USA's Jack Towell and the 10-year-old gelding New York (Verdi x Watzmann) stole the show today after a phenomenal 15 rider jump-off, winning the CSI5* 1.50/1.55m feature class of the day, and taking the lion’s share of the $377,500 prize money. World number 3 Scott Brash finished agonisingly close - just a tenth of a second behind the American - after an impressive showing with the 10-year-old chestnut gelding Hello Forever (For Pleasure x Nimmerdor). Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano continued his exceptional form, riding the grey stallion Caspar 232 (Casper x Padarco) to third.
The intensity of the competition was fierce, with many of the world’s best horse and rider combinations on form ahead of Saturday’s Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Shanghai. The crowd were on the edge of their seats until the very last fence of the class, with final rider Michael Whitaker and the eye-catching Viking (Jacomar x Almox Prints), powering round the full height class, and looking strong to take the win. But it was not to be, as groans erupted from the watching audience as they rolled the final pole, and despite crossing the line in 34.95s which would have won the class, they picked up four faults to finish in 12th.
The jump-off course called for every trick in the box, with the double of verticals requiring careful set up, seeing a delicate combination before a flat out gallop spanning three quarters of the arena to the last, with a solid hedged fence to finish.
World number 1 Simon Delestre came a strong fourth with the chestnut gelding Chesall Zimequest (Casall x Concerto II), with other combinations of note Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) with VDL Groep Verdi TN N.O.P, Gerco Schröder (NED) with Glock's Zaranza showing for the first time on the 2016 season, Christian Ahlmann (GER) with Cornado II, Ludger Beerbaum (GER) and Chaman, Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) with Lintea Tequila and Gregory Wathelet (BEL) with Eldorado van het Vijverhof all in the fast paced jump-off.
But it was Jack and New York who took the title this afternoon, crossing the line in 35.18s, and winning the class at the final gallop ahead of Scott and Hello Forever, who finished in 35.28s, just a tenth behind, showcasing the top calibre of sport and entertainment on show in Shanghai.
Source: Press release from LGCT / Picture © Stefano Grasso/LGCT
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