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Lizziemary and Danielle Goldstein pull off their first LGCT Grand Prix win

Sunday, 09 July 2017
CSI5* LGCT Estoril 2017

Photo (c) LGCT / Stefano Grasso Photo (c) LGCT / Stefano Grasso

Danielle Goldstein (ISR) pulled off her first-ever Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix win with her chestnut mare Lizziemary with a fast jump-off in Cascais. Goldstein took out a stride early on before jumping the double verticals superbly and making a great turn back to the water tray fence. Her acceleration over the big oxer with Lizziemary was followed by a determined gallop to the last. Danielle said she knew she had to go all out in the five-strong jump off and the win was “a dream” as "everyone wants to win a Global Champions Tour Grand Prix”.

Dutch champion Maikel van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Arera were pushed into second place over a full second behind Danielle. It was to be a night when young talent shone on the Atlantic coast of Portugal, as in form Martin Fuchs (SUI) finished in third place on Clooney with Bertram Allen (IRE) and Molly Malone in fourth and Belgium’s Jos Verlooy finished in fifth. The young guns, some of the sport’s biggest speed stars, pulled out all the stops but could not beat Danielle. Young American Jennifer Gates finished 7th in the Grand Prix riding Luftikus S.

Frank Rothenberger made full use of the grass arena, with a time allowed of 81 seconds. The 1.60m track was to prove seriously testing for the world class field. First to go clear was Jos Verlooy (BEL) with Caracas, the pair leaping expressively around the course. Verlooy was visibly delighted with his grey stallion’s performance, the course suiting the large striding horse. Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) soon created a jump-off after a perfect round from VDL Groep Arera C, with the top Dutch rider keeping himself in with a chance of the overall Championship.

The Longines triple combination caught out a few of the top riders, including Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) with top horse Qoud'coeur de la Loge who collected a tally of 12 faults over the tough track. The crowd cheered in appreciation as home hero Luciana Diniz (POR) entered the arena with Lennox. But it was not to be the popular former LGCT Champion’s night, with 8 faults from the pair ruling them out of the running.

LGCT Mexico City Grand Prix winner Martin Fuchs (SUI) and Clooney joined those through to the jump-off, continuing their good results in Cascais. Danielle Goldstein (ISR) blazed around the arena with Lizziemary, securing herself a place in the final round.

Andreas Kreuzer (GER) rolled the final fence with Cavilot, the crowd groaning as they failed to make it through to the jump-off., and LGCT Ranking leader Harrie Smolders (NED) was caught out by the oxer in the Longines combination, before also clipping the back rail on an oxer down the VIP hospitality with Capital Colnardo. Smolders would have a nervous wait to see whether he would keep hold of the overall lead.

One of the final riders to go, Bertram Allen (IRL) showcased a masterful round with top mare Molly Malone V. The pair flew around the course, taking the fences with ease, the Irishman looking dangerous for the jump-off to come.

First to go Jos Verlooy (BEL) set off at a powerful pace with Caracas. The pair looked strong, until the grey stallion tossed his head coming to the Longines double, taking out the first element and picking up four faults. Despite this, they set the time at 48.75s, with four riders yet to come.

Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) and VDL Groep Arera C had a couple of lucky rubs, but were the first to go double clear, setting the time to beat at 47.03 seconds.

Danielle Goldstein (ISR) set off at a pace with Lizziemary, making a phenomenal turn back to the oxer to shave off the seconds. The crowd roared as they stopped the clock in 45.56s, almost two seconds faster than Maikel van der Vleuten. Danger would come in the form of Martin Fuchs (SUI) and Clooney, with the pair blazing around the arena. But the penultimate vertical caught the pair out, dropping them down the order.

Final rider to go Bertram Allen (IRL) had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Flat out through the start, Bertram powered around the fences looking set to take over the lead. But an unlucky pushed them down the result list and off the podium to end fourth.

So, Danielle took the win under the spotlight in Cascais, as Harrie Smolders keeps hold of his overall ranking lead. The Dutchman now sits on 207 points overall, with Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) leaping up to second with 185 points. Christian Ahlmann (GER) drops to third place with 180 points, but with all three in action for LGCT Chantilly all eyes will be on the Tour battle as round 10 kicks off in France.

“It feels great," said Danielle Goldstein. "We come out and we work every day, so it’s a dream to win, it feels amazing. I’m thrilled. We clicked right away [with Lizziemary] - even when I tired her I knew right away that she was my kind of horse, so we’ve been building. We’ve been close a couple of times, so to pull it all together was great. I took a shot at the last but she was with me today. I was happy I was able to execute my plan, and it worked out today. I think everyone wants to win a Global Champions Tour Grand Prix, for me it’s the top of the list at the moment, so I’m thrilled."

Runner-up Maikel van der Vleuten said: “It’s my [fourth podium] this season. I can’t complain so far, I had a few weeks behind me which were a little unlucky. My horse gave me the feeling that she gave everything again. There are six legs to go still, so we’ll see!"


Source: Press release from LGCT / Picture © Stefano Grasso/LGCT

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