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London Knights win GCL 2018 Championship as all eyes turn to the GC Playoffs

Saturday, 10 November 2018
CSI5* LGCT Doha 2018

Photo (c) GCL / Stefano Grasso. Photo (c) GCL / Stefano Grasso.

London Knights have won the GCL Championship of 2018 after a nerve jangling final blockbuster and will fast track to the semi finals of the GCL Super Cup at the €12 million GC Playoffs next month.

The stand out combination of the season Ben Maher and Explosion W (Chacco-Blue x Baloubet du Rouet) along with team mate Nicola Philippaerts and H&M Chilli Willi (Casall x Lord) faced down ferocious pressure and rode perfect clear rounds to win both the GLC final leg in Doha and the overall GCL team championship.

Speaking about the GCL win for the London Knights, Ben Maher, who has pulled off an extraordinary double by already winning the LGCT Championship, said: “It has been an incredible season. Explosion W has been a great horse all season, I really trust him.”

Paying tribute to team owner Emily Moffitt, who joined the triumphant prize-winning ceremony, and her family of Poden Farms, Ben added: “It is fantastic with the London Knights win. It has been a strong team spirit from the start and we used all our horses and riders.”

There were incredible battles between the top teams in the ranking. The Miami Celtics delivered a spectacular performance with ice cool clears from Jessica Springsteen and U25 rider Michael Duffy rocketing them into second place on the day at the final and, crucially, securing third in the overall GCL season ranking.

Rome Gladiators’ anchor Laura Kraut and Zeremonie (Cero x Quick Star) held their nerve and went clear in a pivotal round guaranteeing the team 4th place in the overall ranking to head straight to the semi finals of the GCL Super Cup avoiding the quarter final first stage.

Valkenswaard United, the main challengers to the Knights all season, were unable to deliver the result they needed in Doha and finished second in the overall ranking of the team championship winning €1.68 million.

In the end the sheer consistency and horsepower of the Knights team saw them hold the ranking lead throughout most of the season of the global circuit. In the final ranking they were an emphatic 40 points ahead of closest rivals Valkenswaard United.

It was drama from start to finish at the GCL Final at AL SHAQAB after a scintillating season of team competitions around the globe. Riders from different countries have been united like never before and team strategy and planning has been intense as highly motivated team owners, riders and managers pulled out all the stops in the championship race.

And with only 16 out of 19 GCL teams eligible to qualify for the GCL Super Cup at the Playoffs there were desperate battles to stay out of the relegation zone producing stories of heartbreak and joy.

New York Empire had a mountain to climb but achieved an amazing result to lift them into 16th place to qualify for the Playoffs. But three teams - Chantilly Pegasus, Cascais Charms and Hamburg Giants - were not so fortunate and ended up in the drop zone.

Read more here.

Press release from GCL

Photo © GCL/Stefano Grasso

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