Kutscher and Van Gogh Paint Win

By October 5, 2015
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Marco Kutscher and Van Gogh take a victory lap after winning the $450,000 Longines Grand Prix. (McCool Photography for EEM)

Seven nations were represented by the seven riders that made the jump off for the $450,000 Longines Grand Prix CSI5* 1.60m at the Masters of Los Angeles, but it was Germany and Marco Kutscher that came out on top. Riding the the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion Van Gogh, Kutscher, the last in, snatched victory from Great Britain’s Scott Brash and Hello M’Lady, shaving .89 seconds off the world No. 1’s time.

A technical first round looked deceivingly easy when the first rider in the order of go among 36 went clear. Rik Hemeryck (BEL) was fault-free the course designer Luc Musette’s 13-obstacle track, which included a triple combination and two double combinations. But rails quickly began to fall, with seven riders emerging to contest the championship in the final round. But it wasn’t until the 14th into the ring, Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani of Qatar, riding First Devision, that there was a second clear and guarantee of a jump off.

The time allowed of 74 seconds also played a decisive role in the outcome.  Two riders —  the USA’s McLain Ward and Piergiorgio Bucci of Italy– left all the rails up, but each incurred a single time fault that kept them from the jump off, where the U.S. was represented by Kent Farrington and Voyeur.

Steve Guerdat (SUI), Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) and Patrice Delaveau (FRA) joined Farrington, Kutscher, Brash, and Hemeryck to vie for top honors over a looping jump-off course that  required tight inside turns. Brash set a fast, clear pace, but he didn’t think that his lead would hold. Farrington nearly did overtake Brash’s time, trailing by .15, good enough for third.

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Scott Brash and Hello M’Lady led the jump off until the last rider. (McCool Photography for EEM)

“I’m absolutely delighted with the horse,” Brash said after the class, before hurrying to the airport to fly to China. “I was just annoyed at myself that I didn’t do a smoother round. Marco’s horse was so smooth and it was a joy to watch, really, if you weren’t sitting where I was. All credit to Marco, he’s done a great round.”

“My advantage was that I was last to go in the jump off, and I saw Scott and Kent,” Kutscher said. “I knew there was a little door open. I almost thought to the last fence I added one, and there was one too many, and I could have done one less and it was not quick enough, but I was lucky when I watched the screen and it was still fast.

“I thought it was a great competition,” Farrington said. “It was a great finish, with some of the best riders in the world, so it’s really top sport and I think it’s really exciting that they brought that level of competition to our country. Marco had an amazing round at the end. I hope next time he goes before me and Scott and then we can watch him go.”

“I had a very good start to the jump off, the second part was maybe a little bit slower but anyway I’m super pleased with my horse because for the rest of the weekend nobody realized that I was here,” said Kutscher, whose previous best placing in the week’s 5* classes was sixth on another horse,  Perigueux. Riding Van Gogh, he was 37th in Saturday’s Gucci Gold Cup, and 30th in the Prix Airbus on Friday. Looks like they were just warming up! “I took my chance and I’m very pleased and very happy to go home tonight,” Kutscher added.

This was the German rider’s second Longines Masters of Los Angeles. “Last year I was here, and I think this year, the crowd, the spectators, were even more than last year; the atmosphere is great and it’s fun to ride here. I would like to come back next year to see all you guys.”

The Longines Masters series presented by EEM continues with the Masters of Paris, Dec. 3-6, and Masters of Hong Kong, Feb. 19-21.

Results

  1. Marco Kutscher (GER), Van Gogh                     0/0     37.01     $148,500
  2. Scott Brash (GBR), Hello M’Lady                       0/0     37.93     $900,000
  3. Kent Farrington (USA), Voyeur                         0/0    38.08     $675,000
  4. Steve Guerdat (SUI), Kavalier                           0/0    39.05     $450,000
  5. Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Ali Thani (QTR), First Devision     0/0     40.13    $270,000
  6. Rik Hemeryck (BEL), Carlitto van’t Zorgvliet  0/12     41.61    $ 20,205
  7. Patrice Delaveau (FRA), Lacrimoso 3 HDC      0/12     47.61     $ 13,500
  8. Piergiorgio Bucci (ITA), Casallo Z                      1            74.21     $ 11,250
  9. McLain Ward (USA), HH Azur                           1            74.27     $  9,000
  10. Kevin Staut (FRA), Elky van het Indihof HDC    4        69.04     $ 9,000
  11. John Whitaker (GBR), Argento                             4           70.21   $ 4,500
  12. Harrie Smolders (NED), Emerald                         4           70.68   $ 4,500
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Third place went to the USA’s Kent Farrington and Voyeur (McCool Photography for EEM)

 

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