Today was a perfect day for the Guerdat family on the Arena Grandes Ecuries, still as beautiful, still as green. An almost honeymoon setting for a beautiful couple’s story. Victory for Steve Guerdat who won the Ducati Prize and second place and first 5* rosette for his young wife, Fanny Skalli, in the M1 CSI5* H&H. But what was the most beautiful moment of the day for the Swiss champion.
"I'm going to frame this rosette." This ribbon is the first that the cheerful Fanny Skalli has won for her very first CSI 5* with Jonka, nicknamed the Duchess. It was the reward for her second place in this afternoon’s Prix H&H, a 1.45m class with jump-off. A jump-off with only three riders and where the young woman from Southern France put the pressure on from the start with a very fast time. But with 36 hundredths less, Nicolas Delmotte (Citadin du Chatellier), deprived her of the first place: "For me, it's almost like a victory, but he could have been a gentleman", laughs the young mother who can't help but express a little regret: "If I had taken one stride less when I went to the wall, I could have gained a few tenths, but I am very happy... it is my second 5* class and I was already placed yesterday with Jonka who was clear, today she is double clear, what more could I ask for? ... The Duchess has a huge heart, she is incredible, she has a solid mind, she is just perfect."
Jonka and Fanny have progressed together to 5* level: "I bought her a year and a half ago and she was doing 1.40-1.45m in Switzerland." Tomorrow, Jonka will be resting: "We are going to Dinard with her, so no Grand Prix... maybe I will do the 1* Grand Prix with a horse from Steve"... Guerdat, her husband and father of her little Ella since last April. Moreover, three months after giving birth, Fanny's physical condition is admirable: "I didn't do anything special to get back into shape, I just wanted to get back on the horse quickly. Every woman is different in this situation, and I think I'm really lucky... yes, I'm very lucky in life... And I'd like to say a word about Val because I think I have the best groom in the world and that counts for a lot.” Fanny has a big heart!
But what is already a beautiful story, became almost a fairy tale when a few hours later, Steve Guerdat triumphed in the Prix Ducati bis (1.50m) with Pb Maserati. A class where the lead was long held by a French rider, Julien Gonin (Valou du Lys) but which Steve took over with speed yet also serenity: "Yes, that's what I like about this usually very respectful horse. The course was not particularly big, but it was very tricky. The fences have quite soft tones that don't make the horses react very much and they have to be very careful not to touch them. I rode the course exactly as I had imagined it when I walked it, without taking any more risks than I had planned." Another victory for the Swiss rider, but what gave him the greatest pleasure today? This performance - almost a routine for him - or the first ribbon for his wife? “My victory", he answers spontaneously with a mischievous smile, but explaining with the utmost seriousness: "First of all, I do sport and of course it's great for Fanny and I'm happy when she wins, she's done a very good round and I'm very proud of her. But I also do this sport for me, for my horses, for my owners and it is important to win. It is a double joy really.”
This appetite for victory, Steve Guerdat will certainly have it again tomorrow with Victorio des Frotards, a little lacking in success recently according to his rider who intends to put things in order tomorrow in the Rolex Grand Prix, from 3.00 pm.