Miami Celtics’ duo of Jessica Springsteen and Shane Breen powered to the win in the Global Champions League on the Longines Global Champions tour of Paris, the team slingshotting their way into second in the overall rankings and just three points behind leaders the Shanghai Swans.
In a dramatic tightening at the top of the Championship standings, St Tropez Pirates sit just five points behind the Celtics (202 points) with a tally of 197, with the Shanghai Swans keeping hold of their lead and now with 205 points overall.
The Celtics were the only team to leave all the poles up today, taking the win from pole-sitters St Tropez Pirates with their formidable line up of Edwina Tops-Alexander and Pieter Devos - the pair taking second today. Third went to the Swans’ pairing of Daniel Deusser and Peder Fredricson, the formidable duo the only team to finish today with a completely clean score.
A smiling Shane Breen said: “It was a great competition with everything so close."
Teammate Jessica Springsteen revealed their tactics: “Shane and I were speaking before the class and saying we might have to make up the time to win, but we saw a lot of faults so wanted to keep it together and ride for the clear. The points have been really close all season and we’re excited to be in the running. We’ve been consistent so we’re hoping to keep that up.”
Gregory Bodo set a technical course with plenty of options for the riders. The biggest question was the final line, a light Renault oxer set on a curving line with an option of seven or eight strides to the last fence - a big GCL double. The course featured a Massimo Dutti treble set down the alongside in front of the Eiffel Tower and towards the in-gate, and a formidable Longines double - the second element featuring a bright blue Liverpool to catch the horses’ eye.
The Miami Celtics knew a clean score today would keep them on the podium, and in contention for the win. Jessica Springsteen rode RMF Zecilie and went for the steadier route - a clear at the forefront of her mind. They left all the poles up but fell just short of the time allowed, a time fault added to their score. Shane Breen and the Carembar De Muze/Quick Star 11-year-old Ipswich van der Wolfsakker knew they simply couldn’t roll a pole if they wanted a chance of keeping the lead. The pair pulled out all the stops, powering over the fences to finishing clear - their tactics for a slow clear adding just another time fault to their score. They would finish on a score of two, but crucially in with a chance of the win.
Both riders in New York Empire made horse changes today, with Daniel Bluman first to go with his 10-year-old gelding Entano. They looked incredibly strong, but there was heartache as the final fence fell, Daniel visibly gutted not to bring home the clear. Scott Brash brought forward his experience mare Hello M’Lady, the 13-year-old bay mare flying over the fence and jumping her heart out for the British Olympian. They would deliver, finishing clear and keeping the team on their score of eight overall for fifth place.
In the 52-strong 1.55/1.60m individual speed which ran concurrently, Scott finished 14th just ahead of Michael Duffy on Egalini in 15th and Shane took 18th with one time fault.
Shane also featured in the Longines grand prix of Paris where just seven of 34 starters provided round one clears to go forward to the jump-off. He started well enough, but a vertical and both parts of the following penultimate double fell to drop Ipswich down to seventh on 12 faults.
An amazing round by Germany’s Christian Ahlmann – brilliantly executing an ultra-tight turn across a midway oxer – secured the top spot on the Taloubet Z/Aldatus Z 10-year-old Take A Chance On Me Z by 1.22 sec.
Belgium’s Celine Schoonbroodt de Ezevedo and Chepetta finished second with France’s Kevin Staut third aboard Calevo 2.
Text © Jumping Around & Photo © LGCT/Stefanon Grasso