Germany’s Christian Ahlmann won Sunday’s third leg of the Longines FEI World Cup in the Western European League. Riding his girlfriend Judy-Ann Melchior’s Aragon Z (Askari x Kolibri), Ahlmann did a fantastic performance in Verona to beat Great Britain’s Scott Brash on Ursula Xll (Ahorn x Papageno) and home rider Luca Maria Moneta aboard Neptune Brecourt (Cumano x Kayack).
Uliano Vezzani’s track proved difficult enough, yet fair. Many had to see the final oxer fall to the ground though; Marco Kutscher, Eric Lamaze, Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Sergio Alvarez Moya all fell victims of this fence. For Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum it was the triple bar at fence five that caused trouble though as her ride Bella Donna (Baldini II x Calido I) slammed on the brakes so the two parted ways.
Twelve riders went clear over the first round track, and moved on to the jump-off. Luca Moneta was the first to go clear the second time around, crossed the finish line on 44.93 seconds – putting pressure on those to come.
The following thee riders all had faults; Athina Onassis de Miranda had three time penalties, Luciana Diniz had one down and Edwina Tops-Alexander picked up one time fault. Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Cornet d’Amour (Cornet Obolensky x Damiani) looked dangerous with their super time, but unfortunately the last fence hit the ground. Denis Lynch could not stay clear either, but Simon Delestre and Valentino Velvet (Indoctro x Burggraaf) left everything intact on a time of 46.78 seconds.
Christian Ahlmann was the one to take over the lead though. On Aragon Z Christian rode one of his trademark rounds – were nothing looks as fast as it really is. The time was a fantastic one at 44.38 seconds. Last weekend’s winner in Lyon – Maikel van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Verdi (Quidam de Revel x Landgraf I) – were also clear in 47.12 seconds, in the end it was good enough for 6th. Pius Schwizer ended on a time of 45.09 with Picsou du Chene (Le Tot de Semilly x Caloubet du Bois), eventually ending fourth – while Marcus Ehning and Plot Blue (Mr. Blue x Pilot) had the time of the day but on the expense of one down.
Last to go was Britain’s Scott Brash, and he was the only one to do anything about Christian. Setting off in full speed, Brash nearly matched Ahlmann but a small pull back on the approach to the last fence set him a little behind on 44.47 seconds – and Scott had to settle for the runner-up spot.
Result: 1, Aragon Z (Christian Ahlmann) GER 0/0 44.38; 2, Ursula Xll (Scott Brash) GBR 0/0 44.77; 3, Neptune Brecourt (Luca Moneta) ITA 0/0 44.93; 4, Picsou du Chene (Pius Schwizer) SUI 0/0 45.09; 5, Valentino Velvet (Simon Delestre) FRA 0/0 46.78; 6, VDL Groep Verdi (Maikel van der Vleuten) NED 0/0 47.12; 7, Ego van Orti (Edwina Tops-Alexander) AUS 0/1 52.59; 8, AD Camille Z (Athina Onassis de Miranda) GRE 0/3 54.12; 9, Plot Blue (Marcus Ehning) GER 0/4 43.41; 10, Cornet d'Amour (Daniel Deusser) GER 0/4 43.43; 11, All Star 5 (Denis Lynch) IRL 0/4 43.92; 12, Winningmood (Luciana Diniz) POR 0/4 47.41.
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