Frenchman Julien Epaillard delighted the home fans when he triumphed in the 1.45 metres class at the Global Champions Tour event in Saint Tropez.
Epaillard, on board Calgary Tame, claimed victory in the five-star event in the French city after finishing in a winning time of 26.66secs.
Sergio Alvarez Moya, riding Kardenta van 't Meerhof, had to settle for second place, while Edward Levy, mounting Uno de Cerisy, came third.
A total of 47 of the world's best international combinations took to the arena for the first day of action.
The first course of the weekend threw up a few challenges for the top athletes in showjumping, including a tricky double on the long side of the arena.
Simon Delestre of France took an early lead with Chesall Zimequest before Japanese rider Mike Kawai, riding Star, put in a speedy round to slot just behind in fourth overall in 27.62.
Nayel Nassar with Oaks Redwood also gave it a valiant try, but couldn’t match their time to stop the clock over a second slower in 28.80.
Epaillard looked determined to better Delestre’s time, setting off at a blistering pace at their home event.
He shaved fractions of a second off the original time to beat, taking the win.
Competition is due to continue tomorrow as teams battle for pole position ahead of the scheduled showdown on Saturday (May 29).