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The LGCT Grand Prix in Rome to Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Casall Ask

Saturday, 12 September 2015
LGCT Rome 2015

Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Casall Ask took another big win when they went to the top of the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Rome. Photo (c) Stefano Grasso/LGCT.
Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Casall Ask took another big win when they went to the top of the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Rome. Photo (c) Stefano Grasso/LGCT.

Rolf-Göran Bengtsson jumped to victory in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Rome, after three fantastic clear rounds on Casall Ask (Caretino x Lavall II). Next to Rome’s Olympic Stadium and in a unique arena surrounded by classical marble statues, the gladiators of showjumping thrilled thousands of fans who lined the natural amphitheatre to cheer on the world’s top riders. It was standing room only as fans packed the grandstands to catch a glimpse of the top riders in the world. Those who arrived early were treated to a spectacular view of the highly sophisticated purpose-built sand arena, as 50 combinations from 23 different countries took to the course designed by Uliano Vezzani. 

The first round saw many of the early contenders fall short of the challenge set by Uliano, as the tricky but fair course tested the best combinations in the world. The challenge lay with keeping the horses switched on to the last fence, with a formidable layout of the final three fences on the home run. With the course set at the full 1,60m throughout, the first part of the double at fence five caught out a few Grand Prix title hopefuls. However a total of 20 riders sailed through clear.

The second round showcased a straightforward but big course, with Uliano Vezzani utilising the full length of the arena to encourage a fast pace. Calculated at 370 meters a minute, the time allowed was 71 seconds in total which proved costly to Christian Ahlmann who jumped clear but uncharacteristically picked up one time fault. The temperature rose as a total of six went through to the jump off. 

The bar was set, and Mexico’s Alberto Michán Halbinger was the first to jump with his bay stallion Camilo LS La Silla (Portofino x Cor de la Bryere), setting the pace at 39.24s but had an unlucky fence down. Denis Lynch and All Star 5 (Argentinus x Alme) followed suit with four faults despite a better time of 39.06s. Luciana Diniz and Fit For Fun 13 (For Pleasure x Fabriano) completed a stunning clear round, the first of the clears and set the pace at 38.00s exactly. Rolf-Göran Bengtsson was next in and rode a masterful clear round with Casall Ask and lighting up the time sheets to the cheers of the crowd as he crossed the finish in 37.87s. The galloping track suited Pénélope Leprevost with her bay 10 year old stallion Vagabond de la Pomme (Vigo d'Arsouilles x For Pleasure), but she was unable to better the time, and went clear in 39.02s, finishing in 4th place. All eyes were on supreme talent Marcus Ehning and Comme il faut (Cornet Obolensky x Ramiro) as he was the last to go, and the crowd and VIP guests were on the edge of their seat as he came home in 38.32s, just fractions away from Luciana. 

It was another win for Rolf-Göran Bengtsson who has had a formidable season with his second Grand Prix title of 2015 with Casall Ask. "I would like to thank everybody. It’s a fantastic show, with a great atmosphere. There is a fantastic crowd for the first year. Everything is really nice and being able to win here with my horse Casall Ask on top of all of it is amazing. Casall Ask is a fantastic horse, year after year, always providing clear rounds like today in Rome. I really want to thank my sponsors, the owner of the horse and of course the whole team who support me,” Rolf said after his win. 

Runner-up Luciana Diniz was also happy after her performance; "I love Rome, I love the show, it’s so beautiful, congratulations to all of you. I want to thank my team as well. They make it possible to do such a great season. I feel like a winner today and I want to dedicate this victory to my children and my ex-husband. I thank all of you for this beautiful show."

“For the first time (staging the LGCT in Rome) it is really unbelievable. I’m having a great time. I think for me it’s one of the best Longines Global Champions Tour stages I have had so far. My horse is nearly the same as the show: he is unbelievable. He has improved again and again over the past year. He is just ten years old so he doesn’t have the top experience for that level but we have good results and I’m extremely happy with him,” Marcus Ehning said after his third place.


Source: Press release from the LGCT

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