The 2017 edition of the CSIO5* Longines Jumping International of La Baule ended in a blaze of glory on the afternoon of Sunday, May 14, 2017 with a stunning, surprise win by Brazil’s Pedro Muylaert and Prince Royal Z MFS.
Muylaert, who captured hearts this past February when he captured an emotional win in the $130,000 CSI3* Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival, proved that his time spent in the USA was good training ground for a major step up on the outdoor fields of Europe.
By coming 1st in the €200,200 Longines Grand Prix Ville de la Baule, Muylaert topped a day of packed grandstands, top-level sport, and suspense until the very end of the class.
Fifty pairs were on the start list and all of them had the same target: clear the course to qualify for the jump off. But only eight of them managed to do so: Patrice Delaveau with Aquila HDC, Cédric Angot and Saxo de la Cour, Henrik Von Eckermann and Cantinero, Jérôme Guéry and Grand Cru van de Rozenberg, Wout-Jan Van der Schans with Capetown, Maikel Van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Arera C, Simon Delestre with Qlassic Bois Margot, and Muylaert.
First to go in the jump off, France’s Delaveau (winner of the 1990 and 2013 editions) with Aquila HDC signed a new clear round in 45.94 seconds. Many thought that the French, World reserve champion would write his name on the record, since neither Maikel Van der Vleuten, nor Henrik Von Eckermann managed to be faster.
Guéry and Grand Cru van de Rozenberg, who in 2016 won this grand prix in equally stunning style and are hot off their LGCT Grand Prix win last month in Miami Beach, were favorites going into the jumpoff. But when Guéry asked a little too much of his horse on the approach to the second oxer, Grand Cru put on the brakes, leaving Guéry in 8th place.
Delaveau’s time held through the jumpoff, until Muylaert entered and shaved enough time to top him in 45.39 seconds. France’s Simon Delestre was last to go in the jumpoff and certainly had the support of the crowd behind him to go for the win, but a rail down at the second to last fence meant he ended his day in 5th place.
Patrice Delaveau and Aquila HDC had to do with 2nd position, but grabbed the Trophée RMC as the best pair in the CSIO5* of France. Maikel Van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Arera C place 3rd.
See the complete results list here.