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Smolders celebrates ticket to play offs after Hamburg win

Saturday, 12 May 2018
CSI5* LGCT Hamburg 2018

Photo (c) LGCT / Stefano Grasso Harrie Smolders and Don VHP won the LGCT Grand Prix of Hamburg. Photo (c) LGCT / Stefano Grasso.

Harrie Smolders (NED) today secured his place in the Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix after a spectacular win in Hamburg, Germany. Packed grandstands witnessed the 2017 LGCT Champion and world number 1 take a brilliant LGCT Grand Prix win with the 14-year-old stallion Don VHP Z (Diamant de Semilly x Voltaire), finishing just ahead of young German talent Maurice Tebbel on Chacco's Son (Chacco-Blue x Lancer III) and Swiss star Martin Fuchs (SUI) with Chaplin (Verdi Tn x Concorde)

Thousands of passionate and knowledgeable spectators headed to the sun-bathed grass arena provided the perfect backdrop for the thrilling finish to the LGCT Hamburg weekend, with families and fans treated to a sensational showdown featuring the very best horses and riders in the world at this, the fifth leg of the LGCT race.

Coming into this class, only Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), ranked third, and Pieter Devos (BEL) in fifth overall could dethrone the current series leaders, British riders Scott Brash and Ben Maher. But neither Tops-Alexander nor Devos could qualify for the jump-off today to overtake the lead, meaning Brash would keep hold of reins in the LGCT-race. However, Tops-Alexander’s performances in Hamburg were good enough to boost her up into second, now just 12 points behind Brash, with both hungry for a historic third LGCT-championship title to add to their accolades.

Aside from Dutchman Harrie Smolders’ superb performances, the only other rider who managed a double clear was last-to-go Maurice Tebbel and the Westfalian stallion Chacco’s Son, who finished in second after he was unable to catch the deceptively fast leading pair who posted a time of 37.97s to Tebbel’s 39.14s. Third went to the fastest four-faulter in the jump-off, Martin Fuchs with Chaplin, who clocked the quickest time of all — 37.69 seconds — but knocked out the second part of the double.

On his tactics, Smolders said: “I wanted to catch my strides in the next turn, from two to three, so I went really wide from one to two so I could do six forward strides to the next — that’s where I caught my time."

“We knew that Don VHP Z would like this ring very much — he always jumps very well here and we are happy he showed his great form today. We also had a jump-off that suited him very well. He normally doesn’t win so many classes, but I knew I had a shot. He’s a very efficient jumper and I have to be aware that I use his energy efficiently, but he’s so consistent and he keeps jumping clears in 1.60m classes.”

“I’m very pleased that I am qualified [for the Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix]. My horses are probably not the real winners, but they are very consistent and today was one of the few chances for me to win one [of the qualifiers] and I had that feeling and the scenario went like I wanted. I am very pleased with that. I only did two Globals so far, but we will for sure be there at St Tropez and Cannes and hopefully we can climb up the leaderboard," Smolders concluded.


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

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