To say Ines Joly was an underdog in the CSI5* LGCT Grand Prix du Prince de Monaco is an understatement.

The French rider has won three Grands Prix over the course of her career, the highest at 1.50m. Of her 68 career podium finishes, only four have been at 1.50m or higher (Jumpr Stats).

Two years ago, the 27-year-old was working full-time as a nurse.

Her mount for the class, Amassador Z, is equally unproven at the level. Partnered just this year, the 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Aganix du Seigneur x Illustro) had jumped only five rounds at the 1.60m height before heading into Saturday’s Grand Prix—all this season and none clean.

Their previous best finish, and only other 5* Grand Prix appearance, was a five fault performance in the LGCT Grand Prix of Shanghai.

Suffice it to say, if the odd makers ranked the field, Joly would have been a long shot and she would have agreed.

“If you’d told me two years ago that I would be winning my first 5* grand prix at the Longines Global Champions Tour I would have still been there with my mask during Covid and saying you’re dreaming. It truly is a dream,” said an overjoyed Joly.

But any top show jumper will tell you, if you don’t believe you can do it, there’s no point in trying. And that’s precisely what she did.

After the first round, Joly’s win chances improved considerably as one of only two riders to qualify for the jump off in Monaco. But up against the veteran partnership of world no. 3 Max Kühner and Eic Too Up Jacco Blue, they certainly weren’t in her favor.

“I knew I had one chance so I thought, f*ck it, let’s try! It was the chance of my life and I took everything I could.”

Joly set the time to beat in an efficient 42.32 seconds to post her first ever double clear in the 5* Grand Prix, a career crowning achievement on its own.

With experience on his side and €1.5 million reasons to leave nothing on the table, Kühner knew he could catch the time and did, stopping the clock in 41.24. But a rail at the last cost him the win.

“He felt really good in the jump off,” said the Austrian. “I thought, just ‘stay cool’ and ride it home. Maybe I should have fought a little more… EIC Up Too Jacco Blue likes me really to fight and work a little bit on him, and now it looks like it wasn’t quite enough.”

As for Joly, the feeling was “out of this world.” 

“I never imagined this, it’s amazing and incredible.”

Kühner now extends his 2024 LGCT Championship lead to 208 points, with Andreas Schou in second on 192 points and Eduardo Alvarez Aznar in third on 161 points.