Springsteen wows in LGCT London grand prix thriller: ‘This is special, this means a lot’

  • US showjumper Jessica Springsteen topped a thrilling 10-way jump-off to land the five-star grand prix at the London leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT London) on Sunday 13 August.

    Riding the charismatic 14-year-old Don Juan Van De Donkhoeve, Jessica rocketed round Uliano Vezzani’s towering jump-off track to win nearly a second clear of her closest challenger Olivier Philippaerts of Belgium on H&M Miro to record her first LGCT grand prix win for nearly four years.

    “The crowd here in London is unbelievable, it’s such a special atmosphere and they give you so much motivation. It was so much fun!” said Jessica, daughter of Bruce Springsteen, who has represented her country at the Olympic Games , winning team silver with this same horse, and the 31-year-old enjoys plenty of success at the top level of the sport.

    “Don Juan always gets really excited when he hears the clapping and everything like that – it really winds him up, so he’s quite a handful! But this was really special, it means a lot.”

    LGCT London: ‘You’re not going to get a podium unless you go for it’

    The final line from an airy vertical on a sharp bend to the final Longines oxer proved a real conundrum, with most riders opting to hold rather than gamble with taking a stride out, but Jessica’s round was determined and quick from start to finish.

    “With 10 of the fastest riders in the jump-off, I knew it was going to be really quick and you’re not going to get a podium unless you really go for it. I saw one less stride to the last fence and I was like, ‘Should I?’ revealed Jessica Springsteen. “But when you’re going so fast, it’s hard – you can’t really keep pushing. So I said, ‘No, reel it in!’ Because I had the last jump down in the Paris grand prix, so I was thinking about that a bit. But Don Juan was incredible.”

    When Jessica’s nippy jump-off round is compared with Olivier’s in the head-to-head below, you can see how much time she makes up on a staggeringly quick turn back to the double, midway on course.

    Finishing third in front of the imposing Royal Hospital Chelsea on the final day of the LGCT London, and claiming an astounding 24th LGCT grand prix podium, was Dutch showjumper Harrie Smolders on the great Monaco NOP.

    Best of the British riders was a delighted fifth-placed Olli Fletcher riding Hello William in his first ever five-star grand prix jump-off, on a horse who has made a remarkable comeback after colic surgery.

    Jessica’s victory in the LGCT London grand prix earns her a ticket to the LGCT Super Grand Prix in Prague in November. In the overall LGCT Championship standings, Maikel van der Vleuten still leads on 238 points, nine points ahead of Harrie Smolders, with Christian Kukuk sitting in third.

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