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Penelope draws the longest straw in Vienna

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Top three in Vienna - Penelope, Meredith and Gerco. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.In front of  a historic and impressive backdrop in Vienna, it was Peneleope Leprevost who went all the way to the top and took home the Global Champions Grand Prix. The win in the penultimate leg of the series this season came aboard Mylord Carthago *HN, and the French rider left Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum on Bella Donna and Gerco Schröder on Eurocommerce London behind her. The 18 best riders from the first round qualified for the second round in Vienna. Only six cleared the first round though, and they got company from three riders with one time fault and then nine on four faults.

Simon Delestre and Valentino Velvet started the second round in the best possible way, and cleared the demanding course.  Simon ended on the four faults he had in the first round. Ludger Beerbaum got an unexpected refusal on the a-element of the triple combination with Chaman who slammed on the breaks on the vertical. The econd time around it went better, but the c-element fell and the stallion seemed to remain tense for the rest of the track. Some time faults were added, as well as the four faults from the first round.

Penelope and Mylord Carthago went all the way! Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.Both Lauren Hough with Quick Study and Ben Maher oh Tripple X got eight faults in the second round which meant that both ended on a total of 12 faults after the both rounds. The inexperienced All Star jumped amazing with Denis Lynch, but the back rail on the first element of the combination fell to the ground.

Next to go was Kevin Staut with Silvana *HDC and they cleared the course. With just the four faults from the first round Kevin took over the lead. Emanuele Gaudiano with the nine year old Cocoshynsky got the b and the c element of the triple combination down as well as the a-element of the combination. He ended the course with 12 faults and had a total of sixteen faults after the two round.

It looked like Nick Skelton and Big Star would get an easy clear in the second round, but unfortunately the last vertical fell and the British rider ended on a total of eight faults. Patrice Delaveau with Ornella Mail *HDC was unlucky and had the front pole of the first fence down. and then cleared the rest of the course.

Meredith really has a star in Bella Donna. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.Then it was time for the three riders that only had one time penalty in the first round. Marlon Zanotelli with the amazing Edesa S Banjan was first to go among these riders, but unluckily he got some problems in the turn to the triple combination as the horse almost stopped out of the turn. Marlon still made it though, but had to push forward to much that the the c-element fell. To his four faults he had to add a time fault from the second round as well as his time fault from the first round.

The  combinations caused problems for Philipp Weishaupt and Catoki as well. He had the a-element of the triple combination down and the b-element of the combination. Andreas Brenner with T.H. Management Cronos was the last riders with one time penalty from the first round and he had to ad 12 faults from the second round to his score.

Then it was time for the riders who were clear in the first round. Rolf-Göran Bengtsson with Carusso LS La Silla was first of them. The world's number one knew when he entered the arena that he had to be nr ten or better to take over the total lead of the Global Champions Tour, so he for sure must have felt the pressure. But with eight faults it didn't look that good, and Rolf went in to seventh place. Christian Ahlmann aboard Codex One got the a-element of the combination down and went in on third place.

Gerco Schröder and Eurocommerce London entered the arena next. The two showed off in the second round and took over the lead from Kevin Staut after being the first double clear couple around Frank Rothenberger's track.  The combination kept on causing problems and Richard Spooner on Cristallo got both element down before Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Bella Donna made sure the audience would get to see a jump-off by being clear in the second round as well. Last to go in the second round was Penelope Leprevost with Mylord Carthago *HN, and with some luck she cleared the course and was the third and last rider to go move on the jump-off.

Gerco and London are in a fantastic form. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.Gerco Schröder and Eurocommerce London were first to go in the three-horse jump-off. Seemingly undisturbed by the recent fuss surrounding the Nabab de Reve-stallion, that has followed the Eurocommerce-bankruptcy, the Dutch rider flew around the shortened track. Airy jumps by the chestnut, some great turns and a race towards the final oxer stopped the clock at 40.09 seconds. It looked really fast, but not unbeatable.

Next was Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum on the extraordinary 9 year old mare Bella Donna. Meredith put Bella’s huge canter into good use, taking advantage of the mare’s massive strides. Even early on in the jump-off, the German rider and her super mare were over a second ahead of Gerco. And the pair kept it up – putting the icing on the cake pushing everything to the max towards the last fence. Meredith and Bella Donna took the lead on 38.67 when they crossed the finish line in front of the floodlight Rathaus in historic Vienna.

Only one rider could threaten Meredith; and it was the French rider Penelope Leprevost riding Mylord Carthago *HN. This accurate rider, who is a style icon when it comes to showjumping, shortened every turn on her flexible grey stallion – making it look easy as she balanced her way around the shortened track. To the last oxer Penelope left the breaks at the entrance and raced to the last shaving off over a second on Meredith’s time; crossing the finish line on 37.16 seconds.

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