Swedish rider Peder Fredricson and his powerful bay 10-year-old Hansson WL reigned supreme at the seventh leg of the 2018 Longines Global Champions Tour (GCT) circuit in Cannes, France. They won a supercharged jump-off against the heavyweight stars of showjumping to claim grand prix honors. Harrie Smolders (NED) was second, with popular home rider Simon Delestre rounding out the podium.

Peder’s victory means he has qualified for a coveted place at the GCT Super Grand Prix at the spectacular new GC Playoffs in Prague in December.

“I’m really, really happy about the win today,” said Peder, who has been riding the Swedish-bred Hip Hop son Hansson since January. “It feels fantastic. And I’m very impressed with my horse. It came at a good time, as [my Rio Olympics horse] All In has been out for a few months — he’ll be doing his first show next week — but of course getting this new horse in the stable means a lot. I’m very excited to go to Prague, and I’m looking forward to it — it’s going to be a tough competition!”

Harrie Smolders, who finished second on the talented Emerald, said: “It’s tough to beat the Swedish! His horse jumped incredibly and this combination are on top at the moment It’s well deserved. Emerald had a few weeks off, and last week I needed to get back in the rhythm. This show I felt him getting better and better, so I had good hopes for the grand prix and it turned out very well.”

How it played out

It was a rollercoaster start to the LGCT Grand Prix of Cannes as course designer Uliano Vezzani’s tough first round track triggered multiple faults from a string of top riders including home rider Kevin Staut and Bertram Allen (IRL), who both retired. More major players tumbled out of the 1.60m class including Maikel van der Vleuten (NED), Christian Ahlmann (GER), Alberto Zorzi (ITA) and the overall LGCT rankings leader, Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS).

Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum and his chestnut Casello turned the tide and delivered the first clear round. The appreciative crowd applauded as the combination cleared the difficult triple combination in front of the grandstands and cheered as Ludger finished with a clean sheet.

The reigning LGCT Champion Harrie Smolders demonstrated world class form with his top stallion Emerald going clear and ensuring a jump-off. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (SWE) was next to qualify for the jump-off with Oak Grove’s Carlyle. The high calibre line-up continued to grow as home rider Simon Delestre and Hermes Ryan posted a clear. They were joined by Peder Fredricson, Cameron Hanley (IRL), Jur Vrieling (NED) and Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts on the jump-off start list.

In the jump-off Ludger Beerbaum (GER) was first, stopping the clock at 42.55 seconds. But he was quickly beaten by a super fast round from Harrie Smolders and Emerald (38.46 seconds). Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) could not catch them and finished in 39.82 seconds. Simon Delestre and Hermes Ryan  finished fractions of a second behind Smolders, posting 38.53 seconds.

The bar was set high but Peder Fredricson made good use of Hansson’s long stride. The Swedish Olympian made up time between fences and crossed the finish line in 38.05 seconds. Hansson put in a huge, exuberant buck and a kick after the final fence. Then Peder had to watch anxiously as Cameron Hanley, Jur Vrieling and Olivier Philippaerts tried — but failed — to better his time.

The result means that Edwina Tops-Alexander remains the overall LGCT ranking leader, but both Harrie Smolders and Simon Delestre have crept up the standings as the series heads to Cascais, Portugal, next weekend.

Watch the whole spectacle unfold on H&C in our Cannes LGCT highlights show, which airs at 8pm Eastern time on Saturday June 16, by subscribing now to H&C.