Ukranian rider Cassio Rivetti clinched victory in the opening CSI 5*competition today despite a fast challenge from current GCT champion Edwina Tops-Alexander.
Cassio rode a deceptively quick round on his 12-year-old bay stallion Böckmanns Lazio finishing in a winning time of 57.19. The stallion’s big stride paid dividends on the course designed by Frank Rothenberger and after the prize giving Cassio said: “He jumped a really good round. He has had some experience here before and I believe that helped as he really liked this speed class.”
World No 1 female rider Edwina sped into second place on her consistently high performing mare Mel d’Argences in a time of 57.48 just a fraction behind Cassio. Edwina, the first GCT euro millionaire, had an impressive start to the 2012 GCT series by winning the opening Grand Prix of 2012 in Doha, Qatar, last month.
The great names in show jumping from around the world were out in force for the first 5* international class.
The Tour, with the richest prize money in the sport of show jumping, kicked off in bright sunshine at the Oliva Nova Equestrian Centre on the southern tip of the province of Valencia.
The immaculate sand arena was described as “impressive” by riders as they walked the course.
The venue, new to the GCT circuit this year, is sandwiched between the wide sandy beaches on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and rugged mountains in the southern tip of the province of Valencia.
American rider Richard Spooner on Billy Bianca was fast into the Banco Sabadell double combination and finished in 57.63 clinching third place.
Eric Lamaze shifted into high gear from the start on his chestnut mare Coriana van Kapscheut. The Canadian rider, who recently moved to a new base in Belgium, finished in fourth place on 58.45.
There was a strong turnout of Spanish riders, including show jumping star Sergio Alvarez Moya. Sergio started fast but his horse Kisby added a stride at one of the early verticals landing him four faults.
Marta Ortega Perez, riding in her home country, executed a fluent clear round with one time penalty on Cerrano von Hof CH.
And Alberto Marquez Galobardes put in a strong early clear on 63.63 on Quintonine du Pas and coming in 10th position.
Some of the leading riders, like Kevin Staut, Alvaro de Miranda and Marcus Ehning, took advantage of the early class to test out their newer and younger horses. As the GCT series progresses regular viewers and followers of the Tour’s livestreaming will see these horses develop and pick up top-level experience throughout the year.
Other riders like Christian Ahlmann and Marco Kutscher took the opportunity to warm up their top Grand Prix horses ahead of the main Grand Prix competition on Saturday evening.
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