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MAI BLOG RANK 75
Germany on top
Nick Skelton stars in Hamburg winning the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix
British rider Nick Skelton produced an electrifying clear round in the jump-off in Hamburg today to win one of the toughest Grand Prix of the GCT season so far.
Course designer Frank Rothenberger predicted a seriously challenging 1.60m CSI5* competition in Germany and after two rounds of world class show jumping, the jump off proved to be a thriller. A healthy total of 15 combinations were clear in the first round, together with 3 fast combinations with four faults, including Hamburg 2010 winner Lauren Hough.
The second round produced some fantastic top-level jumping on the big Hamburg Derby ground in front of a packed crowd. Five riders jumped double clear to clinch places in what turned out to be a thrilling jump off.
Last year’s winner Rolf Goran Bengtsson and Casall la Silla were first to go, turning inside to the triple bar and then jumping the Jaeger-LeCoultre fence on an angle setting an impressively speedy clear round in 49.32 seconds. Despite a solid round Janne Frederike Meyer picked up a fault. Nick Skelton and his nine-year-old stallion Big Star was uncompromising and took every possible inside track to produce a stunningly quick clear on 47.97. Watching from the sidelines, Swedish rider Rolf knew he was beaten then.
Maikel van der Vleuten started strong, but in the end had two fences down so it was up to 22-year-old newcomer Katrin Eckermann, who had never ridden in Hamburg or in any GCT event before, to try and beat the decades of international experience of Nick Skelton. Undaunted, she took an even riskier inside turn but had the first fence of the combination down leaving Skelton to take the first place on the podium.
(photo credits: Sportfot/GCT)
Skelton picked up the top prize money pot of €94,050 and 40.00 valuable GCT ranking points and a specially engraved Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watch from General Manager Northern Europe Jurgen Bestian. The beautiful timepiece was engraved with the design of the GCT Trophy.
At the press conference Grand Prix winner Nick Skelton said: “My horse is only nine years old, but has the mind of a twelve-year-old. He has been consistent all year. He is a very smart horse that likes to jump and do the job and he has made me very happy today. I thought the second round course was very big”.
Second place rider Rolf-Goran Bengtsson said: “I was first to go in the jump off today and could not have done anything better. Nick was very very fast and I am happy with second place.” Asked about his horse Casall la Silla he added: “He is easy and consistent and really likes the ring here. He jumped very good in all three rounds.”
Current GCT ranking leader Edwina Tops-Alexander: “For me the pressure was over as I was not in the jump off. I think we saw fantastic sport and a very exciting jump off. Frank (course designer Frank Rothenberger) built well for all the good combinations that were here today. He did a good job.”
GCT president Jan Tops: “Germany is a leading horse country, so the GCT has to be involved here. Hamburg is in the heart of breeding and the spectators here are very involved. Today we saw great sport with two experienced riders and young talent coming up as well”.
En Garde Volker Wulff: “In principle the contract will continue. Details will be negotiated over the next two months. After a class like today everybody is happy and, thinking ahead, it is hard to top this.”
Australian rider Edwina Tops-Alexander remains top of the GCT leader board after three events so far in the 2012 series. Global Champions Tour will travel to Wiesbaden in the south of Germany next weekend for the Tour’s first-ever event in Europe’s oldest spa town. The GCT Livestreaming broadcast will start on Friday May 26th at 17.00 CEST. Eurosport International will broadcast the second round of the GCT Grand Prix on Saturday May 27th at 21.45 CEST and Eurosport France at 23.15 CEST.
Results of the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Hamburg
1. Nick Skelton (GBR) Big Star 47.97 Euro 94.050
2. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (SWE) Casall La Silla 49.32 Euro 57.000
3. Katrin Eckermann (GER) Carlson 48.87 Euro 42.750
4. Janne Friederike Meyer (GER) Cellagon Lambrasco 49.13 Euro 28.500
5. Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) VDL Groep Verdi 59.76 Euro 17.100
Global Champions Tour ranking after Hamburg
- Edwina Tops-Alexander 96 points
- Marcus Ehning 82 points
- Maikel van der Vleuten 64 points
- Denis Lynch 61 points
- Gerco Schroder 61 points
The 5* class of Friday had a height of 1.50m and 52 combinations at the start. No less then twenty two combinations, of which nine Germans, managed to stay clear on Frank Rothenberger’s course which consisted of very long lines. These lines invited the riders to speed up after which they had to carefully manage the following obstacles.
First rider to enter the field was Christian Ahlmann on Lorena 111 and he really set the pace. His time of 58.28 seconds proved not to beat by the large field following. Even Markus Ehning, on his big strided Nolte’s Kuchengirl could not catch him and had to settle for second place making it a German double.
Denis Lynch and Lantinus returned to the arena with only one time penalty point and are therefore allowed to start in tomorrow’s GCT Grand Prix.
(Photo credits: Sportfot/GCT)
Local favorite Janne Frederike Mayer, placed fifth in 2010 and third in the GCT Grand Prix of Germany last year, is hoping to improve again two places and win the title tomorrow in front of the huge home crowds.
The first round of the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Germany can be watched tomorrow at 13.26 on live stream. Eurosport International will broadcast the second round at 21.30 CEST and Eurosport France at 22.00 o’clock CEST. NDR will broadcast live from 15.15 till 16.45 CEST.
1. Christian Ahlmann (GER) Lorena 111, 58,28
2. Markus Ehning (GER) Noltes Kuchengirl 59,21
3. Michael Whitacker (GBR) Ingliston Twister 60,57
4. Kevin Staut (FRA) Uchin Van De Centaur 60,39