Flying Dutchman Gerco Triumphs in Grand Prix Thriller at Cannes

[Cannes, FRA] Gerco Schröder hit the Global Champions Tour jackpot on Saturday night beating Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Edwina Tops-Alexander in a top class Grand Prix finale.

The Dutch rider hit the gas early in the jump off on his stallion Eurocommerce London and accelerated to the finish line in 34.22 beating Swedish rider Rolf and the champion horse Casall La Silla.

 Schroder urges Eurocommerce London over the final jump. 

Edwina was last to go and the crowd held their breath as she entered the ring to try for a historic hatrick - winning three GCT Grand Prix in Cannes. The packed grandstand went silent as the Australian golden girl and her star horse Cevo Itôt du Chateau pushed for the triple. They flew over the final Global Champions Tour fence but despite a characteristically brilliant round, Edwina and Itôt finished in 34.89 and third place on the podium.

Tops-Alexander and Ito.

Edwina remains current ranking leader of the GCT 2012 series so far and has led the board since the opening event in Doha, Qatar, in April. It means the GCT series is wide open with several leading riders in contention for the overall championship at the end of the season in November.

All three riders in the Cannes Grand Prix achieved triple clears round a series of seriously challenging courses designed by Uliano Vezzani.

Gerco’s horse had the least experience but the Dutch rider, who scooped €94,050 for first place, said: “I had a feeling he could win. For me he is a very special horse. From when he was young I had a feeling about him.” Gerco bought London aged five and started riding him a year later and said: “This year I wanted to ride him and do a good performance here.”

Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, now fifth on the GCT ranking, said: “I am very, very happy to be second. When you go out first in the jump off, you have to take a risk but today Casall was in great form.” The champion Swedish rider said he will soon have to choose between Casall and Ninja for the London Olympics: “It looks like Casall because I am still waiting for Ninja to get fit again. We will have to make a decision soon as time is running on.”

Goran-Bengtsson and Casall

Edwina had received the biggest cheers of the night as she bid for a third Grand Prix win and the chance to write equestrian history in the jet set resort of Cannes. Speaking about the result she said: “So close but so far. Itôt is in great form and if someone had told me I would be third I would have been very happy. We are all here to try to win. Maybe I could have done one less stride to the last, but I am very happy.”

GCT President Jan Tops said: “I have been here for 30 years and it gets better and better every year. The crowd are really knowledgeable, always cheering and enthusiastic, they love the whole show. The show and the sport have developed so much over the years. Today at lunchtime I was able to watch the amateur riders competing here on my iPhone, which means we are bringing the sport into people’s homes and giving it more exposure all the time, which is what we all want.”

See the jumpoff here: 

 

The GCT trophy in Cannes. All photos ©Sportfot/GCT

Top Ten – Grand Prix de la Ville de Cannes

Rider | Horse | Nation | Round A Faults | Round B Faults | Jumpoff Faults | Jumpoff Time

  1. Gerco Schroder | Eurocommerse London | NED | 0 | 0 | 0 | 34.22
  2. Rolf Goran Bengtsson | Casall La Silla | SWE | 0 | 0 | 0 | 34.38
  3. Edwina Tops-Alexander | Cevo Itot du Chateau | AUS | 0 | 0 | 0 | 34.89
  4. Alvaro de Miranda | AD Rahmannshof’s Bogeno | BRA | 4 | 0
  5. Ben Maher | Tripple X | GBR | 4 | 0
  6. Marco Kutscher | Cornet Obolensky | GER | 4 | 0
  7. Marcus Ehning | Copin van de Broy | GER | 4 | 0
  8. Christian Ahlmann | Taloubet Z | GER | 0 | 4
  9. Tina Fletcher | Hello Sailor | GBR | 0 | 4
  10. Roger Yves Bost | Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois | FRA | 4 | 4