Simon Delestre has made history as the first French rider to win the Grand Prix Hermès in Paris.
The former world number one was riding his top horse Hermès Ryan, who produced one of the best performances of his career.
There were 13 other combinations in the jump-off, including last year’s winner Edwina Tops-Alexander and Marcus Ehning, who won the Grand Prix in 2010 and 2014. However, none could beat the flying Frenchman’s fast time of 34.54sec.
“Hermès Ryan performed brilliantly,” said a delighted Simon. “I knew that the jump-off would be quick, but Ryan is a fast horse. This competition is really special for me, and we prepared for it.”
Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels was second riding Gancia de Muze in a time of 34.97sec, just ahead of Marcus Ehning and Cornado NRW (35.72sec).
The 1.60m Grand Prix is the feature class of the three-day show, which is held at the Grand Palais – a stunning venue in the heart of Paris. The competition attracted 49 of the world’s best riders, including five Brits and two Irish.
Michael Whitaker continued his great form to jump clear, but four faults in the jump-off put him and JB’s Hot Stuff out of the running.
Simon’s victory is one of many with Hermès Ryan and together they have earned more than $500,000 in prize money. The 12-year-old Selle Francais is only 15.3hh, but he has an incredible technique and a will to win.
“I don’t have the words to explain how amazing this horse is – it’s just incredible!” said Simon. “He’s my favourite horse, the whole family’s horse. He always gives 110%. You have try to keep up with his talent and today he was just fantastic again!”