The London Knights, led by Britain’s Ben Maher, won the Global Champions League (GCL) leg at the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) of New York this afternoon (Saturday, 28 September). In doing so, the London Knights also won the overall series title.
European champions Martin Fuchs and Clooney 51 paired up with silver medallists Ben Maher and Explosion W for the New York leg of this team competition, the first time these two stellar horses have worked together in the GCL.
“We had to win here to have a chance of victory overall and these two are the best horses in the world at the moment — the dream team,” said Ben after the pair took the lead yesterday with the fastest combined time of the two teams to record a zero score.
In the end, victory came easily today. Valkenswaard United were unable to repeat their fault-free performances of yesterday, with four faults apiece for Marcus Ehning (A La Carte NRW) and Alberto Zorzi (Cinsey), which dropped them to sixth.
The London Knights started knowing they could afford a fence down and still win, or even two if they beat the combined time of 149.72 seconds set by the Paris Panthers. Clears from both Martin and Ben — in 148.18 seconds — confirmed their triumph.
This was London Knights’ second year in a row taking the GCL series title, with Ben and Martin joined in the team by Olivier and Nicola Philippaerts, Gudrun Patteet and Ben’s pupil Emily Moffitt.
“This year we’ve found our strength in depth — we’ve had ups and downs and used every rider and multiple horses,” said Ben. “It was very exciting to win here at the end and it went right down to the wire, but my horse gave me a great ride.”
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The Paris Panthers moved up from eighth overnight to second in this leg with clears today from Irishman Darragh Kenny (Romeo 88) and Harrie Smolders (Monaco).
The Prague Lions took third today, represented by Niels Bruynseels (Garcia De Muse) and Marc Houtzager (Sterrehof’s Dante), with Marco Kutscher (Boeckmanns Lord Pezi Junior) also contributing yesterday.
In the season race, the San Tropez Pirates took second — having led the rankings coming into New York — with the Madrid In Motion landing third.
Full report from the Longines Global Champions Tour in New York in next week’s Horse & Hound magazine (dated 3 October).