Christian Ahlmann ensured all eyes were on the LGCT ranking leader as he took a fantastic win in Friday evening’s feature class in Cascais, Portugal, with the 9-year-old stallion Caribis Z (Caritano x Canabis Z).
The CSI5* 1.50/1.55m Camara Municipal De Cascais class was met by 36 international competitors from around the globe, with many of the best horses and riders in the world taking to the stunning Portuguese setting to battle it out in the final round of action ahead of the Grand Prix.
Frank Rothenberger’s flowing course utilised the full length and breadth of the arena, with the riders able to open up the horses to gallop across the distances while requiring accuracy, delicacy and scope. The time allowed of 85 seconds was tight in the huge open grass arena, with riders including Ludger Beerbaum and Chaman (Baloubet du Rouet x I Love You) as well as Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani and Carolina (Colman x Ramirado) picking up a time fault despite jumping beautiful clears.
A total of eight riders went through to the jump off, and amongst them some of the very best in the world. Christian Ahlmann (GER), Scott Brash (GBR), John Whitaker (GBR), Ben Maher (GBR), Olivier Philippaerts (BEL), Marco Kutscher (GER), Faleh Al Ajami (QAT) and Marc Houtzager (NED) were the riders to go through, ready to take on the fast paced jump-off.
First to go Olivier Philippaerts put in an impressive effort to cross the finish line with H&M Henna de Goedereede (Argentinus x Heartbreaker) in 47.48s after the pair galloped the long course, making up time between jumps and cutting as tight as they could to the corners. The next to try fought hard but failed, until Christian Ahlmann entered the ring. The powerful stallion galloped flat out to the jumps, with the beautifully balanced top German rider giving a masterclass in how to win such a fast-paced class. They pipped the young Belgian talent to the line, finishing fourth tenths of a second ahead in 47.28s.
Marc Houtzager and Sterrehof''s Calimero ( Quidam de Revel x Libero H) were the penultimate riders to go, and came home a strong third place overall. It was a good result for Great Britain, with Rio Olympic combination John Whitaker and his brilliant mare Ornellaia (For Pleasure /xCalato) taking fourth and his compatriot Ben Maher with Sarena (Calvaro x Damoiseau d''Or) close behind in 5th. Marco Kutscher with SIEC Carsten (Cassini I x Quinar) rounded out the top six as the riders now look to tomorrow’s LGCT Grand Prix.
Source: Press release from LGCT // Picture © Stefano Grasso/LGCT
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