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Billy Twomey wins the GCT in Valencia

Saturday, 07 May 2011

Top three - Billy, Ludger and Maikel. Photo by Stefano Grasso.The second leg of the Global Champions Tour took place in Valencia this weekend and it was Billy Twomey and his beautiful stallion Je t’Aime Flamenco (Flameco de Semilly x Landetto) who took home the victory. The two have showed several good rounds the last months and today the crowds saw a satisfied Billy Twomey at the prize giving ceremony.

The first round gave 19 clears that all went on to the second round. Marcus Ehning’s twelve year old mare Sabrina (Sandro Boy x Landadel) jumped better than ever. And the new number four on the Rolex world ranking, Denis Lynch, made the course look easy aboard Abbervail van het Dingeshof (Nonstop x Jus de Pommes). Rolf-Göran Bengtsson had quite a job with Quintero La Silla (Quantum x Chamonix) who had his own thoughts on how to behave in the ring, but Rolf managed to finish the first round on a clean sheet.

Kevin Staut’s nine year old Banda de Hus (Argentinus x Lefevre) had a good round as well. The cute little mare should be one for the future. The same goes for Gerco Schröder’s Nabab de Reve-stallion Eurocommerce London and 23 year old Maikel van der Vleuten's ride VDL Groep Verdi (Quidam de Revel x Landgraf) who both had really nice rounds. Edwina Alexander looked like she was ready for revenge after her fall in Leipzig last weekend and her amazing partner Cevo Itot du Château (Le Tot de Semilly x Galoubet A) did a good job securing a place in the second round.

Both Ludger Beerbaum and Gotha (Goldfever x Prestige Pilot) and Laura Kraut with the wonderful Cedric (Chambertin x Carolus I) produced good rounds as well. Simon Delestre and Couletto (Couleur Rubin x Caletto) were lucky to make a clear as Couletto jumped Simon out of balance over a couple of fences. Winner of the first leg in Doha, Alvaro de Miranda and AD Ashleigh Drossel Dan (Drosselklang II x Ashleigh Brigadier) have grown to become a great team and also made it to the second round together with Eric van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Utascha SFN (Lux x Indoctro), Sh Shakhboot Bin Nahyan Al Nahyan and the Diamant de Semilly-stallion Muscaris d’Ariel, Rodrigo Pessoa and Let’s Fly (Lordanos x Forrest XX), Werner Muff with Kiamon (Kolibri x Ramiro's Match) and Lars Nieberg and Galippo 5 (Giorgio x For Pleasure).

For the second round course designer Frank Rothenberger had made a twelve fence course which included a double at 4a and b, and a difficult triple combination at 8a, b and c with two oxers in and then a vertical as the c-element. The faults came in both combinations but also fence number three, a triplebar that came directly out of a corner and the last fence on the course, an oxer, proved to be tricky.

First to go was Sh Shakhboot Bin Nahyan Al Nahyan and Muscaris d’Ariel. The horse was amazing but they had one down and had to add two time faults to their final result as well. Then there was Kevin Staut and his young mare Banda de Hus. The horse did its best but they had some difficulties and ended up at a total of 24 faults. The horse is inexperienced and it also looked like the change in lightning throughout the course made it even more difficult to get the jumping right. Quintero La Silla once again didn’t quite agree with Rolf on how to behave. The stallion refused to continue between fences seven and the triple combination, and Rolf had to make a circle to make him jump. Quintero kept up his difficult behaviour which resulted in three poles down and they also had to add five time faults to their total score.

Lars Nieberg and Galippo 5 produced a very good round but were unlucky and got the last fence down. Denis Lynch proved why he is number four in the world with yet another good round aboard a well jumping Abbervail van het Dingeshof. Unfortunately the two once again got time penalty which also happened in both rounds in Doha. Rodrigo Pessoa lost his reins over the double, and as a result he got a little out of rhythm which led to three poles down and one time fault. Eric van der Vleuten and VLD Groep Utascha SFN had the triple-bar down followed by a stop at 4a. The last part of their round looked quite good but eleven faults sent them down the list. Billy Twomey and his winning ride Je t'Aime Flamenco. Photo by Stefano Grasso.

The first clear came with Laura Kraut and Cedric. The thirteen year old gelding is really a wonderful horse and the two of them are a great team. Over the winter they have taken home several victories in Florida and last year they were the first to win two GCT legs in a row. At the next start Maikel van der Vleuten made it clear that there would be a jump-off when he had another brilliant round aboard Verdi.

Alvaro de Miranda and Drossel Dan had four faults on the triplebar and also had to see fence 10 down after a tight turn in the hunt of a good time. Werner Muff then had twelve faults before there was time for the next clear when Billy Twomey and Je t’Aime Flamenco got in the ring. The stallion looked a little strong towards some of the fences but Billy’s good riding gave them a place in the jump-off.

Richard Spooner and Cristallo ended up with twelve faults as the horse didn’t jump as good as in Paris three weeks ago. Gerco Schröder is on good form these days but Eurocommerce London looked a little tired and they had to see the b-element in the triple and the last fence down. Also Edwina Alexander had two down and was out of the jump-off. Then there was Ludger Beerbaum and Gotha. The two had their best round in a long time and were the last couple to secure a place in the jump-off although Marcus Ehning and Sabrina had deserved a spot as Sabrina jumped extremely well. Unfortunately they had one unlucky pole down at number 11.

The jump-off consisted off seven fences. Laura Kraut was first to go and had a pole down and the time 40.34. Maikel then rode a safe but yet another good round on Verdi securing him a place among the top three with the time 45.99. Both Billy and Ludger rode fast, but not crazy fast. Although you could see that Billy meant business from the moment he entered the arena and he was already well up on time as he approached the fourth fence on course.  Keeping the ride smooth and lines direct the big striding stallion actually covered more ground than appeared as they stopped the clock in 39.18. Master of the game Ludger Beerbaum’s attempt to chase Billy down with Gotha was unsuccessful as they completed the track in 40.04.

“The horse performed very well. I am delighted with him. I gave him a couple of weeks off before this show and he was fresh here. It is great that we finally got a win at the Global Champions Tour,” Billy said after his win. “I am lucky to have very good horses in my current string. Sue Davies is a great owner and supporter. I am looking forward to the rest of the season with the caliber of horses I have,” he continued.

Ludger was also really happy with his quite young ride Gotha; “I am pleased of how my horse jumped. The second round was the biggest she has ever done. It gives me confidence for the rest of the season. I was watching Billy’s round in the jump-off and I underestimated how fast he was. I slowed down after the combination as I though he had not gone that fast. No question he deserved to win today”.

On the question on how Maikel van der Veluten felt about being the “rising star” of the day he said; “At the moment we have this very good horse. He is not fast. The only thing I could do in the jump-off was to look for a clear. I am very happy to be in third place”.

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