Ludger Beerbaum took a sensational second Grand Prix win on the 2016 Longines Global Champions Tour following a competition set against the beautiful backdrop of the Chateau de Chantilly. Riding the 13-year-old mare Chiara 222 (Contender x Coronado), the master of the sport took his second win of the 2016 season claiming the full 40 points available and shooting up to second on the overall rankings. Compatriot Daniel Deusser came a close second, just tenths of a second from the lead with First Class van Eeckelghem (Balou du Rouet x Feinschnitt I vd Richter), and Columbia’s Daniel Bluman took third place with Conconcreto Apardi (Corland x Kannan).
The cream of showjumping featured heavily in Chantilly for the seventh leg of the tour, with a nail biting eight rider jump-off which left the thousands of passionate crowds right on the edge of their seats. The high calibre field in the jump-off produced extraordinary split second finishing times, repeatedly shaking up the final result.
50 riders took centre stage as the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Chantilly got underway. The first round course set by Luc Musette required careful horses and scopey jumping; light poles and full height verticals demanded precision jumping, with the temptation to gallop at the fences in the large grass arena. With wide oxers followed by delicate 1.60m verticals, the course tested the elasticity of the horses, and the forethought of the riders.
A few big names were caught out, including LGCT ranking leader Christian Ahlmann, who unusually tipped two fences with Colorit (Coriano x Capitol) during round one - breaking his six consecutive run of Grand Prix placings on the tour so far. Last year’s winner Gregory Wathelet was another to miss out on round two, joined by Jerome Guery, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Patrice Delaveau.
Those through and at the sharp end of the grid were Luciana Diniz (POR) with the chestnut mare Fit For Fun 13, Pieter Devos (BEL) with Espoir, home rider Robert Breul (FRA) with Arsouille du Seigneur, young talent Jos Verlooy (BEL) and his phenomenal grey stallion Caracas, Daniel Bluman (COL) with Conconcreto Apardi and Hans-Dieter Dreher (GER) with Cool and Easy. Other big names through included the legendary Ludger Beerbaum (GER), Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) with his formidable stallion Casall Ask, Lauren Hough (USA) with the eye-catching Cornet 39, Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) with Caretina de Joter, Jessica Springsteen (USA) with Cynar V and Daniel Deusser (GER) on First Class van Eeckelghem. Home rider Julien Epaillard (FRA) lead the way into round two, much to the delight of the packed local crowd, after a blistering round with Quatrin de la Roque Lm.
The second round saw a testing course, with a tough triple catching out many of those through. The same delicate poles cost a few their place in the jump-off, as the crowd watched in anticipation to see who, if any, would jump clear and ensure a third round.
David Will and Olivier Philippaerts both put in two brilliant clears, however carried the four faults through from round one, meaning they would not progress any further. Jessica Springsteen rode two stunning rounds, however narrowly missed out on the jump-off. Compatriot Lauren Hough was also caught out by an unlucky first rail at the triple, and unable to go through to the jump-off, and Jos Verlooy jumped a stunning double clear with Caracas (Casall x Colman), however were a touch over the time and picked up an agonising time fault.
A total of eight riders went through to the jump-off with a world class line up promising scintillating competition. Ludger Beerbaum, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, Edwina Tops-Alexander, Luciana Diniz and home rider Robert Breul were just a few of the names who lined up for the final round of action. The jump-off course can only be described as a gallop, full of sharp turns and long distances ensuring an exhilarating final.
First to go were the mighty combination of Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Casall Ask (Caretino x Lavall I), however the pair took the corner a touch too tight to the second fence - the full height 1.60m vertical - knocking the light pole and side-wing and leaving them with four faults and a base time of 39.75s. Next up Leopold van Asten also had an unlucky pole down at the wide oxer, proving the final round would be a test for even the world’s top riders.
Edwina Tops-Alexander and Caretina de Joter (Caretino x Contender) were the first to ride a beautiful clear round, putting the pressure on the remaining riders as they crossed the line with a spectacular time of 39.77s. Next to go were Germany’s Daniel Deusser and First Class van Eeckelghem who rode a beautifully crafted round; they took a stunning line to the double, taking a stride out which suited the long striding horse, and crossing the line in 38.98s.
Ludger Beerbaum and Chiara were next to go and took six strides to the double however their turn was sensational, with the pair pipping Daniel to the line in 38.28s just tenths of a second ahead.
Columbia’s Daniel Bluman and Conconcreto Apardi rode a flat out round, but couldn’t beat the German’s time coming home in 39.45s. The final rider to go was 2015 LGCT Champion of Champions Luciana Diniz who looked to be a huge threat for the win, until she and Fit For Fun clipped the final pole at the last following a flat out gallop and collecting four faults.
So it was legend of the sport Ludger Beerbaum who took the win, his second out of four competitions on the Longines Global Champions Tour so far. The tour now turns to leg 8, where it will return to France and the star-lit city of Cannes for the next stage in what is turning into a fascinating 2016 season.
“I saw Daniel [Deusser’s] round and it gave me the right kick," said Ludger after his win. "I think he really went for it, leaving one stride out. I wasn’t really sure if I should go for it also at that point - I jumped the double and went for it, saw the five and put in six, so thought "**** I have to get going!” I spun back to the vertical, hoping there was a stride, and luckily there was one, so I think I made it on that turn. I’m really happy I have the opportunity to ride [Chiara] - she’s a horse I can really rely on. She’s fast, it’s only our second CSI5* win and she’s only jumped three, so I’m really pleased. I’m also pleased with my overall standing position; of the seven legs, I’ve only competed in four. One in Shanghai, I was clear in the first round but couldn’t go in the second as Chaman didn’t feel right. Originally the plan was to go to Madrid, however I had to cancel due to Chaman’s breeding schedule. This was also the reason I didn’t go to Miami and Mexico - I suffered a bit watching from home via GCT TV, and watching them go! For the moment with the four results I think I can be really pleased. At the very end only the seven best [results] count, so I still have some hope.”
Deusser was not too upset about ending second: “My strategy was absolutely to try my best to win today. I knew that I didn’t have the naturally fastest horse, so I decided to try and do five strides to the combination, which I think no one else could do afterwards. Still at the end it was just not enough, but nevertheless I was very happy with the way he jumped the three rounds today, and I’m going to try again!"
“It feels good [to be on the podium again]. I always say the first time is beginner’s luck, with my first podium in Hamburg, but twice on the podium means we’re doing one or two things right so we’re feeling really good. Being part of the Global Champions Tour definitely makes you a better rider, just by seeing the best riders in the world and the team’s work. I’m delighted to be here today,” finished third placed Daniel Bluman.
Source: Press release from LGCT // Pictures © Stefano Grasso/LGCT
This photo has been added to your cart !Your shopping cart »