|The Irish national anthem reverberated Saturday evening at Monaco’s Port Hercule. An anthem in honour of Darragh Kenny, the World n°8, who emerged victorious after six jumped-off in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix du Prince de Monaco, the grand finale of the Monaco show taking place for the 15th time. Partnering Idalville d’Esprit, a 13yo, the Irishman successfully rounded off an exceptional weekend. Clear in both rounds of the Global Champions League on Thursday and Saturday, and then jumping a double clear Saturday evening in the Grand Prix, the pair were outstanding over the three days. The Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani had nevertheless concocted a very challenging course (13 obstacles, 16 jumping efforts). Moreover only six couples succeeded in surmounting the first round without any faults. In the jump-off, Olivier Philippaerts firstly took the lead before being overtaken by Austria’s Max Kühner who believed for a time that he’d secured his first victory on the LGCT circuit. But Kenny, before last to go, crushed his hopes.
Already in front half-way round, the Irishman, ranked 8th in the World, successfully pulling off a superb last line to seize victory and succeeds Holland’s Maikel Van der Vleuten. It’s his second victory on the LGCT circuit, following that at Chantilly, in 2019 and he also collects at the same time a “golden ticket”, synonymous with automatic qualification for the GC Prague Playoffs, in November. “It’s amazing ! he exclaimed. My horse jumped incredibly this week-end. I’ve only had him since February. Over the last few weeks, I haven’t had any success in the Grands Prix at Rome and La Baule often just having one down. I told the owner that I just had to ride better and that the horse would jump better”. With Eic Coriolis des Isles, a Selle Français aged just 9 yo, Kühner took second place. “I’ve had this horse for two years, he explained We straight away saw that he could do everything. He learns quickly, he’s got a good attitude, he likes jumping, he doesn’t stress, we’re on the right track”. On the third step of the podium, Olivier Philippaerts, on his loyal H&M Legend of Love, was able to pay a tribute to his family’s horse Parco, who died a few days ago, and who was winner at Monaco in 2006, during the first LGCT season, when ridden by his father Ludo. Faster, but faulting with Theodore Manciais, the American Spencer Smith finished at the foot of the podium, just in front of Edwina Tops-Alexander on Identity Vitseroel, and Alberto Zorzi, Clarina.
On the leaderboard of the overall Longines Global Champions Tour Championship, Edwina Tops-Alexander, fifth on Saturday, made the best move of the evening. She has indeed flown into the lead, three points in front of Sweden’s Peder Fredricson and eleven points in front of Great Britain’s Ben Maher. “I’m very pleased with the outcome of this Grand Prix and the performance of my horse over what was a very difficult course, she declared. This overall lead in the championship is the evening’s bonus. It’s my last competition before the Olympic Games at Tokyo”. Overall championship winner in 2011 and 2012, the Australian, already second at Stockholm, seems to be firmly back at the forefront. The next leg is at Berlin, from the 22nd to the 25th of July