for the first time in CSI 5*, the Dutch rider crossed the finish line in 52’’75, just one tenth of a second ahead of Jessica Mendoza who took the last place on the podium. The 19-year-old British rider, who took part in the Talents Hermès last year, was riding her mare Spirit T.

“I’m over the moon,” said Bertram Allen. “I won this class last year with Romanov, so it looks like he enjoys the Saut Hermès! He is 18 now, but he is still performing really well. I hope he’ll but in the same kind of form for the Grand Prix Hermès on Sunday. I’m using my other horse, Quiet Easy 4, for the mixed-pairs class tomorrow evening: the Saut Hermès.”

Indeed, the Prix Hermès Sellier is a qualifying class for Saturday’s Saut Hermès (scheduled for 4.30pm) which is contested by mixed pairs made up of the ten best male and ten best female riders over the first day. Since there were only 10 female riders in the Prix Hermès Sellier on Friday, they are all qualified for Saturday’s event. Now, we just have to wait for the draw to discover who their partners will be!

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