The excitement in the arena was palpable ahead of Helsinki Grand Trophy 160 cm. Challenging and technical course offered twists and surprises and only four riders made it to the jump-off. French Kevin Staut on Beau de Laubry Z was the first to clear the course, and also the first to take on the jump-off track. With two amazing and fast clear rounds on the leaderboard, Staut hold onto his position until the end.

Kevin Staut and Beau de Laubry Z - photo Satu Pirinen

Kevin Staut and Beau de Laubry Z – photo Satu Pirinen

“First of all I’m really happy and grateful for my horse. He reached the top level since 2-3 months ago and trusts me more and more. He was good last week in Oslo, reaching 4th in the World Cup Grand Prix and today he did a fantastic job. He could answer every single thing, the technical parts that I was asking and I’m really, really happy about him. He is not the fastest horse but it’s getting better and better – hopefully this first Grand Prix win will be the first of many”, Staut said after the competition, praising his horse.

Staut anticipated a more technical Grand Prix course than last week in Oslo and went to jump-off with a plan.

“Here I knew it would be more technical, and then there’s the indoor element, so I thought it would be better maybe to start in the Saturday’s Grand Prix instead of the World Cup. But I have to say, it was really really difficult and really technical today. I did my plan and I’m really happy that I could manage”.

Staut will switch horses for tomorrow’s World Cup, riding the mare he jumped with last year.

“She knows the show and this type of competition really well”, Staut commented.

Francesco Turturiello of Italy and Quite Balou delivered a double clear as well and took the second place. Yesterday’s Pohjola International winner Shane Breen on Quick Star Kervec from Ireland placed third after having a great first round but snagging four penalties in the jump-off.

Best home rider Aura Vasama, who competed at the five star level for the third time in her career, was 20th.

Aura Vasama and Canto Bruno - photo Aino Tervonen

Aura Vasama and Canto Bruno – photo Aino Tervonen

“Today’s course was more difficult than in Oslo, more challenging I think. And of course coming from there, you really notice the size of the arena – you have to do all the decisions much faster. It was indeed a very challenging course and you could see that in the results also, there were a lot of mistakes even from the most talented riders”, the young Finn said after the competition.

In tomorrow’s World Cup Vasama won’t be jumping.

“I have talked with Mikko [Mäentausta] and my trainer. Not that the World Cup would scare me or anything but it’s more about me feeling that the horse already gave his all today, and last week he jumped three big classes in Oslo. This is now the second big class for us here so I think he deserves to focus on the future, which we hopefully have a lot ahead.

“It is an amazing horse and great to work with, especially when doing things for the first time. There are a lot of horses which have scope and quality, but there’s this special side in Kalle that you can always go to the course safely with him. And that gives me as a rider a safe feeling. I think everyone would need their own Kalle”, Vasama praised her horse.

Helsinki Grand Trophy 160 cm, with jump-off, Starts 36, placings 12.

1) Kevin Staut – Beau de Laubry Z, FRA 0-0/35.70
2) Francesco Turturiello – Quite Balou, ITA 0-0/39.63
3) Shane Breen – Cuick Star Kervec, IRL 0-4/35.61
4) Philipp Schulze Topphoff – Carla NRW, GER 0-4/36.39
5) Mark McAuley – GRS Lady Amaro, IRL 4/71.08
6) Martin Fuchs – Bastille, SUI 4/72.18
7) Kevin Jochems – La Costa, NED 4/72.74
8) Anthony Wellens – Danger Civil vh Lindenhof Z, BEL 4/74.79
9) Rik Hemeryck – Morfine de Muze, BEL 4/75.04
10) Yuri Mansur – Cheyenne de la Violle, BRA 4/75.06
11) Victoria Gulliksen – Equine America Papa Roach, NOR 4/75.57
12) Pål Flam – Omonza D C, NOR 4/75.69

Complete results: