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Christian Kukuk and Checker 47 win the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Madrid

Monday, 20 May 2024
CSI5* LGCT Madrid 2024

Photo © Mackenzie Clark. "I came here with a good feeling, it is an unbelievable show with a beautiful arena, it truly is a pleasure to ride here," Christian Kukuk said after winning the LGCT Grand Prix of Madrid with Checker 47. Photo © Mackenzie Clark.


Edited press release from Longines Global Champions Tour




It was a day for the history books at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, Spain, as Christian Kukuk (GER) won his third Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix, this time onboard Checker 47 (Comme Il Faut x Come On).

Beating Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) and Beauville Z N.O.P. (Bustique x Jumpy des Fontaines) in an electric sold-out arena in Madrid, Kukuk secured his golden ticket to the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix in style. Fresh from his LGCT Grand Prix win in Shanghai two weeks ago, Gilles Thomas (BEL) finished on the podium yet again, this time riding Ermitage Kalone (Catoki x Kannan) to take third place. 

As the sun began its slow descent over the beautiful Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, Santiago Varela's course presented another clever challenge requiring three key ingredients: Scopey jumping, precise riding and absolute control. Utilising the full expanse of the pristine grass arena and built specifically for the undulating field, the flowing track was a true test for the world’s best, promising thrilling competition for the fifth leg of the LGCT-season.

With eight clears in round one, the course proved just how fit and agile every combination needed to be. In the jump-off, Kukuk was fourth out; with the tightest of turns and a flat-out gallop to the last it could have gone one of two ways, but luck was on his side as Checker made light work of the Longines upright to stop the clock in 45.85 seconds – which put pressure on those to come. Finishing almost a second behind in 46.78, van der Vleuten had to settle for the runner-up position, while a time of 47.89 seconds was good enough for third place for Thomas.

Photo © Mackenzie Clark. The top three in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Madrid: Maikel van der Vleuten in second behind Christian Kukuk and Gilles Thomas in third. Photo © Mackenzie Clark.

Smiling from ear to ear Christian Kukuk said: "Honestly I am a really big fan of this show. To win in front of this incredible crowd here, the atmosphere is outstanding here. I came here with a good feeling, it is an unbelievable show with a beautiful arena, it truly is a pleasure to ride here. I knew the jump-off was going to be fast so I tried everything. I took all the risk to the last, I said to myself just go full speed and I kept galloping home."

Singing the praises of today’s eventual winner, second placed Maikel van der Vleuten explained: "I must say Christian did a great jump-off, he took all the risk - his horse is very quick over the ground, so is my horse Beauville Z N.O.P, but we just couldn’t catch him today, however, I must say, I am very pleased with my second place."

Standing on the podium for the second time in as many weeks, 26-year-old Gilles Thomas echoed the sentiments of those around the world about his 10-year-old stallion Ermitage Kalone. "It’s Ermitage’s first LGCT Grand Prix, it is also his first ever 1.60m 5* Grand Prix. I knew he could do a double clear, but to be on the podium is unbelievable. To be honest he really puts some pressure on us, because really everyone is looking at him, but he is so good that when we start to jump the pressure goes away. He jumps clear after clear, two clear rounds in the GCL this weekend and now again double clear."

Eduardo Alvarez Aznar's 7th place finish in Madrid means he extends his LGCT-lead, to sit first on 127 points. Max Kühner is second on 104 points, followed by Christian Kukuk in third on 96 points and Gilles Thomas on 95 points in fourth.


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