Spencer Smith and Theodore Manciais. Photo by Solenn Rispail for R&B Presse.
Valence, France – For the third Sunday in a row, Spencer Smith of the United States claimed a grand prix victory in Europe. Under the tutelage of 2008 Canadian Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze, Smith won the CSI2* Grand Prix at Global Champions Tour London, England on August 5; the CSI2* Grand Prix at Global Champions Tour Valkenswaard, Netherlands on August 12; and the €100,000 CSI4* Grand Prix in Valence, France on August 19.
Smith’s first victory in London came aboard Happiness, an 11-year-old chestnut Belgian Warmblood mare (Quadrillo x Burggraaf) owned by the Watermark Group. Nine riders contested the jump-off, with Smith jumping clear in a time of 32.62 seconds to claim victory over Great Britain Show Jumping Team veteran, Amanda Derbyshire, who stopped the clock in 33.32 seconds riding Cornwall BH.
Valkenswaard was the next stop on the Global Champions Tour and Smith had his work cut out for him. From a starting field of 91 entries, 38 qualified for the jump-off in the €26,100 CSI2* Grand Prix with another 18 pairs again jumping clear. With speed being the name of the game, Smith and Theodore Manciais, an 11-year-old bay Selle Francais gelding (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Power Light) owned by his family’s Ashland Farms, stopped the clock in 34.21 seconds to win by exactly one full second over Brazil’s Yuri Mansur riding van het Indihof Hunter and relegating Simon Deleste of France to third with Conbelleza.
With two wins at the two-star level to his credit, Smith stepped up to the four-star level in Valence, joining 39 other horse-rider combinations to contest the €100,000 CSI4* Grand Prix, presented by Axeria – SFAM. In a repeat of their win in the $132,000 CSI3* Horseware Ireland Grand Prix earlier this year in Wellington, Florida, Smith and Theodore Manciais posted the only clear round to take the win without a jump-off.
“This is the third week in a row that Spencer has won the grand prix,” said Lamaze of his 21-year-old protege. “The grand prix he won today was big; for him to be clear in the four-star grand prix in Valence was amazing.”
Winner of the 2014 Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal Finals, Smith made his United States Equestrian Team debut this spring as a member of the Nations’ Cup in Rome, Italy. In addition to being one of several athletes that train and compete alongside Lamaze at show jumping’s highest level, Smith also works as a rider for his Torrey Pines Stable with bases in Brussels, Belgium and Wellington, Florida.
“Spencer is a great kid; he works hard, listens, and truly wants to be a student of the sport,” said Lamaze, who has long done business with Smith’s parents, professional trainers Ken and Emily Smith, of Ashland Farms based in Lexington, Kentucky. “I saw something in Spencer. He rode well, and he has been brought up in our sport by true professionals. He had a background in hunters and equitation, and now he’s finding success at the biggest and most competitive show jumping venues in the world.
“He is a big part of our business at Torrey Pines and is a huge asset to our team, and he deserves every congratulation on what he has accomplished,” concluded Lamaze.
Lexington, Ky. – May 18, 2017 – The atmosphere at the Kentucky Horse Park was electric on Friday night as fans came out to watch the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* as part of the Kentucky Spring Classic Horse Show. Sixty-four riders competed their horses for a chance to not only win the 1.45m class, but also earn valuable points towards winning the Hagyard Challenge Series. Eugenio Garza, of Mexico, was victorious aboard Armani SL Z even though Roberto Teran of Colombia and Il Rubacuori held a seemly unbeatable lead until the very end. Santiago Lambre and Dingeman finished in a close third place.
Armani SL Z, a 9-year-old Zangersheide gelding, has been a part of Garza’s program for three years. Garza, who is trained by the famed Irish rider and coach, Eddie Macken, has been careful to bring the striking grey gelding along thoughtfully, in hopes of achieving the moment that came in the ring tonight. The class saw very few clear rounds in the first half of competition, but by the time Garza had entered the ring, eleven other riders were waiting to come back in the jump-off. Aaron Vale, of Ocala, Fla., had even qualified all three of his rides for the short course.
Teran was the first rider to produce a clear first round on Il Rubacuori and he came back for the short course, ready to win. Internationally recognized as a fast rider, he clocked in a time of 40.29. Santiago Lambre, also of Mexico, came the closest by producing a clear round in 40.570. While Garza was schooling for the jump off, he could hear the cheers and gasps from the crowd in the Rolex Stadium and knew that he would have to put in an incredibly fast round to overcome Teran’s early lead. Armani SL Z performed like a Grand Prix veteran and crossed the times in 39.330, giving Garza the definitive win.
Not only did Garza go home with the commemorative cooler and blue ribbon, but he also earned valuable points towards the Hagyard Challenge Series. The series consists of seven grand prix classes that are held during the 2017 show series at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the final event, a cash prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points throughout the series. Garza is now tied with Eve Jobs, who won the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show.
Tim Goguen Earns Grand Open Hunter Championship aboard Expression Z
After two days of competition in the Stonelea Ring to kick off the Kentucky Spring Classic, Tim Goguen beat out close competitor Kelley Farmer for the coveted title of Grand Open Hunter Champion on Thursday afternoon. Scoring four out of five blue ribbons in the High Performance Hunter Division, Goguen sealed two division championships, the High Performance and Green Hunter 3’6, and ultimately the Grand Championship aboard 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Expression Z.
Sponsored by Visse Wedell of Wedell Real Estate, the Grand Open Hunter Championship is awarded to the combination that receives the highest number of points in their respective division. Posing the greatest competition for Goguen’s chance at the title was Kelley Farmer who had top placings with Discretion in the Conformation Hunter and It’s Me in the Green Hunter 3’9.
Goguen and Belhaven Stables, LLC’s Expression Z both stood out and received praise from respected hunter judges Rob Bielefeild and Shane George for their consistency in the High Performance and Green Hunter 3’6 during the Kentucky Spring Classic. The pair produced memorable and beautiful performances in each round, capturing top honors throughout both divisions.
Goguen of Lexington, Kentucky has earned continual success in the hunter ring, particularly excelling in the High Performance Working Hunter division. Professional hunter riders will take to the Stonelea ring once again this Saturday for the greatly anticipated USHJA National Hunter Derby, the highlight of the week.
Wesley Newlands riding Wieminka B. Photo by Sportfot.
Madrid, Spain – Wesley Newlands of Toronto, ON concluded a successful week of competition at the Longines Global Champions Tour in Madrid, Spain by placing second in the €25,000 Caser Seguros Trophy on Sunday, May 22.
Held on the final day of the international show jumping competition, the €25,000 Caser Seguros Trophy acted as the grand finale of the CSI2* division, attracting 42 entries. With her name at the top of the start list, Newlands was the first rider to tackle the track set by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil, who will also handle course designing duties at the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics. Riding Wieminka B, Newlands proved that it was possible to jump the course fault-free, posting a perfect score of zero. Nine other entries would also jump clear, setting the stage for an exciting jump-off.
Maintaining the order from the first round, Newlands was once again the first rider on course for the jump-off. Knowing she was setting the pace for those who followed, Newlands tightened up the turns and sliced the signature Cesar Seguros fence before crossing the timers in 37.09 seconds. In the end, just one rider proved faster than Newlands: Emma Heise of the United States posted a time of 35.83 seconds riding Viper Vrombautshoeve Z.
“Unfortunately, I had to be the pathfinder, but my strategy was to go for a fast clear,” said Newlands of her jump-off plan with Wieminka B, a 13-year-old grey Dutch Warmblood mare (Cardento x Topas). “My mom was at home in Toronto and set her alarm for 5 a.m. so she could watch me on-line; luckily it went well and was worth getting up for!”
In addition to placing second in the €25,000 Caser Seguros Trophy, Newlands and Wieminka B were also double clear to place fourth among a 66-horse starting field in Friday’s CSI2* 1.40m competition.
“I was very happy with ‘Minka’ this week in Madrid,” said Newlands, who was the lone Canadian competing in the CSI2* division. “She jumped a lot of super rounds and seems to be in great form. This was her third show since I’ve been in Europe. She was also double clear and placed ninth in the Grand Prix in Antwerp, so it was a nice improvement to finish second.”
Newlands, who spent the winter season competing at the highly-competitive Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, is now based full-time with 2014 World Cup Final Champion, Daniel Deusser of Germany.
“I am really enjoying training with Daniel full-time,” said Newlands, 28. “He gives me a lot of confidence going into the ring. He knows my horses really well, so he can help me focus on things with each horse to improve their success in the ring. It’s also nice because he rides my horses sometimes, and I’m able to watch and learn from what he’s doing with them.”
Since returning to Europe in April, Newlands has competed at the Global Champions Tour in Antwerp, Belgium, where she and Wieminka B jumped double clear to place ninth in the €72,000 CSI2* 1.45m Grand Prix. Her next competition stop was CSI3* Mannheim, Germany, before heading to Madrid. In addition to Wieminka B, Newlands also competed in Madrid with Geisha van Orshof, a ten-year-old grey Belgian Warmblood mare (Cabrio van de Heffinck x Parco).
Next on Newlands’s competition calendar is the Global Champions Tour event at Chantilly, France from May 26 to 29, followed by the Longines Athina Onassis Horse Show in St. Tropez, France from June 2 to 4.
Media Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439 www.startinggate.ca
Vita Flex Victory Team Rider Todd Minikus and Babalou 41. (Photo courtesy of Jack Mancini)
Wellington, Florida (April 16, 2015) – Vita Flex Victory Team rider Todd Minikus had a grin as bright as the Lugano Diamonds that were sponsoring the $150,000 Grand Prix CSIO 4* that he and Babalou 41 won during the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. Minikus switched up horses after the Wellington winter show circuit to continue winning – on his well-known partner Quality Girl in the $34,000 Elm Rock Prix 1.45/1.50m CSI5* at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach earlier this month.
Minikus said the ten-year-old Oldenburg (Balou du Rouet x Silvio I) mare Babalou 41, owned by Two Swans Farms, was “starting to step up into the big leagues.” Before winning the $150,000 Grand Prix, the pair put in double clears during the same weekend to lead the U.S. to a win in the $100,000 Nations Cup.
“I am very excited about Babalou 41. There are some bigger things coming, so I could not be happier. She has been fantastic,” Minikus continued. “It was a horse race across that ring. She slowed down and got real patient to the last jump – that was a sign of her maturity. The rest was just nail-biting in the schooling area. For sure my time was fast. You have to go fast to catch her, but some days you’re the bug and some days you’re the windshield, and that’s how it works.”
The pair out-clocked (35.77) U.S. teammates Beezie Madden (37.47) and Meagan Nusz (38.71), who were second and third respectively.
At the Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach, Minikus jumped to victory on another mare. He and the Oldenburg Quality Girl (Quidams Rubin x Dobrock), owned by Quality Group, cleared the course in 54.41 seconds – proving uncatchable for runner-up Marlon Módolo Zanotelli of Brazil with Zerlin M at 55.85 seconds, and Venezuela’s Pablo Barrios with Zara Leandra at 56.76 seconds.
After his impressive win, Minikus humbly pointed to Quality Girl for their success: “I let her just do her thing. Normally, it turns out well.” It certainly seems to keep turning out that way for talented Minikus.
Currently, the show jumper is in Las Vegas, Nevada competing on Babalou 41 in the 2015 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage and the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Finals.
The Vita Flex Victory Team champion Todd Minikus credits a well-planned training program supported by conscientious nutrition and supplements from Vita Flex as a winning formula to a successful season: “The proof’s in the pudding – we’ve got some of the top winning horses in the country,” he comments about why he makes sure to use Vita Flex® products.
Vita Flex will be with Minikus and his horses every stride of the way at the FEI World Cup Jumping Finals and beyond with advanced supplements specifically created for equine athletes. Vita Flex® products include health supplements, antioxidants, electrolytes, joint supplements, performance supplements, topical ointments, vitamins, and minerals. For more information about Vita Flex, its products, and the Victory Team members, visit www.vitaflex.com or call (800) 848-2359.
Miami, FL – April 5, 2015 – World No. 1 Scott Brash was victorious for the second night in a row on Miami Beach Saturday evening as he galloped away with the inaugural Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix title aboard Hello Sanctos. This was the two-time Longines GCT Champ’s fifth Grand Prix win in the last three seasons as he continues to dominate the Tour in spectacular fashion.
Bassem Hassan Mohammed (QAT) and his relatively new ride Palloubet D Halong put in the performance of their young partnership to take Silver. While 2014 Longines GCT of Shanghai Grand Prix winner Pieter Devos (BEL) and Candy finished with a worthy Bronze medal. From the VIP Lounge, Michael Bloomberg, Bruce Springsteen, HE Sheikh Joaan Al Thani and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine watched world-class sport at its very best.
Speaking from the VIP Hospitality Lounge, Mr. Bloomberg said: “I think this is a wonderful thing for Miami and for the economy of Miami. This could become like the Formula 1 is to Monaco and places like that not just the people who come to watch the show, the people who support it, the people who work in the hotels where we all stay, the restaurants. It is amazing the hard work that goes into this.”
Having claimed a strong victory with his new mount Hello Forever in yesterday’s 42nd American Invitational, Scott Brash went into the Grand Prix a firm favourite, but facing hot competition from a stellar line-up of world-class riders from around the globe.
The first round of the Grand Prix was a testing and technical course which caught out many an experienced combination. The tight, awkward distances, tall uprights and sharp corners demanded precision, control and power. There were no clear bogey fences, though an airy vertical on a dog-leg following the Longines combination claimed many.
Of the 50 Grand Prix starters, 12 clears proceeded to the 2nd round, including Katie Dinan (USA) and Stakorado, Margie Goldstein-Engle (USA) and Royce, Denis Lynch (IRE) and Ho Go van de Padenborre, Luciana Diniz (POR) and Apollonia, Beezie Madden (USA) and Simon, Kent Farrington (USA) and Voyeur, and Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Rosana du Park.
The top 18 riders came back to try their talents against another Uliano Vezzani course, including four on 4 faults. The U.S. had a strong showing with seven riders going through to the next round. All eyes were on Scott Brash and his 2012 Olympic mount as the combinations came back for their next test against the course.
The second round saw an early clear from Laura Kraut (USA) and Nouvelle carrying four faults from the first round. But subsequent clean rounds were few and far between until Bassem Mohammed and Palloubet D Halong notched up the first double clear. The course was twisty and with many turns, requiring immense control, with big oxers demanding scope and care.
Beezie Madden and Simon agonisingly lowered the final fence, but were swiftly followed by reigning European Champion Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) and Nippon d’Elle who were the second double clear. It wasn’t until near the end of the first round that Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos joined Bosty and Bassem in the final showdown – the combination looked on cracking form from the very beginning.
Bassem set the standard first to go in the jump-off, clear in a time of 39.74s. Second to go, Bosty risked a tight turn back to a tall upright and picked up a refusal, leaving him in 4th place. Scott Brash knew what he had to do and executed his plan with foot-perfect precision to stop the clock in 38.57s. Last to go, Pieter Devos pushed his mare, recently returned from a long break from competition, but lowered an early fence in the tricky jump-off course leaving Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos once more unbeatable.
Scott will be back in action in Antwerp in a few weeks once again hot on the trail on the Longines GCT Championship, which if he wins once again this season, will be his 3rd in a row – a truly incredible feat.
Todd Minikus wins the Elm Rock Farm Trophy
On flying form, Todd Minikus (USA) raced away with the Elm Rock Farm Trophy Saturday afternoon with Quality Girl, beating the world-class opposition with a supremely quick round to take the class in 54.41s. Marlon Zanotelli (BRA) had another great result with Zerlin M to finish 2nd in 55.85s, with Pablo Barrios (VEN) and Zara Leandra finishing 3rd in 56.76s.
It was another gorgeous day on Miami Beach and the public filled the grandstand and pressed against the arena fencing to watch the speed class unfold. The beautiful arena filled with spectacular flowers and eye-catching jumps proved a mega draw for nearby sun-worshipers who were drawn over to watch these fabulous horses and riders in action.
Miami Beach, FL – April 3, 2015 – It has been 29 years since a rider representing Great Britain has led the coveted American Invitational victory gallop, but today, the world’s number one rider, Scott Brash (GBR), clinched the victory during the 43rd $127,500 American Invitational. Aboard Hello Forever, Brash broke the beam in 33.35 seconds to outrun his fellow eight contenders in a nine-horse jump off and take back the title after nearly a 30-year drought for his homeland.
It was an occasion of firsts for Brash. For many, the American Invitational is the crown jewel of show jumping, eluding many at the top of the sport. Although it was only Brash’s first time attempting the toilsome track, he left no stone unturned with his eye set firmly on the victory.
In its long history, today marks only the second time a rider from Great Britain has won the notable event. Brash followed in the footsteps of the late Tim Grubb, who rode Linky to victory at Tampa Stadium back in 1986. Grubb, a British Olympic Silver medalist, was the first foreigner to take the Invitational title and counting Brash’s win today marks only the fourth time a rider outside the U.S. has led the round of honor.
Italian course designer, Uliano Vezzani, created the difficult track, challenging the field of 52 riders to 16 efforts in a tight time allowed of 81 seconds. He featured a tricky double combination set on the rail, a liverpool, a second double combination featuring a vertical to an oxer, as well as large square oxers and open distances. Faults racked up throughout the course, with no definite bogey and only nine horse and rider combinations would find their way into the tiebreaker.
This was the first appearance Brash made stateside all winter circuit, traveling exclusively to the Longines Global Champions Tour in Miami Beach with two of his top horses. He was only the third to return for the jump off, and with six competitors hot on his heels, he knew that he would have to push the throttle with Hello Forever to make them chase his time. He took a tight turn to the third obstacle, racing around the corner to the square Longines oxer from the tight double combination. His tight track and quick turns obliterated the previous times.
“The American Invitational is a very prestigious event. We hear about it every year, but unfortunately we’re never here to jump in it,” Brash said. “It’s very nice to be here and to be a part of it. I’m really glad that the result worked out in the end. We always read about it, but unfortunately we are never here to jump in it. Jan [Tops] has brought the tour here, and it’s great that the American Invitational is at this show. Hopefully if it can stay here, I think it’s going to be an even bigger and better event every year.”
Beginning in 1972, the American Invitational was designed as a reward for the riders at the end of a long circuit. Although international riders have always been welcome, this is the first time that riders representing three different countries took hold of the top three spots.
It was Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani of Qatar and Concordija, owned by First Sport Horses AG, who took the second place position less than a tenth of a second shy of Brash’s time. He opted to leave out a stride in the turn to the third fence, and then raced through the turn after the double combination nearly catching Brash’s pace.
Al Thani said, “For me, it was very good. With number one in the world, I was happy ending up second. It was a fast jump-off and I tried my best. I couldn’t catch him, but I was happy.”
Reigning Show Jumping World Cup Finals Champion, Daniel Deusser (GER), and Pironella would end the event in the third place with a speedy but more conservative time of 34.14 seconds. He admitted that although he tried to catch Brash, he was pleased with his third place finish.
“The riders, we are very proud to be here; for us it is a super event. It cannot be much better actually. For the class, for myself, I’m very happy with the third place,” Deusser said. “My horse is still very young, and not too experienced in these classes. I missed maybe a little bit to the last fence. In the end, Scott was very, very fast, and that’s the reason that he is number one in the world.”
Paige Johnson and Dakota captured the fourth place with a double clear in 34.63 seconds, while Schuyler Riley and Dobra de Porceyo finished fifth in 35.46 seconds. The fastest four-faulter was Georgina Bloomberg aboard Calenda, crossing the timers in 35.33 seconds to round out the top six.
Today’s victory came aboard a new mount for Brash, having only been paired with Hello Forever for four months. “He is quite a new horse to me,” admitted Brash. “He’s quite inexperienced actually, but he’s a competitive horse. I just tried to stay as smooth as I could, and as tight as I could, and tried to see what my horse could do. It worked out in the end. I did think that Sheikh Ali was going to get me at the end there. It was very, very tight.”
Brash has held the title of Number One Rider in the world for 16 months, only two months shy of Marcus Ehning’s record. “I think this man on my right, Daniel [Deusser], is just about to take it off me. I better clean the armband and get it ready, probably tomorrow [laughs].”
At the conclusion of the Miami Longines Global Champions Tour, Brash, as well as the others at the top of the podium, will pack their bags to head out to the next endeavor. Deusser plans to defend his title as the World Cup Champion, while Brash is focusing on European shows and following the Longines GCT.
President of Stadium Jumping, Michael Morrissey, said, “I think the event was great. It’s so unique to be out here at the beach. To team up with a world class organization in a world-class city putting on an event like this was fantastic. Gene [Mische], who has passed away, would be very proud of that this event became so terrific, especially here in Miami.”
Morrissey continued, “Our goal and our plan is to return to the Longines Global Champions Tour in the future. The team that Jan put together is second to nobody. Because of the great team that he has assembled, I think the production of this is second to none in this country. It was a great event. The course designer did a great job, and it was a great class. It was a great jump-off. It was exciting and kept people waiting for the next one to try to win. I feel like it has everything.”
The Longines Global Champions Tour first found its home in Wellington in 2004, when Tops and Mische worked in tandem to kick off what would become an empire in Europe for the sport of show jumping. The Miami Longines Global Champions Tour marks the series’ 10-year anniversary, and the kick-off event brings the event full circle as the series returns to its pilot location – South Florida.
President of the Longines Global Champions Tour, Jan Tops, concluded, “I think it’s important that we connect the United States. It’s a very important market, especially for good riders, and it needed to be here as well again. We were very happy that we could organize the American Invitational here, and working with Stadium Jumping was spectacular. Number one in the world won it, and he won it good, but all the riders gave him very good competition. It was very exciting to the last rider, and I think it worked out very well.”
The Miami Longines Global Champions Tour continues tomorrow with the $600,000 CSI5* 1.60m Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix with two different rounds against the clock with a jump-off. For more information on Stadium Jumping and the American Invitational, please visit www.stadiumjumping.com. To learn more about the Longines Global Champions Tour, please visit www.globalchampionstour.com.
Miami, FL – April 3, 2015 – World No. 1 and reigning Longines Global Champions Tour Champion Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Forever won the feature class of the day, the historic American Invitational. Following a thrilling jump-off, Scott set the pace early with his new ride, and though they tried their best to catch him, Sheikh Ali bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) and Concordija and on-form Daniel Deusser (GER) and Pironella had to settle for second and third, respectively.
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine presented the prizes to the winners: “This is absolutely incredible. We are so honoured to have this amazing Longines Global Champions Tour event right on the sands of Miami Beach and we know this is just the beginning of a long-term event. We will welcome you back next year. This is just absolutely exciting for everyone to watch – all the tourists, all the residents and congratulations to Scott. This is fabulous!”
This was the first really testing class of the event ahead of tomorrow’s Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix, as 53 horses took to the ocean-side arena for the 42nd American Invitational. Many of the Florida-based horse and rider combinations had been used to the large open arenas of Wellington, whereas for many who have flown over from Europe, this is their first outdoor event of the season.
As sunbathers gathered in around the unbelievable arena and the sun began to sink on this picture-perfect location this afternoon, some top-class show jumping unfolded on Miami Beach. Uliano Vezzani’s 1.55m first round course began with an inviting spread fence, but the tests came thick and fast from that point onward.
Home pair Schuyler Riley (USA) and Dobra de Porceyo was the first to jump clear, quickly followed by Georgina Bloomberg (USA), Michael Whitaker (GBR), Paige Johnson (USA) and Audrey Coulter (USA). Many top names fell by the wayside, caught out by the sharp corners and testing distances. Toward the end of the first round, Luciana Diniz (POR) and Lady Lindenhof jumped a neat clear following a clean round from Daniel Deusser (GER) and Pironella, and finishing with a great zero score round from a thrilled Sheikh Ali bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) and Concordija.
Schuyler Riley and Dobra de Porceyo set the standard in the 9-horse jump-off with a clear in 35.46s from first to go, but Scott Brash and Hello Forever swept around the course wiping over 2s off her time. Paige Johnson and Dakota put in a fantastic round to finish just over one second behind Brash, but Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Pironella slotted in between the two in 34.14s. Last to go, Al Thani threw caution to the wind but was unable to catch the World No. 1 finishing in 33.48s.
The snug arena, crowded on all sides by an enthusiastic crowd, creates an intense atmosphere so it will take a top horse and rider team to win the main event tomorrow afternoon, the opening Longines GCT Grand Prix of the season. Watch the Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix live on www.globalchampionstour.com via GCT TV; see highlights on NBC Sports Network Sunday 5th April 3.30pm – 4.30pm (EST) or on Eurosport on Sunday at 8pm (CET).
Miami, FL – April 3, 2014 – It was a home win for the USA in the feature class of the day on Thursday, the Artisan Farms Trophy. Hardin Towell and Cadence, owned by Jennifer Gates, were just too fast for the rest of the combinations who took to the testing Uliano Vezzani course – the pair stopped the clock at a lightening 37.15 seconds, second place went to Steve Guerdat and Concetto Son in 38.25 seconds and third to Maikel van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Arera C in 38.71 seconds. The American really showed just how fast he could be to beat two of the quickest European riders on the circuit!
The first round of the class was a deceptively testing course with no real bogey fences, though a smattering of tricky rails caught out many. Of the 56 starters, 13 jumped clear in the stunning arena, watched closely by the crowds drawn to see these fantastic riders in action. The jump-off course offered some daring turn-backs and risky gallops but Hardin never faltered, taking a commanding win. With tomorrow’s American Invitational and Saturday’s Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix still to come, the home team is on flying form and we could well see another big U.S. victory over the coming days.
Carlos Lopez gallops to victory in first Miami Beach CSI5*
Carlos Lopez (COL) and Zephyr II claimed a fast and furious opening victory in the CSI5* schedule on Thursday at the truly special Miami Beach venue. Second place went to two-time LGCT Champ Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) and Questina who stopped the clock just under 1.5 seconds behind Lopez. Third went to World No15 Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and Egano van het Slogenhof who finished a nail-biting 0.06 seconds behind Tops-Alexander.
Sunbathers and paddlers enjoying the spectacular weather and warm seas were lured over to watch world-class riders take to the competition arena just metres from their loungers. One of the greatest and most popular course designers in the world, Italy’s Uliano Vezzani, set a fair and welcoming course for the very first CSI5* class of the inaugural Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach event which finished with 12 double clears.
Many riders in hot form were introducing their Grand Prix horses to the arena for the very first time. All eyes were on defending Champ Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Sanctos who jumped round clean with just two time faults. Other big names to watch out for are McLain Ward (USA), Beezie Madden (USA), Daniel Deusser (GER) and Michael Whitaker (GBR), who all looked to be pumped up for a top performance in Saturday afternoon’s Grand Prix.
‘Hello!’ The horses get their first look at Miami.
Many 5* equine athletes have arrived in Miami Beach by air for the first round of the Longines Global Champions Tour 2015 (2-4 April), carried in fine style by Emirates Airline and looked after by the Tour’s long-standing shipping agent, Peden Bloodstock. Around 220 horses will be competing at the spectacular 10th Anniversary Season launch event and many have flown over from Europe to take part at this landmark venue in one of the most highly-anticipated events of the season.
When these valuable equine stars take to the skies, it’s a Business Class flying experience. “It’s all about making the process as smooth as possible for the horses,” says Martin Atock, Managing Director of Peden Bloodstock. “If you’re flying economy with a budget airline and you face queues, poor service and restrictive seating on the plane, you get stressed, tired and you take longer to recover when you arrive at your destination. It’s the same when flying horses.”
“To ensure the horses are happy and comfortable they fly Business Class throughout, they share a spacious, partitioned air stable with another horse, they are processed and loaded efficiently and monitored throughout the flight by professional Air Grooms and the onboard vet. The cargo bay is kept at a well-ventilated 17 °C, so the horses don’t get too hot in their air stables, and they are given access to continual hay and regular water, as these conditions have shown to keep stress minimal and shorten recovery time.”
With the ocean just metres away, some of the very best horses and riders in the world will compete for $879,000 in prizes across five 5* classes, including the world-renowned Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix and the prestigious American Invitational.
The whole event will be broadcast live on globalchampionstour.com via GCT TV. The Longines GCT Grand Prix will also be shown on Eurosport and beIN Sports, with NBC Sports Network showing highlights from the American Invitational on Saturday 4th April at from 2pm – 3pm (East Coast Time) and highlights from the prestigious Longines GCT Grand Prix, round one of the exciting 2015 Championship, on Sunday 5th April 3.30pm – 4.30pm (East Coast Time).