Under the Friday night lights of the beautiful Cannes arena, home rider Pénélope Leprevost and Nice Stephanie were just too fast for their fellow competitors in the Prix Louis Julian & Fils Joaillier. The leading French lady rider raced away with the win in a lightening time of 61.93s. Second place went to the British pair World No1 and No2, Scott Brash with Hello Annie (62.62s) and Ben Maher with Diva II (63.74s).
VIPs looked on from the luxurious platform level, including Patti and Bruce Springsteen, Charlotte Casiraghi and Guillaume Canet. As the heat of the day mellowed into a perfect evening, the stars of tomorrow’s Longines Global Champions Tour of Cannes Grand Prix went up against the clock in front of a full house of lively and vocal spectators.
Uliano Vezzani’s course was once again deceptively tricky. The first half allowed riders to attack the fences and move up the gears, while the second half, with it’s wider, square oxers and a short double of uprights, demanded more respect. Many big names lowered more than one rail, leaving just 12 of the 52 starters on a zero score when the class came to a close.
The home crowd cheered their hearts out as Leprevost led the parade in for the prize giving – a win for France in tomorrow’s Grand Prix would most certainly raise the roof. The French riders will be gunning for victory when the first round of the Cannes Grand Prix gets underway at 7pm, but the British No1 and 2 are also in cracking form in Cannes, so we may well see a French-British podium when the event comes to a close tomorrow night.