Eighteenth in the ring for the LGCT Grand Prix of Ramatuelle on Saturday and first to find a clear path around Gregory Bodo’s 1.60m track, Max Kühner watched calmly ringside as the class unfolded.

That is, until series leader Eduardo Alverez Aznar (ESP) entered the ring—and delivered a clear—on Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot and the Austrian sprang out of his seat.

“He’s the leader of the [LGCT] ranking at the moment, so for sure we look at him,” said Kühner. “But I also look at him because I’m quite fascinated [with] him and his partner Rokfeller—19 years old, jumping his whole life with him together, how they perform from show to show.”

Kühner has every reason to be intrigued.

At age 19, Alverez Aznar’s longtime mount is posting the best results of his LGCT career at a time when most show jumping horses are in the field soaking up retirement. The L’Arc de Triomphe gelding has jumped clear in 75% of eight 1.60m rounds on the 2024 LGCT tour, including in the first round of LGCT Grands Prix of Doha, Miami Beach, Mexico City, Madrid and St Tropez (Jumpr Stats). That’s five consecutive LGCT Grands Prix.

What’s more, their top 10 finish rate on the circuit is an eye-opening 88% at the height, with an average of just 0.7 faults. [Mind-blown emoji]

By comparison, their previous best year on the Global Champions Tour was in 2018, when the pair averaged 1.4 average faults over 13 rounds at 1.60m and jumped clear and into the top 10 at 54% and 55% clips respectively.

Suffice it to say, Kühner wasn’t the only one on the edge of his seat as the two went head to head in the four-horse jump off in St Tropez.

First to return, the Austrian and Eic Up Too Jacco Blue set the time to beat in a blistering 36.39 seconds, despite a hasty added stride to the last.

Simon Delestre (Cayman Jolly Jumper), Alvarez Aznar (Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot) and defending champion Julien Epaillard (Donatello D’Auge) gave chase, but none were able to catch the time.

“What a day, it’s great to stand back on top of a Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix podium again, particularly here in Ramatuelle, St. Tropez with [F1 driver] Max Verstappen watching us,” Kühner told GCTV.

“My horses have been so consistent this season so it makes this season’s championship exciting to be part of.”

According to Jumpr, Kühner is currently ranked third on podium finishes (5) and prize money won (€233,898) on the LGCT. He’s collected 1.60m wins in St Tropez and Madrid on Eic Up Too Jacco Blue and a second place finish in the 1.60m LGCT Grand Prix of Miami Beach on Eic Cooley Jump the Q.

As of Saturday, he’s now booked his ticket the LGCT Super Grand Prix in Riyadh and is closing in on individual series leader Alvarez Aznar who currently sits on 162 points to Kühner’s 144.

The LGCT next heads to Cannes, June 6–8.