Sunday, May. 19, 2024

Claire Z Zips To A Miami Beach Win



Miami Beach, Fla.—April 20 

For a while there it didn’t look like there would be any clear rounds in the jump-off for the Longines GCT Grand Prix of Miami Beach.

Last year’s winners California and Edwina Tops-Alexander ticked a rail, and a super sliced turn prompted H&M Extra to put on the brakes to the last fence with Olivier Philippaerts. The next three riders pulled two rails apiece with three left to go.

One could understand if the next rider would elect to put in a careful round after so many riders struggled, but not Pieter Devos. Fresh off a class win in Mexico City with his partner Claire Z he put his foot on the gas and managed a bold clear round. The next two riders stayed clear as they navigated the course, but no one could catch Devos and the 11-year-old Zangersheide (Clearway—Colessa Z, Coronado).

WEB 1 Pieter HOC_1336

Pieter Devos couldn’t be happier with Claire Z, who carried him to the win today in the Longines GCT Grand Prix. Mollie Bailey Photos

“I’m super happy with the performance of my horse,” said the Belgian. “She’s jumping amazing [for the last] two weeks in two completely different venues: a big grass arena and here on the sand. I’m very, very happy with her. I think there’ s more to come with her because she’s only 11 years old. Only now can I start to go fast with her. I’m very, very happy.”

WEB 1 Pieter Devos Claire Z HOC_1234

Claire Z didn’t touch a rail all day to win the Longines GCT of Miami Beach.

Harrie Smolders and Don VHP Z N.O.P. nearly caught Devos but he took a tug to the last that cost him the .04 seconds he needed to match Devos’ time.


“I knew I was close [to Devos’ time] because I was fast at the beginning, and left one out from [fence] one to two and the next turn also,” said Smolders. “I felt him get a little flat so I made an extra [stride] before the last fence, and I knew it would be very close but it’s a shame. I can only blame myself that I didn’t catch the time because Don was amazing.”

WEB 2 Harrie Smolders HOC_1035

Harrie Smolders and Don VHP Z N.O.P. nearly caught Devos’ time but a tug to the last relegated them to second place.

Malin Baryard-Johnsson and H&M Indiana had to settle for third, but the Swede wasn’t disappointed.

“I am super happy with my mare today,” said Baryard-Johnsson. “She’s truly amazing. She did her first year last year jumping big and we made it to the [FEI World Equestrian Games (North Carolina)] where we ended up with a silver medal for the team. This season I think she’s turning into an even better horse. She’s really competitive and she showed that today. She was really amazing.”

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Malin Baryard-Johnsson and H&M Indiana claimed third.

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(From left) Harrie Smolders, Pieter Devos and Malin Baryard-Johnsson celebrated their podium finish together.

This win puts Devos in the lead in the Global Champions Tour series after three events.

“It gives you a good feeling that I’m in the lead, I’ve been quite consistent in the first three legs,” he said. “There is still a lot more to come. Tomorrow will begin again with our feet on the ground. [GCT] Shanghai is the next show and we know the sport is tough sport and not every week is the same. But it’s good; I’m in a good flow and I hope I can still be in the lead for a few more weeks.”

web 1 Shane Breen Miami Celtics HOC_0383

Shane Breen’s Ipswich Van De Wolfsakker didn’t get anywhere near the rails as he put in a clear round for the winning Miami Celtics in the Global Champions League competition.

WEB 1 Michael Duffy Miami Celtics HOC_0423

Michael Duffy’s Quintano 35 showed off beautiful form on the way to a clear round that helped boost the Miami Celtics to the top of the podium in Global Champions League competition.

WEB Pieter Devon Athina Onassis HOC_0612

Pieter Devos doused his St. Tropez Pirates teammate Athina Onassis with champagne after they finished second in the Global Champions League competition.

WEB Sophie Gochman 2* winner HOC_9265

Sophie Gochman won the first grand prix of her career when she and Carola BH topped today’s two-star grand prix.

Find results here. Want more from the Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach? Click here and be sure to check out the May 6 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse magazine, and be sure you’re following us on on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @chronofhorse.




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