‘Maybe if I ate a little less last night I could have been quicker!’ and 12 other GCT quotes that raised a smile this season

  • After 15 thrilling events, the 2017 Longines Global Champions Tour drew to a close at the final in Doha, Qatar, last weekend (9-11 November). So we thought it was high time we took a look back at some of the series’ crowning moments — because you can always rely on the riders to raise a smile or two along the way…

    1. “I said to Scott Brash that maybe if I ate a little less last night then maybe I could have been quicker!”

    Ben Maher on finishing second to his 2012 team-mate — by just 0.06s — in the London leg of the GCT in August

    The LGCT of London grand prix podium: 1st Scott Brash, 2nd Ben Maher and 3rd Denis Lynch. Credit: Stefano Grasso/LGCT

    2. “It will not be easy to match this season again in my career. Every time at the right moment I delivered and I must enjoy it right now.”

    Harrie Smolders, GCT champion of champions and part of the winning Hamburg Diamonds Global Champions League squad

    3. “You helped me to fly today.”

    France’s Julien Epaillard thanks his home crowd for their support en route to winning the Paris grand prix mid-season

    4. “When I finished I thought I was fast, but never fast enough because those guys are really dangerous!”

    Lorenzo De Luca, winner of the Valkenswaard leg of the GCT, ahead of showjumping heavyweights Christian Ahlmann and Maikel van der Vleuten

    5. “To beat Harrie Smolders is very, very difficult as he’s in unbelievable shape — he doesn’t know anymore what one fence down is!”

    Christian Ahlmann summed up what most riders felt this season when pitted against the seemingly unstoppable Dutchman

    6. “I am delighted that I jumped a clear round, and that Scott decided to come today for the team. Not so much for the grand prix though!”

    Irishman Denis Lynch was joined by Scott Brash — who missed the first day of the London show to attend a wedding — to help team Miami Glory win in London, only for Denis be beaten by the Scotsman in the feature class

    7. “You cannot relax — there’s no drop score; you have to be accurate all the time. That’s what makes it so exciting — any team on the right day can win.”

    GCT founder and president Jan Tops sums up the second year of the Global Champions League team competition

    8. “Ben Maher did have me sweating there at the end!”

    Scott Brash (Hello Forever) thrills the home crowd with victory over his 2012 Olympic team-mate in London

    9. “It doesn’t happen so often that you give an Olympic champion some tips!”

    Jos Verlooy teams up with Eric Lamaze for the Hamburg Diamonds — and the advice paid off

    10. “I’m retraining one of my racehorses, so I had a jumping lesson a couple of days ago but I feel quite embarrassed looking at the height I was jumping compared to this!”

    Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton is quite glad to keep her feet on the ground as a GCT spectator

    11. “I was lucky enough to have Scott Brash help me in the warm-up, and I’ll take every bit of advice I can get from him!”

    Young USA rider Paris Sellon teams up with one of the best in the world in the Chantilly leg of the GCL

    12. “It is always nice to compete here in Monaco, because there are so many French supporters, but I wasn’t prepared for quite so many Italian ones!”

    Kevin Staut finishes third to the flying Italian Alberto Zorzi, who was picking up his first grand prix victory in Monte Carlo

    Continued below…

    13. “I think even Steven Spielberg would be very jealous.”

    Harrie Smolders on the Hollywood ending for the legendary partnership between Rolf Goran Bengtsson and Casall ASK — the pair won the Hamburg grand prix on their final appearance before the 18-year-old stallion was retired

    For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday

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