The opening class of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Monaco was won by Ben Maher (GBR) and Aristo Z (Andiamo Z x Flamenco De Semilly), who set the harbour side arena alight with a lightning round to finish on a double clear in a time of 31.61s. Second went to Constant van Paesschen (BEL), who adds another top three finish to his ever-growing tally, this time with Citizenguard Rioso van de Kapel (Idem D Azur x Glennhidge) in 32.38s, and third went to Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) and VDL Groep Eureka (Chin Chin x Quidam de Revel) in 32.46s.
The opening CSI5* class of the show saw a relatively straight-forward course from Luc Musette, a welcoming test to introduce the horses to this unique, tight arena. With excited crowds gathering along every side, VIPs looking on from the exclusive double-decker stands and rows of international flags leaping about in the wind, this arena can be intimidating for the young and inexperienced rider or mount.
Of the 45 starters, eleven jumped a double clear round with eight riders collecting a time penalty for exceeding the time allowed. Maikel van der Vleuten took the lead from 8th to go and looked like he'd be tough to beat with his speedy grey. Constant van Paesschen rarely enters a class he does't try to win and he was able to shave 0.08s off the leading time. But Ben Maher was not to be deterred, chasing the time down with some daring turn-backs and attacking strides to take the victory.
Source: Press release from the Longines Global Champions Tour
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