Longines Global Champions Tour - Longines Paris Eiffel Jumping - Victory to familiar Belgian-Australian duo!

Edward Levy & Starlette de la Roque Edward Levy & Starlette de la Roque Photo by ©Sportfot

It was a magnificent first day at the Longines Paris Eiffel Jumping: a glowing sun, a shopping village teeming with people who congregated around the stands and warm up arena. The horses were unbothered by the heat, barely breaking a sweat. After all, these equine are top athletes who have been physically prepared with the unmatched expertise of their globally renowned riders. Together they offer a magnificent show of sport.

It was a brilliant beginning to the day, where this morning’s 5* saw a fitting French victory in the Prix Figaro (1.45m) for this Parisian venue with young rider Edward Levy and his faithful mare Starlette de la Roque. The pair bested international circuit star Swedish Malin Baryard-Johnsson with H&M Seconde Chance by 26 hundredths of a second.

The highlight of the day was the first round of the Global Champions League: a team event which traverses the world with 20 legs and three continents, whose GC Playoffs will take place in Prague in the O2 Arena from November 21st to the 24th. The teams are composed of two riders drawn from a tank of six. Each team represents one of the venue cities on the circuit. Like football, there is opportunity to trade riders from one team to another. Thus, mid-season, Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann joined the Scandinavian Vikings representing Stockholm. The Champ de Mars home team, the Paris Panthers, featured top-performing Egyptian athlete Nayel Nassar and the equally performing Gregory Wathelet of Belgium.

But Friday, to win this first round, it took two riders to go clear and unluckily the Egyptian fell short! Three teams were able to put forth a double clear showing: the Prague Lions, the Miami Celtics and the Saint-Tropez Pirates who had the fastest time with Australia's Edwina Tops-Alexander and Belgium's Pieter Devos.

"It was a well-built test (by the French Gregory Bodo, ed)," said Devos, "It wasn't too big and it didn't ask for too much effort. It was a course which was quite technical and delicate with little opportunities for faults everywhere. It is true that it was hot, but the course designer took this into account and the track did not exhaust the horses."

This provisional victory (because there is a second round still to come tomorrow) is also a result of the complementary nature of Devos and Tops-Alexander as riders, which has developed over the course of two seasons.

"This is our second season together and we have already done well with Edwina. We know each other, and it's important because after all it is a team event. We talk to each other. We consult each other. She started with the faultless round and that always puts a bit of pressure because it's up to me not to make a mistake, but I have been quite consistent throughout the season”. A win in the Global Champions League is also a story of strategy. Tomorrow the riders can change horses: “Edwina will use the same mare, Veronese Teamjoy. I will use Espoir, and given the heat, I will save Claire Z for the big test,” Devos said.

The second round of the Global Champions League will also act as a qualifier for the individual Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix tomorrow night. The individual victory for this Massimo Dutti class this afternoon went to the Irishmen who is enjoying the prime of his career—Darragh Kenny with his mount Christos. It is a first big class where the French have been rather subdued. Perhaps it will be in the second round tomorrow at 3:40 p.m. that they will awaken in force.

Find all the information on www.pariseiffeljumping.com
Find all the results on www.longinestiming.com

By LGCT-LPEJ Press Release