It was a test until the last rail, but it was the graceful pair of Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) with the 12-year-old gelding Ego van Orti ( Vigo d'Arsouilles x Darco) and Janne-Friederike Meyer (GER) with the 11-year-old mare Charlotta (Contini x Piano II) representing Shanghai Swans who finished with best score of the day in the Global Champions League of Mexico City.
Donning their custom polo shirts, twelve teams of two walked, planned and practiced together as well as rooted for one another as they took on the challenges of the courses. Set at 1.55m, the first round included fifteen efforts that proved to be a true test for the top riders. Difficult lines and light jumps caused rails and a couple of eliminations. Five of twenty-four riders did negotiate the track without fault, but no teams went into the second round with a zero score.
Eight teams would go through to round two. Shanghai Swans and Doha Fursan Qatar with team members Bassem Hassan Mohammed (QAT) with Argelith Squid (Salito x Gibraltar) and Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) on the experienced Imperio Egipcio Milton (Dollar du Murier x Capitol I), were tied at four faults each and at the top of the scoring board so far. Sitting in third were Cannes Stars, with Kevin Jochems (NED) and Zanzibar (Stoltzenberg x Werther), and Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) on Sunshine du Phare (Kannan x Domino de Moyon), representing the blue and white team.
Eight of the sixteen riders who returned for round two finished with time faults, three with only those time faults added. Tops-Alexander and Laura Renwick (GBR) finished with just one time fault each, and Roger-Yves Bost with two, adding those points to their total. Four riders rode without fault in the second round - Gonzolo Anon Suarez (ESP) representing Madrid in Motion rode a sensational round on a horse he had never competed on before. Maikel van dar Vleuten (NED) of Monaco Aces, Mohammed for Doha Fursan Qatar and Harrie Smolders (NED) with the impressively consistent grey gelding Bokai (Up To Date x Ferro) for Antwerp Diamonds also jumped clear. The pairing have been the most consistent, and potentially valuable, in the GCL so far; jumping every round clear and recording the best results for the team.
However clean rounds are only half of the equation, as the both team members scores are added together, which means every time fault and every rail counts.
Ultimately, the Shanghai Swans topped the field with a final two round score of 10, earning a prize of 60,583 euros. Earning an impressive second place were Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) and Kevin Jochems (NED) of Cannes Stars. Making a name for himself as another 20-year-old one to watch, Jochems was clean in round one and scored five faults in round two. Bosty added 10 to the total, with a final score of 15.
“First I have to say thank you to Jan and Edwina that they gave me the great opportunity to be part of the team. It’s a great chance and of course I was really excited to be part of the team. I like to ride in a team - it’s always a little bit of extra excitement and extra pressure, but also extra fun! Today we had a really great day - Edwina and I walked the course together. I’m proud of Charlotta, she did a great job today. We have a long flight home but it will be a really nice one!” Meyer commented after the Shanghai Swans win.
Edwina Tops-Alexander added: “It was super exciting - it’s a unique experience, as you can choose who you want on your team. We chose Janne to be part of the Shanghai Swans; we know she’s a strong rider. I was a little nervous as yesterday I suggested she changed her entries and she listened to me! I thought it would probably be a little bit like last week, but as we walked the course I thought ‘woah, this is quite big’. I thought she was a little nervous so I felt responsible, but she did an amazing job and like she said, her horse Charlotta hasn’t quite got that experience but, today she gained a lot more experience! We’re just super happy and really excited to continue the rest of the season.”
The GCL now heads to Europe and Antwerp, Belgium, for the third round of competition as the 2016 battle continues.
Source: Press release from GCL // Picture © GCL/Stefano Grasso
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