In his speedy, jump-off fashion, Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca and the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Ensor de Litrange LXII (Nabab de Reve x Mr Blue) cleared the opposition with a 1st place finish in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Valkenswaard CSI5* on Saturday, August 12, 2017 in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands.
The top 25 riders from the previous class – the Global Champions League Final of Valkenswaard – returned to the Tops International Ring in an attempt to take home the lump sum of the €300,000 purse.
Of the riders who took to the 13-obstacle-course designed by Italy’s Uliano Vezzani, only four made it to the jump off track, with De Luca producing the fastest time of 39.20 seconds.
“My horses are jumping really consistent, and I know them and they try their best for me,” said De Luca. “Ensor loves the big rings so I knew he could do really good here and he did a fantastic job. When I finished I thought I was fast but never fast enough! My horse has a really big stride, and I was quite fast everywhere but you’re never sure when you come out. I tried a long distance to the first which was risky, but it paid off today.”
For 2nd place, Germany’s Christian Ahlmann piloted the 15-year-old stallion Codex 1 (Contendro I x Glueckspilz) to a time of 39.93 seconds. Ahlmann currently trails Harrie Smolders of The Netherlands in the LGCT rankings by 11 points.
“I’m really happy with my position but nothing is over,” said Ahlmann. “There are two more shows and for sure six riders [in with a chance] of the podium or a win. To beat Harrie is very, very difficult as he’s in unbelievable shape, but we’ll keep on trying.”
Maikel van der Vleuten of The Netherlands piloted the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding VDL Groep Verdi TN (Quidam de Revel x Landgraf I) to a 3rd place finish with a time of 40.31s.
“Today I wasn’t expecting [Verdi’s almost stop]. I thought ‘I have to keep going’ – and he jumped amazing,” said van der Vleuten. “I did lose some time, which is a shame as I would have been close, but I’m happy with the third place.”
The Tour now looks to Rome, Italy, for the penultimate leg of the LGCT race from September 21 -24.
For the full results, visit this link.
For the overall LGCT standings, visit this link.