Today at LGCT London: Two brilliant birthday gifts, a Team GB rider’s comeback and a double for the Dutch

Our top five moments from day one at the Longines Global Champions Tour of London

The Longines Global Champions Tour launched in to London in dazzling style today (2 August) with the show’s first day of sporting action proving top class. Here are our top five moments from day one — and roll on day two.

1. Before most people had finished their breakfast this morning, the British national anthem was ringing out for London-based rider Imogen Beecroft. She and her new horse Chablis ET produced a smashing round to lead a GB one-two-three in the opening CSI2* class.

2. We can’t think of a better gift on your birthday than a hugely coveted LGCT winner’s rug and lucky Matt Sampson could celebrate turning 29 in fine style after claiming the second British victory. He headed a seriously competitive CSI2* 1.40m two-phase riding the hugely talented eight-year-old Geneve R. However, his birthday haul was almost trumped when we saw what Ben Maher had given his GCL team-mate Emily Moffitt for her birthday last month — his ‘n’ hers chairs fit for Knights…

GCL London Knights chairs presented by Ben Maher to Emily Moffitt

3. Among the prize-winners in Friday’s CSI2* classes was a certain Tim Gredley. Having represented Great Britain at the world championships in 2006, Tim has taken some time out of the sport — most recently to enjoy a successful career as a point-to-point jockey. However, he is looking better than ever back over the coloured poles at only his second international show since 2016 and we fully expect to see him in the winner’s enclosure before the curtain falls on Sunday.

4. The afternoon belonged to the Dutch, with both CSI5* classes won by Jur Vrieling (Dallas VDL) and Harrie Smolders (Cas), who are always impressive to watch against the clock.

5. The London Knights gave the crowds plenty to cheer about as a double clear from team-mates Ben Maher (Explosion W) and Olivier Philippaerts (H&M Extra) puts them in pole position going in to tomorrow’s decider for GCL team honours, where the Knights will be hoping to defend the title they won here in 2018. “Explosion W felt good, he felt fresh, so we’ll have to have a talk after this and see what the plans are for tomorrow,” said Ben. “But the team’s in top position; we are last to go tomorrow. We did everything we could today, so hopefully it continues. I hope we’re standing here tomorrow.”

Tomorrow is officially “Super Saturday” — and with both the GCL decider and prestigious LGCT Grand Prix taking prime billing, the Royal Hospital Chelsea is definitely the place to be.

You can read the full report from the London leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour, with exclusive insight and interviews, in next week’s Horse & Hound, out Thursday 8 August.