The newly crowned Dutch Champion Maikel van der Vleuten became the Global Champion in Madrid tonight, winning the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix on VDL Groep Verdi NOP (Quidam de Revel x Landgraf I). In a man-to-man jump-off consisting of Maikel against Marcus Ehning riding Plot Blue (Mr. Blue x Pilot) – Maikel had the advantage of going in as last, and stole the win after three fantastic clear rounds. Third was another Dutch rider; Gerco Schröder on Glock's London (Nabab de Reve x Chin Chin) – making sure to get off to a great start for the new owners of the amazing stallion.
After the first round eleven riders had produced clears, and two were left on a one penalty score. It was a demanding first track that waited for the riders in the big grass ring in Madrid, and it was especially the line from the open water at nine on six short or five forwards strides to a plank at ten that caused trouble. In addition the following line from the oxer at eleven to a combination with an oxer-vertical at 12ab and then a six little forward strides to a vertical-oxer combination as the final challenge claimed victims as many horses ran out of petrol towards the end.
With clear rounds from names such as Eric Lamaze, Edwina Tops-Alexander, Reed Kessler, Daniel Deusser, Laura Kraut, Ludger Beerbaum and Patrice Delaveau in round one – in addition to those riders that ended in the top three – it was set for an exciting second round.
Home hero Sergio Alvarez Moya opened up with a clear round on Carlo 273 (Contender x Cascavelle) – much to the delight of the home crowds, and ended on a four penalty score picked up from round one which eventually was good enough for sixth. The same was the result for Alvaro de Miranda on AD Utje (Monaco x Calypso), while two riders later - which included a clear from Ben Maher to put him on four faults overall - Portugal's Luis Sabino Gonçalves on the lovely Imperio Egipcio Milton (Dollar du Murier x Capitol I) yet again left the fences intact – but on the expense of three time penalties recording four penalties on the time overall. Edwina Tops-Alexander on Ego van Orti (Vigo d'Arsouilles x Darco) got a single unfortunate time penalty to eventually put her in fourth, while Laura Kraut and the super cute Cedric (Chambertin x Carolus I) had two down the second time around. The same went for Eric Lamaze, and Reed Kessler was even more unlucky as three poles fell to the ground. There was no second clear for Daniel Deusser either, but the only nine year old First Class van Eeckelghem (Balou Du Rouet x Feinschnitt I Vd Richter) jumped incredible and finished on a four fault score overall after having the b-element in the combination on the final line down.
Then followed Marcus and Maikel – both posting text book clear rounds on their two stallions. A jump-off was secured. It looked like Gerco would join them as Glock's London jumped amazing yet again, but the pair was a little too slow and recorded a time penalty although on a better time than Edwina – slotting into third ahead of the Australian rider. When neither Eugenie Angot, Ludger Beerbaum nor Patrice Delaveau could repeat their clears from the first round it was down to Marcus and Maikel to battle it out. And with a jump-off close to two seconds faster than Marcus' Maikel stole the win in Madrid – making it Dutch on top of the podium.
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