Ben Maher of the London Knights aboard Explosion W. Photo by GCL/Stefano Grasso.
New York, NY – In a script worthy of the Broadway stage, GCL New York Round 1 saw the London Knights claim pole position – propelling themselves back into the 2019 title fight as Saturday’s Championship decider rests on a knife edge.
London Knights’ formidable combination of Martin Fuchs with Clooney 51 and Ben Maher aboard Explosion W blew away the competition in a jaw-dropping class, taking pole position and every advantage possible heading into Saturday’s showdown.
However, just one rail away after the results are the current ranking leaders St. Tropez Pirates, with Pieter Devos and Dani G. Waldman collecting just 4 faults in the complex class to put them within touching distance of a podium – and the Championship title.
In a drama-fueled day, the Shanghai Swans – who were placed second in the overall rankings so far – were eliminated from the competition after Peder Fredricson and Zacramento unexpectedly parted ways during the first round of action. Their elimination would mean the team cannot improve on their score, dropping the Swans out of contention for the title.
Martin Fuchs spoke after their round: “It helped that we have two of the best horses in the world and are in great shape, so it’s a great start. My horse Clooney is in the best shape he’s ever been now.”
Teammate and team manager Ben Maher revealed the team’s tactics: “Martin and I sat down and we had a plan this week. We have our two best horses here, and it’s the first time we’ve teamed them up together.”
But the experienced British Olympic gold medalist remained clear-headed: “One minute you can be winning, the next you can be out, and every score counts. We’ve come with one of the best teams possible this weekend to put pressure on the others, so we’ll hope to produce more clear rounds tomorrow.”
Constant van Paesschen Dazzles in LGCT New York Opener
Victory was sweet for Belgium when Constant van Paesschen and his striking 10-year-old black stallion Vendetta Treize took top call in the opening event of the inaugural Longines Global Champions Tour New York. Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (ESP) claimed the runner-up position riding F, while Abdel Saïd (EGY) rounded out the top-three podium finishes on Axel 111 Z.
With his mount’s owner and breeder, Amandine Wittouck, watching from the sidelines, van Paesschen posted a blistering clear over Uliano Vezzani’s (ITA) opening CSI5* track. Of the round, he touted: “The horse jumped very well and it’s a very nice feeling to win. I wanted to try and leave one out somewhere, but I saw that it wasn’t coming up like I wanted so I stuck to the plan. The horse really tried, and I was crossing my fingers!
“To realize [an event] at this venue is unbelievable,” continued van Paesschen of the latest breathtaking addition to the LGCT circuit on Governors Island in New York, NY. “We have been riding all year in unbelievable locations, but this one stands out.”
Panoramic views of downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty provided a quintessential backdrop for the first day of competition at the Longines Global Champions Tour of New York and the riders rose to the test.
More info: www.gcglobalchampions.com.
Contact: Jennifer Wood