Marcus Ehning wins the grand prix in Vienna in a red-hot jump-off
Brits were out of luck in the Longines Global Champions Tour of Vienna grand prix as Marcus Ehning and the impressive Comme Il Faut came to the fore.
Scott Brash on Hello Forever (pictured) and Laura Renwick with Bintang provided first round clears to go forward to round two, but Forever hit the planks to come home on four for 13th place and Laura and Bintang returned nine to take 16th.
An unusually large number of 11 contended the jump-off, and as predicted, it was sizzling hot! France’s Simon Delestre was quick off the mark to set a seemingly unbeatable standard on the Casall sired Chesall Zimequest, but Germany’s Janne Friederike Mayer risked all on Goja to swipe away half a sec.
Neither could match the legendary Marcus Ehning. The 11-year-old Cornet Obolensky stallion Comme Il Faut – who is out of Ludger Beerbaum’s great mare Ratina Z – responded gamely to the power-driven pace and galloped into the winning spot to take another sec off the time.
“It was my day today. My horse was amazing, he was flying today and did a brilliant job,” said Marcus.
“My horse is a real fighter, he has a super brain and is always giving his best – in the jump-off he can race. I watched Simon and knew what I had to do, but I rode one and two and it wasn’t what I wanted, so I thought ‘I really have to go’, and though I could turn a bit tighter to the final thre fences.”
Current leader-board topper Rolf-Goran Bengtsson tried to extend his lead to be out of reach of his rivals. He needed to finish no lower than second to the Champions of Champions title outright without travelling the the final leg in Doha, but galloping to a wide oxer proved a gallop too far and Casall Ask put in a surprising and uncharacteristic stop.
They finished an eventual 10th. Rolf still remains top of the league and still in with a title, but only has five points over Edwina Tops Alexander.
“I messed it up myself, I pushed for the stride, saw it wasn’t on and tried with another stride but it was too late. Casall jumped three clears today – it was my fault,” said Rolf.
A steady clear for Scott Brash and the Indoctro 10-year-old Hello M’Lady put them 12th in the 5* Mercedes Benz 1.45/1.50m speed, won by France’s speedy Julien Epaillard on Tradition De La Roque. John Whitaker and Echo of Light returned four faults for 17th.
Photo © LGCT/Stefano Grasso