The Global Champions Tour in Hamburg
The Global Champions Tour of Hamburg started of very early mornings on May 17, with the first 5* competition of the day. French rider Simon Delestre and Quiness du Mezel were the fastest combination to jump all fences clear in a time of 55.04 seconds. Second place was for Michael Whitaker and Ingliston Twister in 55.32 seconds. Third place went to Pius Schwizer on Powerplay finishing in 56.85 seconds.
Asked about why there was a whole team of French riders starting in Hamburg, Simon Delestre commented as follows “Our trainer has decided to start here because the level of competition is difficult and therefore a good test for the rest of the season. All horses jumping here will also jump in the London Olympics.”
On Friday, the 5* class had a height of 1.50m and 52 combinations at the start. First rider to enter the field was Christian Ahlmann on Lorena 111 and he really set the pace. His time of 58.28 seconds proved not to beat by the large field following. Even Markus Ehning, on his big strided Nolte’s Kuchengirl could not catch him and had to settle for second place making it a German double. Michael Whitaker was third, and French rider Kevin Staut fourth.
The Mercedes Benz Championship
The Mercedes Benz Championship of Hamburg had a height of 1.55m and 58 combinations at the start. The course had a few short lines in the combinations especially to the first double and the first triple, which was also downhill. Therefore riders could easily have a fault in the second part of the triple combination. Also the last line proved a bit difficult for some combinations. Last years winner Denis Lynch could unfortunately not defend his title due to the rib injury he suffered last week when falling down during the victory round in la Baule.
British rider Nick Skelton was fourth to go and had a very efficient round with his grey gelding Carlo. His time of 46.53 seconds proved to be too fast for the fourteen combinations behind him. Only the second to last combination, Steve Guerdat and Carpalo looked able to catch Nick but ended up in second place. Simon Delestre could return for the price giving ceremony for the second time today, this time for third position.
One of the toughest Grand Prix of the GCT season so far
On saturday, British rider Nick Skelton produced an electrifying clear round in the jump-off in Hamburg to win
Course designer Frank Rothenberger predicted a seriously challenging 1.60m CSI5* competition in Germany and after two rounds of world class show jumping, the jump off proved to be a thriller. A healthy total of 15 combinations were clear in the first round.
The second round produced some fantastic top-level jumping on the big Hamburg Derby ground in front of a packed crowd. Five riders jumped double clear to clinch places in what turned out to be a thrilling jump off.
Last year’s winner Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Casall la Silla were first to go, setting an impressively speedy clear round in 49.32 seconds. Nick Skelton and his nine-year-old stallion Big Star was uncompromising and took every possible inside track to produce a stunningly quick clear on 47.97. Watching from the sidelines, Swedish rider Rolf knew he was beaten then.
Maikel van der Vleuten started strong, but in the end had two fences down, so it was up to 22-year-old newcomer Katrin Eckermann, who had never ridden in Hamburg or in any GCT event before, to try and beat the decades of international experience of Nick Skelton. Rolf-Göran Bengtsson was second.
After this third leg of the GCT, Australian rider Edwina Tops-Alexander remains top of the leader board so far in the 2012 series.
Global Champions Tour will travel to Wiesbaden in the south of Germany this week-end for the Tour’s first-ever event in Europe’s oldest spa town.
Results of the G.C.T. Grand Prix of Hamburg
- Nick Skelton, Big Star (GBR)
- Rolf-Göran Bengtsson Casall La Silla (SWE)
- Katrin Eckermann, Carlson (GER)
- Janne Friederike Meyer Cellagon Lambrasco (GER)
- Maikel van der Vleuten, VDL Groep Verdi (NED)
Global Champions Tour ranking after Hamburg
- Edwina Tops-Alexander, 96 points
- Marcus Ehning, 82 points
- Maikel van der Vleuten, 64 points
- Denis Lynch, 61 points
- Gerco Schroder, 61 points