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Steve Guerdat

Steve Guerdat and Nino triumph in the Grand Prix de France in La Baule

Monday 18 May 2015

Also second placed Bertram Allen had to admit defeat to the vim and vigor of the Olympic and World Cup winner pair, which after a rather unsatisfying performance on Friday in the Nations Cup came back to the top in a spectacular way with the victory in the GP – just great!

Steve & Nino winners of the La Baule Grand Prix
Steve & Nino winners of the La Baule Grand Prix - Copyright (C) Photo : CSIO La Baule

The bigger the expectation and the pressure, the stronger seems Steve Guerdat. This could be already observed in the Olympic Games in London, or recently in the finals of the World Cup in Las Vegas, as well as many times at the CHI in Geneva or elsewhere, and now again this Sunday at the Grand Prix de France of the five-star tournament in La Baule. Thus, the couple rehabilitated with this victory also after the refus in the first and a fault at the water in the second round in the Nations Cup on Friday.

The numerous domestic audience welcomed the Olympic champion entering in to the arena for the GP almost as if he would be a Frenchman. Steve and his brilliant, albeit difficult son of Kannan completed a gorgeous round, without any hesitation, and with the fastest time (77.14 sec).

In the jump-off Steve had the advantage to go last of the 10 qualifiers (from initial 50 participants) to the start. An advantage that could have transformed easily into a handicap, as French rider Aymeric de Ponnat on Armitage's Boy falls in the course right before his eyes. The horse, which had to pause because of injury last year during more than eight months, left the course limping, accompanied by a disappointed rider, supported by its Chef d'Equipe, Philippe Guerdat, who in 1988 himself once was winner of the Grand Prix de France (then in Dinard).

The right tactics and perfect control

CSIO La Baule - Steve & Nino des Buissonnets
CSIO La Baule - Steve & Nino des Buissonnets - Copyright (C) Photo : CSIO La Baule

Not an easy situation so for Steve to concentrate and try everything. He decided to lead Nino carefully to the first two obstacles, to give him confidence, then to gallop strongly forward in the long passages in the François-André Stadium and to take up again the horse almost perfect before the Furusiyya Oxer and the combination. He passed the finish line with almost a second ahead of second-placed Bertram Allen on Romanov, and felt like jump for joy and the audience celebrated the Swiss as if he would be one of their own!

A.P.

Copyright (C) Photo : AFP
Copyright (C) Photo : AFP

"Winning a Grand Prix is what everyone wants. But to win La Baule for me is something special. I've always loved this concours and its audience, as the tournament always preserved its soul and history. The crowd here has always been very supportive, even though I was not particularly brilliant in the past and could yet never classify in the Grand Prix. So therefore I am particularly pleased to be able to give something back now to them. To start last in the jump-off was an advantage for me. But given the exceptional ride of Bertram, I had not much to think about. To win here everything must fit together perfectly. This is only possible with a horse like Nino. And then, when you pass the finish line and realized that you've won, this is such an incredible feeling of joy that I wish everyone to be able to experience once."

Grand Prix video

Nasa Third in the Derby on Saturday

Steve & Nasa during the Derby of the CSIO of La Baule - (C) Photo : Alleaume Gilles / Horse-actu.fr
Steve & Nasa during the Derby of the CSIO of La Baule - (C) Photo : Alleaume Gilles / Horse-actu.fr

On the third day of the CSIO of France, Steve and Nasa reached the 3rd place in the famous Derby of La Baule. Although some of the obstacles have been modified and several naturals were reduced already last year, the course of Frederic Cottier nevertheless remained challenging and with 21 obstacles very long, also with the lake at the end. But the audience loves it!

Steve Guerdat had never before participated in a Derby with his mare Nasa, normally starting in GPs and the World Cup. But except for a slight hesitation at the top of the hill, the SF mare mastered this competition with enthusiasm and persuasive. Steve regretted a little fault on the penultimate opstacle, an upright at the exit of the lake, which provoked a lot of faults even with other participants: 

"I was a little too close, but it was the first derby for Nasa, and she jumped well. It’s a pity." A clear round would have been equivalent to the victory.

A.P.

Derby video

Source : Le Cavalier Romand

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