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Global Champions Tour in Valkenswaard 

The ninth leg of the Global Champions Tour took place in the Stal Tops private equestrian estate in Valkenswaard (Netherlands) from August 17-19 -only 2 weeks after the amazing Olympic show jumping.

The home for the Global Champions Tour is always a favourite with riders, owners and sponsors alike. The superb facilities created by GCT founder and president Jan Tops have reached new heights each year since the first International Concours Valkenswaard 19 years ago.
In the CSI 5* class on Friday the victory was for American rider Mclain Ward riding Rothschild. Second came Belgian rider Gergory Watelet with Banda de Hus (formely ridden by Kevin Staut). Jessica Sprinsteen (also for the USA) was third.

Ludger Beerbaum
Ludger Beerbaum, winner of the GCT Grand Prix presentend by VDL Groep, riding Chaman. © GCT/Sportfot

Another win for the USA on Saturday in the Medium Tour CSI5* class, with Richard Spooner from California who was clearly in fiercely competitive mood from the start. Riding the 11 year-old mare Billy Bianca, Richard was true to his talent for finding the fastest route round the track and shaving off crucial seconds. He finished in 58.62. Just like the day before, Gregory Wathelet was second (with his other horse, Kronos d’Ouilly), riding a smooth clear round on 58.92. Famous German rider Christian Ahlmann rode another superb round on the fast, talented grey Aragon coming third in 60.76. Christian said he has great confidence in the grey gelding by Askari. He was just ahead of Ben Maher on Aristo Z who finished in 60.99. Ben, who has just won team gold for Great Britain at the Olympic Games, said: “Yes I was really pleased with the round. This is a beautiful course. A great traditional show jumping arena.

The Grand Prix for Ludger Beerbaum

And what about the Grand Prix of Valkenswaard presented by VDL Groep ? Ludger Beerbaum rode three masterful clear rounds on Chaman, to win in 41.32. Rolf-Göran Bengtsson had already set a tough target in the sweltering heat with a beautiful round on Carusso La Silla in 43.43. The normally quiet Swede even whooped with delight as he cleared the final VDL fence after executing smooth but tight turns in the early part of the course. Richard Spooner on his champion ride Cristallo found a way to shave off more than a second and finished in 42.05 - adding to the huge success of the USA riders in Valkenswaard.

Natural fences in the Derby

On Sunday 19 -the final day - Denis Lynch pulled off a great win at the traditional Valkenswaard Derby. The Irish rider skillfully directed Night Train over the 14-fence course with its challenging natural fences and traditional show jumping obstacles. Denis came home in a time of 101.82 with Gregory Wathelet of Belgium just over a second behind on 102.88. They were the only 2 riders to go clear.

Marco Kutscher
Marco Kutscher over one of the Derby fences. © Sportfot/GCT

Talented Emanuele Gaudiano, of Italy, was in 3rd place. Marcus Ehning and his 9-year-old stallion Campbel were stunningly neat over the banks but the masterful German rider clocked up 8 faults.

The Final Medium Tour CSI5* gave McLain Ward (riding Zander) another victory, beating Marco Kutscher (with Cash 63) second and Harrie Smolders (Ned) coming third.

Changes in the ranking board

The GCT ranking board has tightened dramatically after the Valkenswaard Grand Prix. The 2012 series is now more tense than ever with reigning champion Edwina Tops-Alexander still holding on to her overall lead, but with world class riders mounting serious challenges with three events to go. Christian Ahlmann, Marco Kutscher and Philipp Weishaupt have also climbed the ranking following good performances in the Grand Prix.
As the GCT series moves to Lausanne in Switzerland (14-16 September) the leader board is promising a thrilling finale in November.

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Article publié le 25-08-2012

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