Zoe Potter flew into victory in the 2* 1.40m with the appropriately named Wings Z in Bonheiden, Belgium.
Fifty contended this speed class with Zoe and the seven-year-old Eurocommerce Washington mare claiming a 1.81 sec win.
Four faults in the 11-strong jump-off five-year-old 1.10m put Zoe and Jolo Van’t Veller into 10th spot.
Sofia Masserella Coope jumped an easy double clear to take 11th in the 1.05m on Alegria De Beaufour more than eight sec off the pace. Tamarin Christie returned on one time fault to take 15th on King Kannan Z.
One time fault in round one of the 52-strong 1* 1.20m denied Scarlette Norman a jump-off chance and put Merci De Gelivaux into 13th.
In a thrilling Global Champions League in Chantilly, there was edge-of-the-seat action to the final fence after Berlin Eagles’ pairing of Ludger Beerbaum and Christian Kukuk kept cool heads under enormous pressure to convert their pole position into the team’s first win of the season.
In an intense ranking shake up, the Miami Celtics’ fourth place today has catapulted the team to the overall lead, where they now sit on 221 points. Shanghai Swans have dropped to second, now on a tally of 218 and the London Knights have regained third where they now sit on 209 overall.
Speaking after their win an elated Ludger said: “With only two teams clear from yesterday for us it was important to make two clear rounds today. Valkenswaard [United] put pressure on as they were so fast, and we knew with our horses we couldn't match that, so had to finish clear. There was a bit of pressure towards the end, but it paid off. Christian’s round was absolutely first class and it gave me a comfortable and good feeling for my round."
The Eagles were the only team to finish with a completely clean score this weekend, taking the win from Valkenswaard United’s Marcus Ehning and Bertram Allen who put in a valiant effort aboard their top horses Comme Il Faut and Molly Malone V. Third went to London Knights after Emily Moffitt with Winning Good and Ben Maher with Explosion W produced a flawless finish to keep their overnight score of four.
First of the teams on an overnight score of four faults, the London Knights brought in team anchor Ben Maher and top horse Explosion W for this round of action. First to go was under 25 talent Emily Moffitt who piloted her top gelding Winning Good. Emily produced a flawless performance in the first round, and the pair pulled out all the stops again to bring home another clear - passing the baton to Ben. With his chestnut gelding Explosion W already naturally faster across the ground, Ben guided the enthusiastic horse around the tough track. With their enviable consistency they too delivered the goods, finishing clear and keeping the team on their score of four overall and in third.
The Miami Celtics kept their complete horse and rider line-up for the second round of action, the first of two teams on a zero score. William Whitaker was first to go, with the slower-striding RMF Cadeau de Muze picking his way carefully around the course. But there was drama at the GCL oxer as the 11-year-old bay stallion refused at the final moment. William circled round and jumped it cleanly, but collected seven faults (four plus three time faults) for his troubles. Michael Duffy knew he had to keep all the fences up for the team to be in any chance of a podium today for the Celtics, and he pulled out all the stops with Mullaghdrin Touch The Stars to keep the team on their score of seven overall.
The Doha Falcons were another team to make no horse or rider changes, with Bronislav Chudyba first to go for the team on Lester IX. They kept cool heads under pressure to deliver yet another clear for the team - the first horse and rider to jump with zero faults across the two days of competition. Michael Whitaker brought out his nine-year-old grey For Fun, but the mare just changed her canter lead in the final stride to the first fence, the Longines pole knocked out as they sought to regain their balance. Michael managed to settle the mare and picked up a steady rhythm for the rest of the course, the Falcons finishing on nine faults overall and in sixth.
The final team to go, the Berlin Eagles also chose to keep their round one line-up for this crucial competition. Christian Kukuk was first to go with his big striding stallion Limonchello NT, the blue-eyed horse powering off the ground to clear the fences. They knew a double clear would bring them the win, and stuck to their steady and slower strategy, Christian giving the big horse as much time as possible to the fences. They played their part, finishing clear and passing the reins to Ludger Beerbaum with Cool Feeling. With all the pressure on their shoulders, Ludger kept a cool head to produce the clear - giving a thumbs up in delight as the Eagles flew to the win in Chantilly.
Michael Whitaker on For Fun, Scott Brash with Hello Jefferson and British-based Irishman Michael Duffy’s Egalini were out of luck in the Longines Global Champions tour of Chantilly with four faults in round one to finish 10th, 13th and 15th. Ireland’s Darragh Kenny headed the six-horse decider on Balou Du Reventon with 0.54 sec over France’s Penelope Leprevost on Vancouver De Lanlore.
Jemma Kirk posted a first round clear in the 2* 1.45m grand prix with Quelisto, but four faults in the 19-strong jump-off dropped the pair down to 13th place.
David McPherson guided the Chacco-Blue seven-year-old Carl-Heinz B into sixth in the 58-horse 2* 1.35m. Four faults dropped Trevor Breen and Lord Luidam down to 15th.
Natasha Dunsdon took 11th in the 51-strong 1* 1.25m speed on NN Celine with a steady clear more than 10 sec off the pace. Tess Carmichael posted the steadiest of the clears to take 18th on Chisinau W Z.
Two time faults in the 1* 1.35m speed put Camilla Bingham and Sportsfield Fleurie into 13th and four faults dropped Tess and Berlin’s Kojak into 14th.
Text and Photos © Jumping Around & courtesy LGCT/Stefano Grasso