May 22, 2010
Marco Cashes In

By Lulu Kyriacou, GCT Press Agent

After a couple of days with many horses jumping clear, if anyone had been lulled into a state of false security by these results and the beauty of their surroundings at La Mandria, Turin, Uliano Vezzani soon disposed them of that notion in the GCT Grand Prix of Italy. The first round contained a combination at Fence 5 of a vertical to an oxer with another vertical out. This ended the challenges of Kevin Staut on Sea Coast Silvana and Ben Maher on Robin Hood W among others. Then there was a tricky line from Fence 7 to 8, a double where Edwina Alexander on Cevo Itot du Chateau was one of the victims. And just when the riders thought they were home, a short distance to the last oxer saw the likes of Eric Lamaze on Atlete Van T'Heike fault. But the eight clears included Jos Lansink on Valentina Van T'Heike, Rodrigo Pessoa on HH Rebozo, Jessica Kurten on Castle Forbes Libertina, and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum back to her best after having a baby on the equally brilliant Shutterfly.

Lansink was first to go and was the fastest clear consequently having the advantage of going last in the second round. But there were 17 others to go before him over a changed course where once again a line including the double to the waterjump caused the most problems. Harrie Smolders on yesterday's winner Exquis Walnut de Muze was the first in and his four-fault round looked better and better as the phase progressed. He was rising steadily up the ranks until 8th to go Rolf Goran-Bengtsson put some pressure on the leaders with the first clear round. Then Patrick McEntee was also clean over the fences but was left ruing two time penalties with Ever Mury Marais. Of those initially clear Penelope Leprevost and Leopold van Asten both faulted, but Rodrigo Pessoa managed a second clear round and then Nick Skelton on Carlo forced a jump off. They were joined by Kutscher on Cash and a jubilant Kurten. But there was drama to come when Michaels-Beerbaum and Shutterfly got to the combination. Slightly off the first part, by the time he got to element C even Shutterfly could not get himself out of the trouble. He was in and the horse stopped, depositing his rider unceremoniously onto the sand. Then Lansink was a victim to the third fence, an oxer and the second part of the double and his chance was gone.

In the jump off Pessoa was first into the arena and, like the next two riders, he knew last to go would be Kurten, never slow against the clock so he had to go for it. His time of 41.12 could clearly be beaten but the fences were all standing so the others would have no choice except to take it on. And Nick Skelton did. Setting Carlo alight he beat Pessoa's time by three seconds. 38.18 might have been enough to win in lesser company but Kutscher and Cash had won the Grand Prix of Italy in 2009 and on that occasion the gelding's huge stride did enough without appearing to hurry and the same happened here. The clock stopped at 37.98 and when Kurten and Libertina lowered the first part of the double, it was all over and 100,000 Euros were his.

Earlier in the day Alvaro De-Miranda finally got himself to the top of the leader board after a series of improving placed results with AD Norson. He won the Premio Publitala with a time of 62.52. He was chased home by Kevin Staut whose Major de Coquerie was the only horse to leave all rails intact and get within two seconds of the winner. Lauren Hough was third on her Valencia winner Prezioso.

Class 5 GCT Grand Prix of Italy

1. Marco Kutscher (GER) Cash, 0,0,0, 37.98, 100,000 Euros
2. Nick Skelton (GBR) Carlo, 0,0,0, 38.18, 65,000 Euros
3. Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) HH Rebozo, 0,0,0, 41.12, 40,000 Euros
4.Jessica Kurten (IRE) Castle Forbes Libertina, 0,0,4, 25,000 Euros

Class 4 Premio Publitalia
1. Alvaro de Miranda Neto (BRA) AD Norson, 0, 62.52, 6,600 Euros
2. Kevin Staut (FRA) Major de Coquerie , 0, 63.80, 4,250 Euros
3. Lauren Hough (USA) Prezioso, 0, 65.15, 3,050 Euros

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