Season 2011

Cannes

  • Cannes
  • 9th-11th June 2011

Edwina Alexander partial to Cannes

Release date: 01/01/1970

Australia Edwina Alexander rates the Cannes, France destination as one her lucky spots of the 10 events run across 9 countries in the year. Winner of the 2010 Global Champions Tour and runner up in 2009 with Cevo Itot de Chateau, Edwina is feeling positive her preparations for this event.

Edwina pictured here wearing the Gucci range of riding wear. Edwina is the equestrian sport ambassador for Gucci.

Moving to the fourth round of the Global Champions Tour for 2011 in Cannes Edwina is sitting quite high in the GCT rankings at number 4. Tell us about your performances over the first  three rounds.

I rode Ciske van Overis, my nine year old mare, in the first GCT of the year in Doha.  In the first round of the GCT Grand Prix she jumped a very good clear round but got a little strong in the second round after the water jump.

I was happy with my first Global tour with Ciske was not a bad placing to be 9th to start the tour off. (pictured right)

Itot du Chateau went to Valencia and this was his first outdoor competition for the year.  He jumped great in the first round but got a bit strong in the second round and finished up 10th

I also rode Itot in Hamburg and once again he jumped really well and finished 7th.  So the performances are consistent and I earned good Global Champions Tour ranking points.

You have been competing in all of the GCT events since its inception.  What developments have you seen at  the events in 2011?

Doha certainly had developed since 2009 with many more spectators in attendance and the atmosphere was good.  The efforts to make the improvements in infrastructure and logistics were very noticeable.   The horse fights and transport were excellent and everything went very smoothly during the event.  All the horses jumped very well on the surface.  The weather was fantastic for the horses coming from a long winter. The horses were very comfortable with the permanent air-conditioned stables.

In Valencia there was an amazing deluge of rain just before the course walk of the Grand Prix.  The organisers, crew and course designer coped very well to ensure that we had the best conditions.  The first round course seemed to be a little bit easier than other events due to the weather but the Grand Prix was exciting in the end. 

Frank Rothenburger also course designed The GCT Grand Prix of Germany in Hamburg.  This was probably one of the more difficult of the first rounds in the Global Champions Tour that I have ever jumped. It was very big, bigger than most.  Last year we had a lot of clear first rounds and I think he didn’t want to have the same situation.  He ended up doing a very good jump-off with only three double clear rounds.  

It is great to have a jump off with 3 to 6 people but it is not so easy to get that.  The course designer has to know the horses starting in the class and know how they have been jumping before they come to an event and then see how they jump over the tracks in the first classes.

Edwina and Itot de Chateau pictured left competing in the GCT of Germany in Hamburg.

In Hamburg they had the gradient on the arena grounds and Frank made full use of this with the combination heading up the hill. The horses seemed to have more difficulties as the course went on.

Yes, some of the distances rode a little differently than they walked, this could be attributed to this. Like in the first round the 5 strides to the double rode a little bit longer than we walked.  The second round to the triple combination I planned to do 8 strides but I did seven, as it got a lot longer than I thought.

Frank has been building at Hamburg for a very long time and he knows this ground inside out and can think through so many variables to present.

We are now heading to Cannes this week for the fourth round of the GCT 2011 series.  You had a win here in 2010 with Cevo Itot du Chateau. Describe the ride and the win.

Itot jumped the first day in the small class and I had a really good feeling with him.  He was fresh but also relaxed. 

Cannes is always difficult for a rider in terms that it is a square arena and you really need to be on your riding game. Being square in shape it can be difficult for placements of fences. There is not much room to ride out of the corners before you are presented with a fence.

The French course designer, Serge Houtman, builds a lot of big solid looking fences and very wide oxers. Jumping out of the corner it is very tight so you need to be very accurate.

There were 6 double clear rounds and I was last to go in the jump-off, which presents pressures in itself.  There was not one rider clear in the jump-off so all I had to do was to go clear. Being last to go is in some ways more difficult than going early and aiming for a fast round for others to catch. It was risky riding slow but I felt he was jumping so good I wasn’t worried about having a fence down.

It was a good win, but a hard win.  Having to stay cool and relaxed is not always easy.

Are you feeling confident this year heading into Cannes?

Itot feels really great.  Cannes is one of his favourite shows.  Two years ago he was second there and last year he won. He likes the French Riviera.  He has a few fans in Cannes.

What do you like about the show at Cannes?

It has a great, educated audience who understand the sport very well. It is a beautiful atmosphere for the horses as they are stabled not so far away from the ring.  You can walk to the hotel and you have the fresh air from the sea that is 100 metres away.  It’s a special show and has really a lot of charisma. Perfect for spectators, riders and anyone who is part of this event.

This year Cannes Jumping International celebrates their 30th anniversary. Will you be joining in the celebrations with the social activities?

Yes, Wednesday night there was a spectacular cocktail party near the beach with fireworks and a great dancing horse display. It was very nice to share the moment with the President du Concours, Mr Francois Bourey and the Cannes Showjumping International organisers, sponsors and riders.