Ludger Beerbaum and Gotha FRH (Goldfever x Prestige Pilot) rode two fantastic rounds at Piazza di Siena to claim the Grand Prix in Rome. The Italian crowds got to see some really impressive sport in the Loro Piana Citta di Roma Grand Prix, with some of the world’s best riders chasing each other for the win. As on Friday, the Germans dominated with Christian Ahlmann and Taloubet Z (Galoubet A x Polydor) in second, and Marco Kutscher on Cornet Obolensky (Clinton x Heartbreaker) in fourth – making it a hugely successful weekend for the team.
Thirteen riders managed to produce clears in the first round, and moved on to the second part of the competition. The first round track consisted of thirteen fences and included a vertical-oxer combination at 5a and b, and an oxer-oxer-vertical triple combination at 9a, b and c – and a final line with a water jump to a gate and then to an oxer. Most faults came on the nightmare fence of the weekend for many, a grey vertical that claimed many victims at Piazza di Siena. Many also had the gate at fence twelve down, that followed from the huge water jump.
The first to go in the second round was Harrie Smolders who rode a great clear on Exquis Walnut de Muze (Nabab de Reve x Chin Chin) the first time around. This time luck wasn’t on Harrie's side though and he took the last fence – the gate with a striped pole on top – with him. Natale Chiaudani kept his cool around the shortened track though. The Italian rider really fought to make it to the jump-off on a very well jumping Fix Design Almero (Asti Spumante x Gajus) , and yet again he managed to produce a clear round in front of the ecstatic home crowds which literally exploded! In the end Natale’s time of 48.31 was good enough for seventh. Guy Williams followed Natale with four faults, after having the second oxer down.
The shortened track consisted of eight fences. It was possible to make a really tight turn from two to three, and from the combination at 4a and b to the following vertical and then a long stretch could be used for galloping down to the oxer at number six. Then a tight turn to a vertical followed before it was do or die with a stretch down to the last gate. Marco Kutscher and Cornet Obolensky had no problem with handling the challenges though, and were clear on the time 45.59 to take a provisional lead after a really tight and accurate turn from number two to three. Simone Wettstein produced yet another clear as well – although a bit slower. Jur Vrieling really tried to catch Marco, but VDL Bubalu (Baloubet du Rouet x Nimmerdor) is a big horse and not the easiest to turn and the two ended a little behind on 46.04.
Britain had no less than four riders in the second round. Tina Fletcher was one of them, but went for a more steady clear – while her compatriot Peter Charles really tried to hunt Kutscher down on a very well jumping Murka’s Vindicat W (Guidam x Libero H). The two really impressed in the first round, and looked dangerous – but unfortunately the two last fences fell. Janika Sprunger gave it a go on the bouncy Palloubet d’Halong (Baloubet du Rouet x Muguet du Manoir), and the two flew around the track on 45.67 seconds after a fast gallop to the oxer at six and to the last gate as well.
Then it was time for Marc Dillaser on Obiwan de Piliere (Dimant de Semilly). The French rider really tightened the turn between two and three and jumped the vertical at fence five at a great angel, and raced around the remaining track to cross the finish line on 45.10 and took the lead to wild cheers from the crowds. It didn’t last long though as Christian Ahlmann entered the arena next on Taloubet Z. The pair is like a well oiled machinery, and the stallion turns like nobody else – their turn to the penultimate vertical was unbelievable and Taloubet Z almost jumped from a standstill. The time looked unbeatable; 44.58 seconds!
Ludger was next to enter the ring. Gotha FRH had jumped fantastic in the first round, but the big question was Christian’s fantastic time. The German veteran managed the seemingly impossible though; a fantastic turn from fence two to three and a flat out gallop from fence five to six helped secure the win – and put them at an unbelievable fast time at 43.10! Yesterday’s winner Billy Congo (Vectha x Animo) continued to jump super today as well, and produced another clear round for William Funnel first time around – but unfortunately they had one down in the second round. A weekend of fantastic sport in beautiful surroundings was closed off with double German on top!