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Paris Panthers launch into Championship lead after win in GCL Madrid

Friday, 12 May 2023
CSI5* LGCT Madrid 2023

Photo © GCL Paris Panthers' Jur Vrieling and Harrie Smolders won the GCL-leg in Madrid, here with team manager Rob Hoekstra. Photo © GCL.


Edited press release from Global Champions League



The much-awaited GCL of Madrid presented by Caixabank at the prestigious Club de Campo Villa de Madrid was a spectacular showcase of world-class horses and riders.

On the opening day of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Madrid, the two GCL rounds kept spectators on the edge of their seats as Stockholm Hearts powered by H&M We Love Horses and Paris Panthers went head to head for the top spot on the podium.

With Club de Campo Villa de Madrid's expansive grass arena known for its unpredictability, it was down to the wire as the last three teams to go in round two ultimately took podium positions.

Just two teams entered the second round on a clean sheet; Stockholm Hearts and Paris Panthers. After clears from Nicola and Olivier Philippaerts in round one, Nicola followed up with another clear in round two but an unfortunate ten faults for Olivier left the twin-brothers on ten penalties overall.

As last to go, Harrie Smolders and Bingo Du Parc (Mylord Carthago x Diamant de Semilly) alongside Jur Vrieling and Fiumicino van de Kalevallei (Plot Blue x Nabab de Reve) kept their cool in round two. A clear from Vrieling, and a single rail for Smolders saw the team finishing on four penalties ahead of Stockholm Hearts in second and St Tropez Pirates in third on twelve faults.

Commenting on the Paris Panthers' win, Harrie Smolders spoke of the team’s strategy heading into GCL Madrid: "Victory always feels great. I think with four different horses, it is not so easy. I left the door open a little bit at the end with the time but it made it even more exciting. Our’s and everyone’s expectations last year were very high because we have a very strong rider team. But in the end it is all about horsepower."

With the new GCL format launching in 2023, Jur Vierling spoke of how it’s affecting team strategy and ultimately results: "I very much like this new format of having both rounds back to back. For me I did the tactic to put Fiumicino in the second round because he is a little bit faster and time counts more. It is good for the horses."

The GCL team series now looks to Ramatuelle, Saint-Tropez, with Paris Panthers topping the current standings one point ahead of Riesenbeck International. 

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