News Thursday, September 27th 2012
The stage is set for a fight to the finish in Abu Dhabi with three riders in contention for the 2012 championship after a dramatic night of show jumping at GCT’s debut in Vienna.
Claudio Menz, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Thomas Königsbauer, Power Horse, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Pénélope Leprévost, winner Grand Prix of Austria, Greco Schröder, Gregor Schlenk, Vienna Masters and Jan Tops, GCT © Jaeger-LeCoultre
The 11th leg of the Global Champions Tour delivered a Grand Prix packed with surprises and left Edwina Tops-Alexander and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson on equal points in the GCT ranking - but with Edwina still leading due to her win in Doha at the start of the season. After the Grand Prix Edwina said: “We are both going to give it our best shot.” It means the final event of the 2012 season in Abu Dhabi in November will be the most dramatic climax to a GCT year.
The magnificent floodlit Rathaus City Hall towered over the action-packed showground where public grandstands and VIP tribunes were at bursting point for the Grand Prix, which was won in style by Pénélope Leprévost of France on Mylord Carthago. The historic and cultural Austrian capital has never seen an equestrian event like it. All the rides praised the venue as “amazing” and “beautiful”.
The world’s top
riders, including Olympic stars, had to negotiate one of the most
difficult courses of the season with some fences at 1m65 and some oxers
at 1m85 wide. A fantastic atmosphere greeted the riders as the first
round delivered several shocks. Some of the biggest names in show
jumping retired with Michael Whitaker, Laura Kraut, Marco Kutscher,
Olympic gold medallist Steve Guerdat and Billy Twomey.
There were only six clear rounds after the first round, but that did not include Edwina who had 8 faults on her champion Cevo Itôt du Chateau. Rolf jumped a superb clear on his less experienced horse Carusso La Silla putting heavy pressure on Edwina’s ranking.
Course designer Frank Rothenberger did not let up the pressure in the second round.
15 riders including Ben Maher, Ludger Beerbaum, Philipp Weishaupt and Richard Spooner,had rails down and there were no clear rounds in sight. Kevin Staut on Silvana, Simon Delestre on Valentino Velvet and Christian Ahlmann were all on 4 faults and leading until Olympic silver medallist Gerco Schröder swept round the arena and clinched a double clear on his amazing chestnut stallion Eurocommerce London.
Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum also delivered a controlled clear on her intelligent mare Bella Donna. Pénélope Leprévost on Mylord Carthago completed the double clear rounds to set up a classic jump off.
power of Eurocommerce London was used to full effect as Dutch rider
Gerco engineered a stunning clear round. London leaned at a sharp angle
as he raced around the Jaeger-LeCoultre oxer and went flat out to the
final fence to finish in 40.09.
Meredith took advantage of Bella Donna’s big strides and with some well-judged turns she finished in 38.67.
Pénélope rode into the ring on her amazing grey Mylord Carthago and had a lucky break early on with a top rail. She was faster than Meredith as she raced to the last and seized victory in 37.16.
Winner Pénélope Leprévost:
I was a little bit lucky in the second round. I am really happy for my
horse. I was last to go into the jump off so it was easier to try
because I had nothing to lose. I did not feel I was ahead of Meredith. I
It is really fantastic here. It was amazing to see when we first arrived.
Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum: There
will never be another Shutterfly but I am absolutely delighted to have
Bella Donna. She is a fantastic mare, by far my best horse right now. I
am very proud of her at the Olympics and here.
The Rathaus here is beautiful. It is an honour to rider in front of a building like this. The city of Vienna has taken my breath away. The most memorable part for me was visit to the zoo and the Palace with my beautiful daughter.
Gerco Schröder: London is in super form. It has been a super season. He did fantastic today, three fantastic rounds. I am very happy with him. The organisers did a fantastic job with this show.
Edwina Tops-Alexander: It could not be more exciting than this, even more so than last year. Rolf and I will both give it our best shot.
Jan Tops, GCT President: Going
into the final it is very exciting. It has never been so close.
Anything can happen. It is the best thing that can happen to our sport.
The committee and everyone here have done a wonderful job. The public was totally with this great sport. We had the top riders in the world today. I want to thank our sponsor here in Vienna, Power Horse, and to thank our great partner Jaeger-LeCoultre for continued support.
Gregor Gschlenk, President of Vienna Masters: The sport was the major highlight. Great performances.
Claudio Menz, Marketing Director of Jaeger-LeCoultre:
This GCT is an extension of our family at Jaeger-LeCoultre. It is an
honour to be part of it. It has been an absolutely amazing show here.
The Global Champions Tour packs up and leaves Vienna today with the most exciting finale to the season ready to be played out in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in November.
GCT Abu Dhabi will be the focus of the show jumping world as the top riders head to the Middle East with the closest ranking battle in the history of the series. Edwina Tops-Alexander and Rolf-Goran Bengtsson are neck and neck on points - but Edwina currently has the edge with her 40-point highest score win from Doha at the start of the year. It will be an epic duel between the two champion riders at the Al Forsan International Sports Resort. ■