Young talent shines on opening day of LGCT St Tropez

Photo: Longines Global Champions Tour

It was an U25 one-two in yesterday’s (1.6.23) 1.45m Prix Bentley at the Athina Onaisis Horse Show as German rider, Philipp Schulze Topphoff piped Brit, Lily Attwood to the post in an epic display of horsepower. In an unforgettable opening day of the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) of St Tropez, Ramatuelle the high-level sport paired with the glamorous hospitality and the vibrant atmosphere of the French Riviera set the stage for a perfect weekend of show jumping. 

Riding his 10 year old mare Carla, Schulze Topphoff stopped the clock in 62.40 sec less than half a second faster than Lily Attwood and Karibou Horta. Kevin Staut collected third place on Cornet’s Velvet RS after being second to start. The first day of action was a true celebration of world-class show jumping, stunning coastal views, and the finest in entertainment.

A delighted Philipp said:

Cala is a super horse, she fights when the bell rings and the course starts, and with other horses maybe we use the first round to show the corners and to show the arena, I think with her it is easy with things like that and we can use the first round to go fast and to try something.I am really looking forward and happy to compete for our team tomorrow.”

Young gun Lily Attwood said: 

Of course, I would have liked to have won but I’m super pleased with how Horton’s feeling. This is a spectacular show and to be placed on the first day sets me up perfectly for the big classes to come.”

The LGCT is renowned for attracting the world’s top riders and horses, and the St Tropez leg of the tour is no exception. With its picturesque backdrop of the iconic French Riviera, the event showcases the perfect blend of equestrian excellence and natural beauty. Spectators witnessed breathtaking displays of skill and precision as riders navigated challenging courses, aiming for glory and valuable ranking points.

Second to go and home hero Kevin Staut set the pace with Cornet’s Velvet RS but the temperature rose again as Lily Attwood knocked Staut off the top spot with her family-owned Horton after she galloped to the last stopping the clock two seconds faster. Crowd favorite Jeanne Sadran had the perfect setup for tomorrow’s GCL with a flawless clear on Dexter de Kerglenn but was off the pace to finish just outside the top 5 today. 

But Attwood’s lead didn’t last long either as fellow U25 rider Philipp Schulze Topphoff managed to shave 0.33 seconds off her time to catapult to the top of the leaderboard. There was heartbreak for last year’s LGCT Grand Prix of St Tropez, Ramatuelle winner and Harley Davidson after collecting 2-time faults over Gregory Bodo’s tactical course. 

Proving he has is back fighting fit from injury, reining LGCT Champion Ben Maher and 9-year-old Enjeu de Grisien cruises round for a foot perfect clear while the U25 continued to shine as Isabella Russekoff and C Vier 2 finished within the top 10 after a flawless clear. The remaining British riders Scott Brash with Hello Mr President and John Whitaker onboard Green Grass collected 4 and 16 penalties respectively, moving them out of the finishing line-up.

The final rider to go and winner of the previous class Emanuele Gaudiano took an inspired turn back to the combination in front of VIP but the pressure from Philipp’s time was too much – forcing an error as a pole fell. So the speedy Philipp Schulze Topphoff would claim the Bentley Prix with Carla, the pair taking the spotlight as they were presented the trophy.

As the sun began to set, the French Riviera truly came alive, casting a magical glow over the festivities. A world-class DJ took the stage, providing a soundtrack perfectly suited to the glamorous ambiance. Attendees revelled in the unique blend of equestrian excellence and vibrant nightlife, creating an atmosphere that is unrivalled in the world of international show jumping. The energy was electric, and the joyous spirit of the event was palpable in every corner of the venue.

We are thrilled to kick off the Longines Global Champions Tour of St Tropez with such an extraordinary opening day,”

said the event director Denis Monticolo. 

The combination of exceptional sport, luxurious hospitality, and the unmistakable allure of the French Riviera sets our event apart. We look forward to the days ahead as we continue to deliver an unparalleled experience to our esteemed guests and showcase the very best of show jumping on this prestigious stage.”

Don’t miss any of the action from tomorrow’s 2023 GCL St Tropez, Ramatuelle edition, and 99th stage of GCL, the ultimate team’s challenge. Time will tell, with the class kicking off at 2:15pm local time tomorrow [Friday 2 June], all the action and in-depth analysis will be streamed on GCTV.

Featured image: Longines Athina Onaisis Horse Show Philipp Schulze Topphoff and Carla. Photo: Longines Global Champions Tour

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