The second queen of the Longines Masters of Paris is Australian? Even though she is "only" the second female rider to win the Longines Grand Prix of Paris - and even a Longines Grand Prix of the whole series - she is the first Australian, the first non-European actually, to triumph in the main class of the Paris leg.
An adventure Australia's Edwina Alexander just embarked on as she was the fastest of the three clears with California even though she feared she had not been fast enough to beat Italy's Alberto Zorzi and Contanga. In the end, the pair was a mere 36 hundredths slower. "I wasn't sure I had been fast enough to beat Alberto who started last", Edwina admitted. "I should have gone faster if there had been more to come after me." Almost three seconds behind the leaders, Ireland's Denis Lynch felt a bit left out. "One I really tried to go fast but The Sin “It is not a tactic, I really tried to go quick and he ran out. I had no other option than try to put him all together again. With my time of 50 seconds [47.03 precisely], I knew I was never going to win. But I am really happy with the horse and his improvement. I am really happy to finish in the top three, particularly here, in Paris, in front of this amazing crowd.”
Irishman Denis Lynch and stable newcomer Chablis have formed an instant and very mutual attraction and they charged away with the Longines Grand Prix of Hong Kong on Sunday, bringing to a close a weekend of supreme excitement to conclude the Asian leg of the Longines Masters Series.
“I never see myself as a favourite,” said Lynch after the win. “But I didn’t feel the pressure. Pressure is for tyres. This is a new horse for our stable so I am over the moon. I’m just very, very proud of this horse. The course designer today did an amazing job” said Lynch. “It was exciting for us and for the fans and they really get behind you here in Hong Kong. What EEM are doing here is growing every year. The crowd just go with you [over the jumps] and that’s very nice.”
In a breathtaking performance, Nassar’s partnership with the 13-year-old Westphalian gelding, also owned by Evergate Stables LLC, was on full display as they cleared hurdle after hurdle with the greatest of ease, and in a deceptively fast time. When they galloped home through the timers in 38.59 seconds, the crowd erupted. New York had its winner!
“He’s such a trier and an athletic horse; he’s faster than anything I’ve ever ridden before with a natural ability to leave the jumps up,” said Nassar, 28, of Lucifer V. “He really jumps with his heart and it’s an incredible partnership to have a horse like that. He loves to go fast! You know you have a chance to win every time you come out. It’s an incredible feeling and I’m grateful to have him.”
Not only was Nassar the first rider to ever win both the Longines Speed Challenge and the Longines Grand Prix at the same event, he was the first to do it with the same horse.
“It’s unexpected, really!” said Nassar when asked what it was like to write Longines Masters history. “It means the world. Thank you, Christophe [Ameeuw], for providing us with this platform. We can’t showcase what we do without a platform to do it on and I’m really grateful. I’ve always loved these shows and hopefully I can keep making it a target of mine.”
Belgian Gundrun Patteet became the third woman to win a Longines Grand Prix in the Longines Masters series following Pénélope Leprévost of France in 2011 and Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander in 2018. Leprévost and Tops-Alexander both took the title in Paris, but Patteet has now secured one for the women in Lausanne. Perhaps it was the brisk mountain air or the magnificent view of Lake Geneva that gave Patteet an extra boost of inspiration, for it was a ride as perfect as the setting. Second place went deservingly to Italian Giulia Martinengo Marquet.
Patteet spoke in agreement about the 13-year-old gelding’s spirit and speed on course: “That I won today was because I have a horse who is naturally fast, so I saved time everywhere on course. I turned short and his athleticism took care of the rest. It was also a very well-constructed course (designed by French Gregory Bodo – Ed). In the first round there were little questions everywhere, but obviously the course suited Pebble and he managed them really well.He’s a horse I’ve been riding since he was eight-years-old. Now, he’s 13. He’s exceptional, though he can be a little bit special at times. Beyond that he’s very good. In the stable he’s a very nice, calm horse, but as soon as you climb on him he’s very hot. His lifestyle is tailored to him. He is never stuck in the stall, he spends his life outside with a small shelter-shed where he comes and goes as he pleases,” said Patteet. “I always have to think of different jobs, outings in the forest, etc. At the show, I never emphasize the dressage. We go out and jump a few fences and then head in the ring!”