Luck of the Irish as Richard Howley beats Maher in opening day at LGCT of Cannes

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Richard Howley and Petitfour vd Wareslage _

Richard Howley aboard Petitfour vd Wareslage (c) LGCT

Opening the first day of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Cannes in style, late to go of Richard Howley and Petitfour vd Wareslage claimed the win in the 1.45m GCTV Speed Class.

Set against the stunning backdrop of the French Riviera, the first day of competition was a spectacular showcase, bringing together the world’s top riders, passionate fans filling the grandstands, and an atmosphere of pure elegance.

After maintaining the lead for the majority of the class, Ben Maher and Ginger-Blue were beaten at the last hurdle when Richard Howley aboard Petitfour vd Wareslage, shaved a tenth of a second off 57.83 time to beat. Emanuele Gaudiano set hearts racing as he and Vasco 118 flew around the course, stopping the clock at 58.18 seconds to secure third place as the only other combination to finish sub 60 seconds.

Howley spoke to GCTV about his game plan heading into the ring tonight. He said, “I planned on the round, but heading in to beat Ben [Maher] always adds the pressure. Obviously he is a world class rider, so it’s an honour to take the win over him today.”

With a enthusiastic crowd behind each stride taken tonight, Howley commented on the support felt around the grounds, “Great atmosphere, great bit of sport tonight – it’’s great to come to these venues and put on a show – it’s great fun for all of us.”

The opening day of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Cannes kicked off the festivities with a burst of excitement and glamour. Show jumping aficionados were treated to heart-stopping rounds at lightning-fast times during the fierce competition and day 1 of the historic event.

Uliano Vezzani’s course spanned the full length of the square sand arena, with a straightforward but technical 1.45m course. As well as floodlights and dancing shadows to contend with, wide range of combinations and tight turns challenged the very best combinations.

As the excitement unfolded, spectators and viewers were treated to spectacular entertainment from the get-go as 49 combinations tackled the track only metres from the famous bay of Cannes. In a display of what is to come for the weekend ahead, stalwarts of the show jumping world such as Harrie Smolders, Edwina Tops-Alexander, Jur Vrieling, Denis Lynch, Henrik Von Eckermann and Christian Kukuk took up the challenge against some of the best young riders in the world. Johan-Sebastian Gulliksen, Carlos Hank Guerreiro, Giacomo Casadei, Ioli Mytilineou and Gilles Thomas, just to name a few impressed as they navigated the tough track.

Nicola Philippaerts and Derby de Riverland set an early lead taking all the inside turns but left the door open for the rest of the field after not taking a stride out to the last. There was hope of a home win as Mathieu Billot riding Chacceldi kept all the fences up, but wasn’t fast enough, having to settle for 6th place overall. There was drama as John Whitaker and Sharid took too much of a risk to the third to last fence after being up on the time, forcing him to have to circle back around to it.

As for tomorrow, Howley spoke of his anticipation for GCL Round 1 tomorrow: “I am looking forward to a good bit of sport tomorrow for the team event, hopefully we can line out and get the job done tomorrow for the team.”

Tomorrow GCL of Cannes will kick off at 17:15 local time. All the action will be streamed live via GCTV, available on the www.gctv.gcglobalchampions.com website or app.

FULL RESULTS

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