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Unbeatable John Whitaker and Bertram Allen stretch ranking lead for Valkenswaard United

Monday, 19 September 2016
GCL Vienna 2016

The winning duo: John Whitaker and Bertram Allen. Photo (c) GCL / Stefano Grasso. The winning duo: John Whitaker and Bertram Allen. Photo (c) GCL / Stefano Grasso.

The unbeatable duo of John Whitaker and Bertram Allen have extended the lead of Valkenswaard United in the Global Champions League after a victory in Vienna. It was Valkenswaard United’s fourth win of the inaugural Global Champions League season netting €422,576 in prize money so far - not including the €4.5 million euro bonus to be split between the teams after the final in Doha this November.

It was a superlative performance by the two riders: John brought out his Rio Olympic horse Ornellaia (For Pleasure x Calato) and Bertram rode top stallion Romanov (Heartbreaker x Fedor), brought specifically for the competition in Vienna. They delivered four clear rounds between them - with the two athletes separated by 40 years in age. Before the prize giving John said: “It is getting serious now so it was really good to win today. We’re a good team.” Bertram added: “It could not have been closer going into today with only 1.5 points between us and the next team. It’s more than that now but not by much.”

It puts the team on 309.5 points in the overall ranking but only 8.5 points ahead of Antwerp Diamonds on 301 points, the closest threat in the fiercely-contested team competition. Antwerp Diamonds lost some ground in Vienna coming fourth with the total of eight faults; four each from Harrie Smolders and new transfer Michael Whitaker.

Rome Gladiators were the only other team today to achieve four clear rounds with Laura Renwick on Bintang II (Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve x Orlando) and Jack Towell on Emilie de Diamant AS (Diamant de Semilly x Flipper d'Elle). Their strong showing today earned the team second place on the podium. Third place Monaco Aces were looking strong but four faults from Leopold van Asten on VDL Groep Miss Untouchable (Chacco-Blue x Aldatus) hit their score and pushed them into third place.

“We’ll just try keep the pressure on and keep going clear [in Doha], so Bertram can keep going fast in the second round. We think about ourselves [rather than our rivals], we’re just really focused and try to jump clear rounds. I’m terrible watching - it doesn’t worry me one little bit riding, but when I’m watching Bertram I’m a nervous wreck!” said John Whitaker of Valkenswaard United. 


Source: Press release from GCL // Picture © Stefano Grasso/GCL

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