What dreams are made of: Jeanne Sadran Wins Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Paris

Photo: Longines Global Champions Tour

Dreams came true in the heart of Paris tonight as young French star Jeanne Sadran clinched her first ever CSI5* Grand Prix victory at the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Paris presented by Ville de Paris. The City of Love witnessed a display of prue excellence at the second day of the Longines Paris Eiffel Jumping.

Competing Dexter de Kerglenn on home turf, Sadran captivated the sold-out crowd as the only double clear, edging out some of the biggest names in the sport, including the renowned Kent Farrington and Myla, who finished in second place. Johan-Sebastian Gulliksen and Equine America Harwich VDL collected their first ever LGCT podium to finish in third place.

The atmosphere was electric, as thousands of enthusiastic spectators gathered to witness top-tier sport. Sadran’s victory was a momentous occasion, marking a significant milestone in her burgeoning career as she secured the top spot on the podium but also stirred deep emotions among the audience, many of whom were moved to tears. The crowd was treated to a dazzling display of exceptional sport and hospitality as spectators and participants alike reveled in the glamorous ambiance, where fashion, elegance, and sophistication seamlessly merged.

Speaking with GCTV, Jeanne was lost for words. Putting her emotions to the microphone she said, “I can not believe it, it’s just incredible, just look at my home crowd. It’s so special for my first 5* win, here, in Paris at the Longines Global Champions Tour. I couldn’t imagine a better result.”

Having moved up through the ranks and now a much admired young rider on the Tour, Jeanne commented on the growth of her career with the Longines Global Champions Tour, “When I first started with Global Champions it was really hard, I was so young, but now I’ve learned so much… and I can win in Paris, in my home country.”

As for her ticket to the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix in Riyadh? “It’s a dream. I am so excited for the LGCT Super Grand Prix to ride with the best riders in the world.”

Having competed in just his sixth Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix, 28 year old Johan-Sebastian Gulliksen couldn’t hide the emotion from his face as he spoke exclusively to GCTV. He explained, “I’m just so, so happy. This for me is just a dream, because I’ve been watching on TV for many, many years. I’m so lucky to be a part of the Scandinavian Vikings and get the opportunity to do these classes and really step up on the level of the Longines Global Champions Tour.”

Kent Farrington, a seasoned veteran and one of the sport’s most respected figures, graciously congratulated Sadran on her remarkable achievement: “To see the next generation of riders coming through, a great French win at home, so that was really exciting for the ground and I am really happy for Jeanne too.”

In the first round, 35 starters faced a formidable technical course designed by Gregory Bodo, with the tight time allowed adding extra pressure.12 combinations had just a single rail down with the last line claiming the most victims. Johan-Sebastian Gulliksen punched the air as he crossed the line as the first clear round but then the rails kept falling until it looked as if Scott Brash was going to make it a jump off with Hello Valentino, but an extra stride to the last line cost him 0.06 seconds over the time allowed to finish on a single penalty. This was quickly followed by home rider Olivier Robert and Iglesias D.V. also falling short of the time allowed.

With just over 10 riders to go Spencer Smith pulled it out the bag to make it a jump-off as the crowd erupted when they saw he finished with 0 faults on the board, throwing down the gauntlet in what was shaping up to be an ultra exciting and emotional class.

Huge names were caught out by the 1.60m track as the likes of Katrin Eckermann, last year’s LGCT Grand Prix of Paris winner Christian Ahlmann, who opted to retire and last to go Harry Allen with Lukaku vd Bisschop who was aiming to repeat history when his brother Bertram won the LGCT Grand Prix of Paris back in 2015. But it wasn’t their day coming home with 12 faults making it a four rider jump-off today.

With the crowd on the edge of their seats with the thought of what was to come in the four person jump off.

A slick and quick round in 42.67 seconds but with an agonizing early rail from Johan-Sebastian Gulliksen and Equine America Harwich VDL they lit the fire in the jump off, and left the door open for those that were to come.

Having tasted LGCT Grand Prix victory before Spencer Smith played a tactical game to go slightly wider hoping for a solid clear to put the pressure on. He got a little flat into the Longines double and the first part came tumbling down coming home on four faults in 44.34 seconds the slowest on four faults in the jump-off.

Having not been on the top spot of an LGCT Grand Prix podium since 2017, Kent Farrington gave it his all and stole the hearts of every single person watching the magic unfold. There were tears as risking it all didn’t pay off and the red upright alongside the VIP came tumbling down. He then picked up the pace on Myla and stopped the clock just over a tenth of a second faster than Gulliksen in 42.51 seconds with just one rider to go…

Enter: Jeanne Sadran and Dexter de Kerglenn – the only hope for France in the jump-off. The entire crowd knew exactly what was needed to take the win for the duo on home turf, riding every stride with Jeanne and Dexter, and not missing a single hoofbeat. As the pair galloped towards the final fence, a pin drop could’ve been heard in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment. The eruption of noise and celebration from the packed VIP and sold-out grandstands, and pure emotion felt from Jeanne and her support crew showed exactly what the win in the 10th edition of the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Paris meant.

As the sun set over the stunning Parisian venue, the celebrations continued, with fans and fellow competitors alike acknowledging the significance of Sadran’s triumph. It was a day of high emotion, where dreams were realized, and new heroes were born.

The Tour now heads straight to Stockholm from 28 – 30 June 2024.