It was another phenomenal round of intense action with the competition down to the wire in Shanghai as the Global Champions League made its fourth stop for the 2016-season. Germany's 25-year-old Andreas Kreuzer teamed up with his compatriot, 27-year-old David Will, for the first time to represent the Cascais Charms and the pair delivered a flawless performance over the two round class to take a magnificent win. It was Andreas’ debut on the League, and speaking about the unique opportunity to compete on this level, Andreas said: “It’s an unbelievable experience for all of us. It’s a totally different feeling to ride in this type of competition."
Olivier Philippaerts for the Paris Jets, a team sponsored by the dynamic membership-based private aviation company Wheels Up, helped raise the team up to third with an impressive double clear and speedy second round time. Experienced team mate and world number 6, Gregory Wathelet, who has ridden in every competition so far, spoke of the exciting action the League delivered, saying “it was [down] to the last rider at the last jump - there was pressure on him - for the public it is really good to follow. It’s what the public wants and that’s the good thing about the League.”
The overall championship is still wide open and despite a strong lead by new ranking leaders Valkenswaard United, the competitions so far have shown how quickly the order can change, adding to the excitement and drama of the new series.
11 Global Champions League teams lined up for the Asian leg, with Antwerp Diamonds looking to defend their ranking lead of two points over Valkenswaard United and Monaco Aces.
The first round course put forward enough challenges to test many of the best in the sport, with a few caught out by the tricky combination element. As always, the combined faults of the team riders would determine their place after the first round with the top eight going through to round two. Doha Fursan Qatar put in a strong opening performance, with Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani with Anyway II (No Limit x Farmer) and Faleh Suwead Al Ajami with Come Soon (Come on x Landfriese II) both clear after round one. Joining them were Monaco Aces’ duo of Maikel van der Vleuten with VDL Groep Quatro (Quaprice Bois Margot Quincy x Caletto I) and Leopold van Asten with VDL Groep C Tara Z (Crown Z x Cash), who looked on fine form as the competition unfolded. Andreas Kreuzer of Cascais Charms put in a faultless performance with Zerafina (Sheraton x Numero Uno) and team mate David Will did not disappoint despite the pressure with his horse Monodie H (Carthago x Zeus), meaning they too would progress through with a score of zero.
Eight teams went through to round two, with Antwerp Diamonds, Vienna Eagles and Miami Glory relegated from the next stage of the competition. Roosje Brouwer with van Helsing (Valentino x Stakkato) of Cannes Stars had jumped clear in round one, however picked up an unlucky four faults to add to the one time fault from team mate Marco Kutscher’s earlier round. The Paris Jets carried through four faults, but a blindingly quick clear round from both Gregory with Eldorado van het Vijverhof (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Omar) and Olivier with H&M Henna de Goedereede (Argentinus x Heartbreaker) meant they finished on a combined time of 142.66s. The Monaco Aces matched their fault score, but were slower on combined time, finishing in 145.11s and fourth overall.
The home team Shanghai Swans, who fielded two U25 riders of Jessica Springsteen and Alexandra Thornton each rode a beautiful second round - both clear and with just one time fault for Alexandra. This was added to the 9 faults they carried through, raising them back up to 7th overall.
David Will of Cascais Charms was the final rider of the day with his grey horse Monodie H. With the team completely clear so far, David went for a slow and careful round, knowing that one fence would drop them far down in the order and off the podium positions. As the crowd - and team mate Andreas - watched on completely spell-bound, David and Monodie H rode a beautiful round, clear and picking up just two time faults to put them on the top of the scoreboard.
The Global Champions League now heads back to Europe and Hamburg where the next highly anticipated leg will pick up pace.
Valkenswaard United have re-gained the ranking lead with 100 points in total, just four points ahead of Monaco Aces who currently stand on 96.
Source: Press release from LGCT / Picture © Stefano Grasso/LGCT
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