She was so close, and yet it did not work out: Edwina Tops-Alexander was prevented from winning the GCT of Cannes for the third time in a row by two men who were both faster than her tonight: the world's n°1, Swedish Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and the hardworking Dutchman Gerco Schröder, who is happy about his second victory in the Global Champions Tour with Eurocommerce London.
François Bourey, the president of the Jumping could not hide his thoughts: “It would have been fantastic, though, to see Edwina make it.” Jan Tops, director of the circuit and husband of the audience's darling, thought that “The scenario was ideal.” The beautiful Australian made the audience hold its breath, as she kept the possibility to win up until the very last second by getting into the jump-off. “Yes, so close and yet so far”, she philosophized. Her and her little Itôt placed third, which is an amazing result in this Grand Prix. Nevertheless, the hero of tonight is Dutch and his name is Gerco Schröder, also a regular on the highest steps of the podium, even though he was not the obvious winner out of the three riders in the jump-off: “No, I did not feel like I was able to do it after I had seen Ralf's course. I was already amazed by the two super-rounds that London had just completed.” But Gerco was the one out of three finalists who was able to take a higher risk without losing as much and thus promptly let his chestnut into the battle, taking obstacles at such sharp angles that it seemed almost impossible. The outcome were 16 hundredths of a second that he was able to save on time and that made the difference in the end. “I went very fast indeed”, commented Bengtsson “but without crazy manoeuvres. Casall was not in his best shape from the beginning of the competition. It thus ends very well”, concluded the Swede who also confirmed that Casall will be the horse he will be riding at the Olympic Games in London. And for London? “Nothing has been decided yet”, said Schröder.
And the French riders? We shall forget them for tonight. After having raised hopes with four qualifications for the second round, the story ended with a 10th place for Roger-Yves Bost (Myrtille Paulois), the best French performance in this Grand Prix in Cannes. We shall remember the audience of Cannes, though, more fervent than ever, filling the tribunes of the Hespérides stadium since early afternoon. It confirms one more time that this magnificent sport belongs to the patrimony of Cannes.
Pascal Renauldon (R&B Presse)