Germany’s Christian Ahlmann started off 2016 the way he ended 2015: by winning a five-star Grand Prix. After three World Cup wins in Stuttgart, Madrid and Mechelen, Christian Ahlmann added another major victory to his list by taking home the CSI5* Longines Grand Prix of Basel, riding his longtime partner Codex One. Only the two lady riders Pénélope Leprévost and Luciana Diniz joined the German rider in the jump-off of the two round Grand Prix.
The 14-year-old stallion Codex One (Contendro I x Glückspilz) seemed to have no trouble at all with the tough courses set by acclaimed course builders Frank Rothenberger and Gérard Lachat. While nine combinations were able to clear the first round within the time allowed, the second round took its toll. Only Codex One, Vagabond de la Pomme (Vigo d’Arsouilles x For Pleasure) and Fit For Fun (For Pleasure x Fabriano) were able to leave all the rails up for a second time and make the time allowed. Another horse cleared both courses with loads of air: Glock’s Cognac Champblanc (Clearway x Caretino), ridden by Dutch rider Gerco Schröder. Unfortunately, the massive jumps of the mighty grey gelding took too much time, so Schröder and Cognac ended up on a time penalty in both round A and B, ending up fourth.
France’s Pénélope Leprévost and Vagabond de la Pomme were first to clear both round A and B. The 11-year-old stallion again showed his unlimited ability, while Pénélope showed why she is ranked 6th on the Longines World Rankings. Switzerland’s home favorites Claudia Gisler, Martin Fuchs, Jane Richard Philips and Werner Muff all cleared the first round, but were unlucky in the second. Claudia Gisler and the striking Cordel (Catoki x Coriano) got a rail on the penultimate fence, while both Martin Fuchs and Werner Muff had troubles in the beginning of the second course. Jane Richard Philips and Pablo de Virton (Andiamo x Kashmir van Schuttershof) got an unlucky fault on fence five.
After Pénélope Leprévost showed how it was done, Christian Ahlmann made it look easy again with Codex One and was second to qualify for the jump-off.
A year after their victory in the Longines Grand Prix of Basel, Portugal’s Luciana Diniz and the wonderful mare Fit For Fun showed their exceptional talents again in the prestigious five-star Grand Prix and qualified as third for the jump-off.
Pénélope Leprévost gave it all with Vagabond de la Pomme, but got a rail on fence six in their race to victory, 4-36.65 seconds. Christian Ahlmann and Codex One avoided great risks, riding a determined clear round: 0-37.72. As last to go and last year’s winner, all the odds were on Luciana Diniz and Fit For Fun’s side. They ‘only’ had to defeat Ahlmann’s time of 37.72 seconds. Unfortunately, Luciana and the lovely For Pleasure-daughter had an early rail at the oxer at five and got another mistake on the penultimate fence, finishing on 8-36.85 seconds – and had to settle for third this time around.
Besides the honor of winning the prestigious Grand Prix of Basel, Christian Ahlmann received 100.000 Swiss Francs (92.000 euro) for his victory. As runner up, Pénélope Leprévost received 75.000 Swiss Francs (69.000 euro), while Lucian Diniz earned 50.000 Swiss Francs (46.000 euro). Gerco Schröder and Glock’s Cognac Champblanc finished fourth while Belgium’s Jérôme Guery and Papillon Z (Perhaps x Cassini I) ended fifth.
Text © World of Showjumping by Peter van der Waaij// Picture © Tiffany van Halle
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