The Saut Hermès Jumping International tournament in Paris came to a thrilling close yesterday as Germany's Marcus Ehning and his stallion Cornado NRW snatched victory by just three hundredths of a second.
The Grand Palais in the French capital played host to some stunning feats of equestrianism over the weekend, so it was only fitting that the much-anticipated finale – the Grand Prix Hermès – should come right down to the wire.
Under the beautiful spring time sunshine, Ehning and Cornado NRW thrilled the sold-out arena by taking victory in the jump-off against the much-fancied home favourites Patrice Delaveau and Lacrimoso HDC.
Only four riders made it through to the jump-off, including Great Britain's Laura Renwick on her gelding Bintang II. Renwick eventually finished a respectable fourth with two poles
down at the death. Third place was taken by Katharina Offel of the Ukraine on her horse Lacontino.
Although Delaveau and Lacrimoso initially laid down a fantastic clear round in an impressive time of 37.62 seconds, Ehning once again demonstrated his class and composure by guiding Cornado NRW round in 37.59 seconds, just shading the competition.
Ehning's winning performance may have disappointed some of the partisan home crowd who were eagerly cheering on Frenchman Delaveau, but the impeccable manner of the victory was a joy to behold for everyone in attendance.
This year's Saut Hermès Jumping International deserved a nail-biting finish and credit must go to all the riders who competed in the jump-off for delivering first-class entertainment.
After securing the top spot, Ehning said:
'I am very happy with my horse, he did an incredible first round. I saw Patrice's round in the jump-off, he was fast, but I still thought I had a chance.
'Kathi Offel gave me the right tip for the five strides to the penultimate vertical and it all worked out very well today.'