Germany's Daniel Deusser stole the show in Friday’s American Invitational CSI5* feature class in Miami Beach with the beautiful bay gelding Clintop 2 (Clinton x Calvaro Z). The exhilarating jump-off saw the top three riders cross the finish line all within sixth tenths of a second of each other, and all three clearing the field a full two seconds ahead of everyone else. As the sun began to set behind the iconic Miami Beach skyline, 47 of the world’s best horse and rider combinations took to the sand arena lined by enthusiastic spectators and fans. The picture perfect setting made for breath-taking images as the 1.50/1.55m class was streamed live around the world.
Talking about the competition and the intensity of the jump-off which saw only five riders jump double clear, winner Daniel Deusser said: "When we walked the first round we thought it was a really nice, difficult class. In the end the horses jumped it really nice. The conditions are really good so we had 14 clear rounds - in the jump-off there were more faults than expected so when I went into the jump-off I really tried to have a fast round. I had in the back of my head the idea to try go clear because a lot of people before me had one down."
Swiss rider Romain Duguet rode his fiery chestnut mare Quorida de Treho (Kannan x Tolbiac Des Forets) beautifully throughout the competition and into the fast paced jump-off, however missed out on the top spot by just two tenths of a second from Daniel’s time. Belgium's rising star Nicola Philippaerts put in a stellar performance with his stunning grey stallion Zilverstar T (Berlin x Cavalier), however had to settle for third after the electrifying round which had the crowd gasping at every turn.
Following this afternoon’s first CSI5* class, Uliano Vezzani composed a course that was set to test the best in the business. The challenging first round caught out many of the word’s top combinations, with last year’s winner and hot contender for the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Miami Beach Scott Brash having an unusual refusal with Hello Forever (For Pleasure x Nimmerdor), and Irish star Bertram Allen and Quiet Easy ( Quidam''s Rubin x Zapateado) also caught out by the tests that came thick and fast.
A total of 14 riders went through to the jump-off, and as the light began to soften speculation mounted as to who would claim the precedented top spot.
Kent Farrington (USA) rode a brilliantly fast time with Creedance (Lord Z x Notaris) but agonisingly had the last fence down, much to the audible groan of the crowd. The last hope for the American audience was Richard Spooner (USA) and his experienced 18-year-old bay gelding Cristallo (Caretino x Cicero), and despite putting in a blistering round, they had a fence down collecting four faults.
Christian Ahlmann (GER) and Harrie Smolders (NED) both jumped double clear and in good time, however it was Daniel’s brilliantly calculated turn to the penultimate fence which was excpetional, winning him the top prize.
Source: Press release from the LGCT // Picture © LGCT/Stefano Grasso
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