There have been milestone wins, top level comebacks and team celebrations this week. Here is your weekly round-up of just some of the international sporting action from the world of showjumping.
The Olympic champion only needs one stirrup
The 11-time Longines Global Champions Tour grand prix winner Ben Maher returned to top flight competition with his Olympic gold medal-winning partner Explosion W and, proving why he is the best in the world, Ben rode much of his opening round for GCL team Paris Panthers with only one stirrup. The pair went on to finish fourth in Saturday’s LGCT grand prix with the extraordinary gelding producing a flawless double clear, just off the pace of the podium winners.
First five-star grand prix glory for Matt Sampson
In Spruce Meadows, Canada, British rider Matt Sampson landed a milestone and emotional first victory in a CSI5* grand prix riding Fabrice DN. The world number five, Conor Swail, finished second for Ireland.
“It’s my first five-star and for it to be at Spruce Meadows is a dream come true,” said Matt (pictured below). “I grew up watching the greats – Michael Whitaker John Whitaker and Nick Skelton – compete here. It’s what I worked for.”
Nations Cup success for Team GB
Great Britain’s Team NAF landed the CSI3* Nations Cup at Gorla Minore, Italy. The squad produced a near flawless performance to win with a zero score, thanks to double clears from Oliver Fletcher (Hello William), Amy Inglis (Wishes) and Joseph Fernyhough (Calcourt Particle) with a great performance from Joe Whitaker (Hulahupe JR). At the Nations Cup over at the CSIO3* in Prague, Czech Republic, Great Britain took fifth.
Christian Ahlmann proves dominant once again with his “superstar”
Christian Ahlmann of Germany rode the tremendous stallion Dominator 2000 Z to win their second LGCT grand prix of the season in Stockholm, Sweden. Second-placed Henrik von Eckermann (King Edward) picked up the prestigious golden ticket for the Super Grand Prix at the end-of-season Prague Playoffs.
“It was unbelievable, you can tell that all the people here are horse people and know the sport, they are behind every rider and it feels great – I am more than happy,” said Christian, who extends his lead at the top of the season rankings to 34 points clear of two-time champion Ben Maher.
The German rider also apologised to the crowd for denying a home win for their local hero Henrik.
“Dominator is an absolute superstar,” he added. “I am very pleased with my horses and my whole team who work really really hard and I really hope that everything stays sound and focused and we can make it at the end of the season.”
You snooze, you lose, in champagne fights
After finishing second with I-Cap CL Z in the CSI3* grand prix on the Split Rock Jumping Tour, USA, British rider Jessica Mendoza learned the importance of opening your celebratory champagne bottle quickly, receiving an absolute drenching when hers failed to open in time. The outright winner was US rider Molly Ashe Cawley with the 10-year-old Cappuccino (by Comme Il Faut 5), with the sole clear round in round one.
“He brought his A-game today,” said Molly. “I thought it was a tough course – there were a lot of tall verticals and the triple [combination] at the end [rode a bit like a gymnastic]. He dug in today for me.”
Turkish delight in Stockholm
Derin Demirsoy became the first Turkish rider in 16 years to win on the Longines Global Champions Tour, heading Sunday’s CSI5* 1.50m speed class riding Elzas. Local rider Henrik von Eckermann finished just 0.04sec behind on Glamour Girl, with Scott Brash and Hello Shelby just a further 0.08sec away for third place.
Bertram Allen reveals his rising star
Ireland’s Bertram Allen racked up a winning double at the LGCT of Stockholm, winning Sunday’s 1.55m class with Pacino Amiro and topping Saturday’s Future Challenge youngster jumping with the seven-year-old Karlsson (Carrera VDL x Concorde).
“It was definitely a thrilling jump-off,” said Bertram of his 1.55m victory. “It was fast and with Daniel [Deusser] and Peder [Fredricson] both having good rounds I knew I had to take a lot of risks. My horse jumped fantastic today so it was nice to come out on top.”
Jordan Coyle wins Spruce Meadows’ ATCO CSI2* grand prix
Irish rider Jordan Coyle and Picador landed the ATCO CSI2* grand prix in the international ring at Spruce Meadows, Canada, after an 11-way jump-off. Jordan was the pathfinder and laid down an incredibly quick clear in 43.98sec to claim victory.
Stockholm Hearts take the lead in GCL
“It is so nice to do the home win in front of this crowd, when you are on a horse like my fantastic Indiana she makes my life so much easier,” said Malin. “But of course, the pressure makes it harder but she is in super form and we are doing amazing at the moment.”
Grand prix glory for Laura Renwick
At the CSI2* Bonheiden, Belgium, Laura Renwick and MHS I’m The One proved top class to win the grand prix after a 12-way jump-off.
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