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Longines Global Champions Tour – Monte-Carlo International Jumping 2024: Opening Day Recap

Simon Delestre Dominates the Arena

The 2024 edition of the Longines Global Champions Tour – Monte-Carlo International Jumping kicked off in spectacular fashion on Thursday, drawing top riders from around the world to the picturesque Port Hercule. As the tenth stop on the prestigious international circuit, anticipation was high for the thrilling competitions ahead, culminating in the €1.5 million Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix du Prince de Monaco on Saturday evening.

Against the stunning backdrop of Riviera sunshine and luxury yachts, the compact yet challenging course saw some of the world’s finest horse-rider combinations showcase their skills. It was a day for riders to reacquaint themselves with the unique track layout and set the stage for what promises to be an intense competition over the next two days.

In the highlight event of the day, the Prix Fédération Équestre de la Principauté de Monaco (1.45m, against the clock), French rider Simon Delestre delivered a masterful performance aboard Olga van de Kruishoeve. The 10-year-old BWP mare, known for her speed and agility, soared over the course designed by Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani. “Olga is incredibly quick,” said the world number 7. “She’s very competitive, allowing me to take tight turns and gain valuable time at each jump. Despite her size, she’s remarkably nimble. We take each competition step by step, but my horses are in great form. We had a strong showing last week in Stockholm, and I hope to replicate that success here, although it’s always a tough field.”

Olympic team champion Roger-Yves Bost, renowned for his speed, initially led the charge with Ballerine du Vilpion, a 13-year-old Selle Français mare, but settled for second place, trailing his compatriot by nearly three seconds. American rider Jessica Springsteen, riding Naomi van het Keizershof, rounded out the top three. French rider Inès Joly impressed with a solid fourth-place finish aboard Imposant van de Renger, marking a significant achievement at this level of competition.

Earlier in the day, Swiss rider Jane Richard set a blistering pace in the 1.40m two-phase competition aboard her 13-year-old gelding, Fouego de la Closière, clocking an impressive time of 25.09 seconds. Roger-Yves Bost came close but fell short by just thirty hundredths of a second. “Fouego was exceptional,” exclaimed Jane Richard. “Starting a five-star event like this is fantastic. The track may be small, but returning to Monaco each year is always special.”

Supporting AMADE Association

The evening’s highlight was the Longines Pro-Am Cup, a popular event that brought together international riders and young talents in a friendly yet competitive atmosphere. Initiated and sponsored by Ms. Charlotte Casiraghi in 2010, the event supports the AMADE association, founded by Princess Grace of Monaco in 1963 and now led by H.S.H. Princess of Hanover. AMADE focuses on child protection and development globally.

A generous donation of €27,000 was presented by Diane Fissore, president of the competition and the Equestrian Federation of the Principality of Monaco, following the event. Sportingly, the duo of young Italian Eleonora Sanna and French rider Inès Joly, representing Fayat Monaco, claimed victory. They were closely followed by Monégasque Juliette Noghes and Felipe Coutinho Mendonca Nagata for AMADE, and Greek rider Milena-Maria Pappa and Italian Emanuele Gaudiano for CTM.

CSI2 Highlights*

The day began with national and CSI 2* competitions. At 1.40m, British rider Skye Higgin excelled with her 9-year-old mare, Fly for You. In the 1.25m event, Brazilian rider Felipe Coutinho Mendonca Nagata secured victory aboard Monseigneur. British rider Isabella Beecroft-Luckett continued her success in CSI 2* events, triumphing at 1.15m with her mare, Dahar.

Friday’s Anticipated Events

Friday will feature CSI 5* riders in action at 5:00 PM with the Trophée Le Casino de Monte-Carlo, the first leg of the GCL. The excitement continues at 8:30 PM with the second leg. The Stockholm Hearts, currently leading the circuit after nine stages with riders like Julien Épaillard (FRA), Jessica Springsteen (USA), and Olivier Philippaerts (BEL), aim to maintain their lead against rivals such as the Doha Falcons and Cannes Stars. The Monaco Aces, ranked eleventh, will seek to capitalize on home advantage with French riders Grégory Cottard, Edward Levy, and Inès Joly.

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