It was smiles, pats and fist pumps from Jerome Guery as he galloped through the timers with Quel Homme de Hus in Mexico City and glanced at the clock.
The Belgian Olympian captured victory with the 13-year-old stallion, beating Egypt’s Abdel Said, in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Mexico City. But it was owner Gaëtan Decroix on his mind in that adrenaline fuelled moment.
Decroix is General Manager of Eden Farms and is currently fighting cancer. Earlier this year, he handed the reins on Quel Homme de Hus over to his close friend Guery as he undergoes treatment.
Said Guery after his win:
“I have only been riding this horse for two months, so the combination is really new for me. The horse comes from my best friend. He gave it to me as he knew this is a special horse, and he deserved to go to 5* shows. I didn’t expect to win today and I’ve never had a feeling like this about a horse.”
Guery and the bay stallion set off at a scorching pace and pulled off brilliant turns after the second fence and to the Banorte obstacle, stopping the clock at 39.57 to top the 12-horse jump off at Campo Marte show ground. The victory earns them a hefty paycheck, 102,630 Euro to be precise, and a coveted ticket to the LGCT Super Grand Prix at the GC Playoffs in Prague in November.
“For me Mexico City is my favourite LGCT—it’s an amazing show, I like the big arena and as my first LGCT this year to start with a victory is amazing,” continued Guery.
The “feeling blessed” Facebook posts from Decroix suggest it’s now at the top of his list, too.
Wrote the Frenchman:
“It’s been almost 12 weeks since I sat on a horse… My treatment is almost finally behind me, I can not wait to see you all on the contest tracks. Thank you all for being here during this difficult time and especially thanks to Patricia Guery and Jerome Guery who have never stopped being there for us, Alice Tréhoust and me,” posted Decroix.
“This victory is also, for me, the victory of a fight for life and the victory of friendship!!!”
Are you teary eyed, yet? Here’s Guery’s reply:
“Thank you my friend… you and your horse you are machines😊 I am so happy that we can live all these moments together. And today is the victory that we celebrate.”
Said finished in second and Dutch champion Harrie Smolders (NED), third. Niels Bruynseels (BEL) now leads the overall ranking at this early stage of the 2019 season.
The third of the 20 leg LGCT and GCL Championship race takes place next week in Miami Beach. Best start emotionally bracing yourself for it now.