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Valkenswaard United take pole position in Monaco

Sunday, 26 June 2016
GCL Monaco 2016

Bertram Allen on Izzy By Picobello and Eduardo Menezes on Caruschka won the GCL in Monaco for Valkenswaard United. Photo (c) GCL/Stefano Grasso.
Bertram Allen on Izzy By Picobello and Eduardo Menezes on Caruschka won the GCL in Monaco for Valkenswaard United. Photo (c) GCL/Stefano Grasso.

The 9th round of the Global Champions League took center stage in Monaco today, and it was Valkenswaard United that took their third win of the season so far thanks to Bertram Allen on Izzy By Picobello (Cicero Z x Capriano) and Eduardo Menezes on Caruschka (Caspar x Continue). 

Monaco Aces keep hold of their overall ranking lead with a tally of 217 points, with Valkenswaard United’s win today closing the gap to 214 – just three points difference. The Rome Gladiators have claimed third on the rankings with 200 points overall, and following their podium today, the Antwerp Diamonds are breathing down the neck of their closest rivals, sitting on 196 points.

The riders took to the smallest arena on the League calendar, where agility, speed and scope proved key to the final result. Rob Jansen’s course was a test that demanded both skill and careful jumping from both horse and rider, with the time allowed a challenge in itself. The related distances were fair, but add a stride and riders risked picking up a time fault as they flowed through the 1.50/1.55, course. Being drawn last to go in round one meant that Monaco Aces team riders Daniel Bluman and Schuyler Riley knew what was expected, stamping their mark on the competition by being the only team to sail through to round two on zero faults.

Doha Fursan’s Faleh Suwead Al Ajami and Bassem Hassan Mohammed also jumped clear, however an unlucky time fault put them just behind the leading home team. Joining them would be the Antwerp Diamonds (4 faults), Rome Gladiators (4 faults), Valkenswaard United (4 faults), Madrid in Motion (5 faults), Paris Jets (8 faults) and Miami Glory (8 faults). The tight arena saw the delicate poles fall for the likes of Kevin Jochems of the Cannes Stars, and Vienna Eagles' Danielle Goldstein who both picked up 12 faults, pushing them out of contention for round two.

For the eight teams through it soon became clear that faultless rounds were to be the defining factor in the results. The clears mounted with Scott Brash of Miami Glory, Laura Renwick of Rome Gladiators, Athina Onassis of Madrid in Motion, Daniel Bluman of Monaco Aces and both members of the Paris Jets, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Nicola Philippaerts all securing faultless second rounds. An unfortunate miss from Faleh Al Ajami saw team Doha Fursan Qatar out of the running.

The Paris Jets were the ones to watch as the competition came to its climax, however they were pipped to the podium on speed after Audrey Coulter and Jos Verlooy put in blistering rounds with their horses to finish on a combined time of 127.00 against Paris Jets’ time of 129.67s. Valkenswaard United's Bertram had all the pressure on his shoulders, however took it in his stride, riding a stunningly speedy clear with his relatively young eight-year-old mare Izzy By Picobello to put them at the top of the leaderboard so far.

Yet it all came down to home team Monaco Aces as Schuyler Riley needed to keep their scorecard clear. But it was not meant to be with an unlucky eight faults, pushing Monaco Aces off the top spot and into second place.

After two rounds, the top step of the podium was once again claimed by the blue and orange colours of Valkenswaard United. Second place went to the Monaco Aces, and third place to the Antwerp Diamonds.

Bertram Allen, part of the winning team explained: "I went first because my horse was a bit green. We wanted two good rounds in the second round and we did that and slowly, slowly we ended up climbing up and ended up winning.”

"I would be pleased if I was clear the first round but fortunately Bertram gave two strong clear rounds and my mare felt great. This format that everything counts, Bertram said to me ‘your mare is naturally fast so don’t go crazy just normal speed and we should be on the podium'," said Eduardo Menezes on Valkenswaard United.


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

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