International Jumping of Chantilly

A giant leap ahead of science

The comeback

 

kids

 

There were some beautiful stories at the International Jumping of Chantilly that included five former number 1s and a rider with a knee injury – caused by playing with children.

 

Text and images Pascal Renauldon

 

“Making a success of such an event in Chantilly is not very complicated,” joked Gérard Manzinali, organiser of the event. “There is the extraordinary settings and when the Longines Global Champions’ Tour takes its quarters here, one could not wish for a better association. Add to that a course designer such as the talented Uliano Vezzani and these fabulous riders…. I have lived an extraordinary afternoon, filled with emotions.”

 

The sport’s side was brought by the riders and fate would have it that the best came best in the end. An ex European Champion (the Swede Rolf Göran-Bengtsson), an ex-Olympic Champion (the Canadian Eric Lamaze) the ex-quadruple Olympic Champion, quintuple European Champion, double German world Champion etc, etc…the immense Ludger Beerbaum; all ex world Number 1s, and the latter’s trainee, another Swede, Henrick von Eckermann.

 

If the French had not missed out it would have been a perfect day. There were no less than five of them qualified for the last round. They all finished with one fault on the score board! Even Patrice Delaveau, winner on last year’s Sunday, riding the same Carinjo.

But even the spectators, leaning in favour of their ‘cousin from Quebec’, soon found solace in the show put on by the four finalists who  all finished with clear rounds. First Beerbaum who moaned about Chaman slipping: “That’s where I lost the competition” he said even before the other three were on the starting line. Henrik von Eckermann (Cantinero), on his boss’s advice, showed more caution on taking the said turn….. Thus losing the victory and handing it to his compatriot Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, on his old companion, Casall:

“OK I was lucky today to reach the finishing line a little faster than the others. I saw Henrick’s run; I knew Eric (Lamaze) was next, I didn’t have any choice; I just had to go as fast as possible. We know how to do that, Casall and I have been together for a long time! Anyway it’s fabulous to win here, everything is here; the setting, the spectators, the course designer and the ground is of great quality and that helps the horses to jump well.”

As for Eric Lamaze’s third place it deceived the spectators, more than himself.

“I’m still not 100% with Fine Lady. I only have had her since May and we have to learn to know each other better, so being third here it’s already top. Besides she’s a fairly small mare and doesn’t have a great stride…which obviously is not an advantage in such a big arena.”

 

The fête was far from over as all these champions were back in the saddle for Sunday’s Masters Airbus Group.

 

Thus this brilliant edition of the International Jumping of Chantilly came to an end on another beautiful story, that of Cameron Hanley and Antello Z.

Two years ago Cameron thought he could never ride again. In 2011, as his career was really taking off with Antello Z, Cameron was victim of a knee injury. Not whilst riding but playing in the garden with his children!

Things got worst with a not-so-comical infection and a whole series of operations. Seventeen in all!

“I was told that I could never ride again, nor probably even walk. At present I feel better on a horse than on foot. I cannot run anymore,” he said.

Steeped with a formidable will power and extensive physiotherapy, Cameron progressively started riding again, but certain that he could not jump again. What’s more he had sold half of Antello Z who had been entrusted to Michael Whitaker. In March 2013, Eleonore Paschoud et Yves Bouvier, Swiss owners, decided to “re-equip” the Irish rider so that he could reach new heights.

When they asked him if he had any idea of the horse they could buy, Cameron didn’t hesitate one second. With great class, Michael Whitaker made no difficulty in reselling Antello Z and very rapidly the Irishman was back on the winning track with a third place in the Calgary Grand Prix, after winning another competition at 1m60. But this victory in Chantilly is the first in a Grand Prix and this should open new prospects:

“I did not ride him yesterday in the Longines Global Champions’ Tour, but I can confirm that he is my top horse. He has just returned from a month of rest and I am preparing him for the Nations Cup in Dublin where I hope to be selected for the World Equestrian Games,” he said of Antello Z who gave the impression of outclassing this jump off, with 21 riders and only seven clear runs.

“It was a bit too many as the timing was a little too indulgent. The riders had all their time to adjust their clear runs. Did you see in the jump off, that when you need more speed, the obstacles started to fall?  Anyway, it’s great pleasure to win here on such an arena. I came here 5 years ago and dreamed of coming back. The spectators are fabulous, all that in this fabulous environment which I had time to appreciate the day before yesterday when I visited the Horse Museum which I found extremely interesting. ”

 

 Beautiful stories in a beautiful set-up