Scott Brash (GBR) won the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix Du Prince De Monaco, sponsored by HSBC Private Bank (Monaco) SA in spectacular style with Hello M'Lady (Indoctro x Baloubet du Rouet) after an incredible jump-off featuring many of the very best horses and riders in the world. His victory catapulted him up the championship ranking into second place, and in touching distance of the leadership going into the eighth leg of the Tour in Paris next week. John Whitaker (GBR) came a close second with his effortlessly agile Argento (Arko III x Gasper), the bay stallion galloping to the fences and giving everything in front of the packed grandstands. Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA) kept up his streak of success, riding Admara 2 (Padinus x Murano) home in third place, a fantastic achievement after his earlier win in the Longines Global Champions Tour of Monaco.
The first round saw 15 riders jump clear, with three more making up the top 18 who would test the new course. Jessica Springsteen (USA) set the pace early on with a beautifully balanced clear ride with her bay 14 year old mare Lisona (Obos Quality x Porsch), showcasing both talent and class as she completed the fast course. Guided by her new trainer, Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), Jessica won through the jump-off and rode a triple clear, finishing in 5th place - a sensational achievement for the young American.
As night fell, nine riders went clear in the second phase of the competition and through to the jump-off. Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) set the bar high early on, after a phenomenal round with Vienna Olympic (Cassini I x Contender) to cross the finish line in 29.96 seconds. He was just beaten by John Whitaker as his bay stallion responded to the electric atmosphere and managed to shave off precious tenths of a second, coming home in 28.83 seconds. Third last to go, Scott Brash took to the course, riding Hello M'Lady with fantastic pace and agility to take further tenths of a second off John's time, finishing clear at 28.45. Emauele Gaudiano made a valiant attempt to better the time, but slotted in to third place at 28.90 seconds.
The Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Monaco was the first win for the nine year old mare Hello M'Lady, who's athletic ability shone during this intense battle, earning her place as a strong back up to Hello Sanctos, Scott's number one ride. The co-owners of Scott's horses, Lord and Lady Harris, were in attendance to witness their super mare showcase her skills under Scott's careful guidance.
Scott has now closed the gap to just 36 points behind ranking leader Luciana Diniz (POR) who now has 181 points. Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) is now in third place on 128 points, and Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) moves up to 4th with 123 points. Next week the Tour moves to Paris, where the top riders in the world will descend on the incredible venue at the Eiffel Tower; as the world's premier show jumping circuit passes the halfway stage.
At the press conference after the class Scott Brash said of his winning mare: "It’s good to have a horse who can take the pressure off Sanctos. She’s a phenomenal horse, she’s young, she’s only nine, so she’s inexperienced and it’s only the third or fourth time I have pushed her against the clock and she’s a fantastic mare and I’m privileged to be riding her. Whenever my owners come I seem to win so they must be my lucky mascots, they need to come more often!”
"There’s still a long way to go, I’m going to take one leg at a time and it’s great to be in this position at this stage, but there’s still a lot of jumping to go so a lot will change round yet."
Jan Tops, President and Founder of the Longines Global Champions Tour: "Again, for the seventh time this year, especially in this magic place, in Monaco, it’s a really special atmosphere, different than any other. Scott, who is looking again to beat Luciana, who has a very narrow margin in the title race at the moment, no-one has done three wins in a row and I know Scott wants to do this, he told me. We have to thank not only the sponsors like Longines and HSBC, I think it’s important the recognition we have to give to Monaco for the support we have from the government and everybody. It’s exceptional what we can do here and build this in eight days, so thank you very much."
John Whitaker said about his second place: "I think I just need more experience! No, it’s been a very good week actually, Argento is getting better and better, touch wood, and I’ve had a great week - I don’t think I’ve had a fence down. Ornellaia jumped really good, she won yesterday. Argento today, he jumped unbelievably and I was just a little bit cautious to the last fence, that’s where Scott caught me, but I can’t complain, I’m in there, at my age it’s good.
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