World of Showjumping
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Paris Panthers narrow championship gap with consecutive GCL victories

Saturday, 22 July 2023
CSI5* LGCT Riesenbeck 2023

Photo © GCL. Ben Maher and Dallas Vegas Batilly jumped clear for the Paris Panthers. Photo © GCL.


Edited press release from Longines Global Champions League



Paris Panthers successfully closed the championship gap to Riesenbeck International powered by Kingsland Equestrian with back-to-back Global Champions League wins, stepping to the top of the podium in Riesenbeck, Germany, at the 11th stage of the 2023 GCL-season. The thrilling showdown culminated in a dramatic finale as Riesenbeck International, last to go, had a single unfortunate pole down. 

After a double clear for Paris Panthers – Jur Vrieling (NED) and Long John Silver 3 N.O.P. (Lasino x San Patrignano Corrado) teamed up with Ben Maher (GBR) aboard Dallas Vegas Batilly (Cap Kennedy x l'Arc de Triomphe Bois Margot) – in round two, the final moments were nothing short of nail-biting when Riesenbeck International's Christian Kukuk (GER), who had collected a costly time fault in round one, then recorded four faults in round two with Just Be Gentle (Tyson x Ticallux Verte). However, Kukuk's teammate Philipp Weishaupt (GER) and the 9-year-old Zineday (Zinedine x Polydor) kept all the poles up to secure the team a second place finish at their home event. Rounding off the podium, Shanghai Swans made a comeback in the second half of the season as Max Kühner (AUT) on EIC Coriolis Des Isles (Zandor x Tlaloc M) and Daniel Deusser (GER) with Killer Queen VDM (Eldorado vd Zeshoek x For Pleasure) finished with a total of eight faults.

Following a rough start to the year, Ben Maher commented on the team’s progression as the GCL series has gone on: “We said last week that [this year] we’ve had a couple of rough rounds where things didn't really go our way, which is the sport, but we do have a strong team. Jur joined me for the first time on the team together, which was fun, a lot of strength and depth in our team which is helping us towards the end of the season.”

Jur Vierling then added: “I think we still have a really good chance to fight for the championship title until the end. Team tactics clearly played a big part in that Long John is not the quickest horse, but he has a lot of scope and could jump any fence in the world I think.”

Jumping on home soil added an extra level of pressure for the ultra-consistent team Riesenbeck International. “It’s getting exciting now for the rest of the season, to be honest, I don’t need this excitement, I would have preferred to have not had this excitement, I would preferred to have won here and played it safe but now they are coming from behind," Philipp Weishaupt told GCTV. "If you see the riders that they have, it’s insane, they have the best riders in the world.”

Speaking of his team’s plan for the event’s ahead, former team rider and current team manager for Riesenbeck International powered by Kingsland, Ludger Beerbaum, said: “As we did for the first 11 stages, we will bring the best horses and riders to each and every event. We have not yet decided who goes to London and Valkenswaard – that is not because we do not want to decide, but because we have learned that if you plan too far ahead, things can change." 

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