Fair weather and the lush green grass of the Club de Villa de Campo Madrid set the stage for a sparkling day of show jumping on Friday afternoon in the heart of Spain. With the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Madrid CSI5* looming on Saturday afternoon, many riders used Friday’s class as a careful school, riding slow an retiring early to save their horses for the marquee competition.
But for Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Ireland’s Bertram Allen, the weekend has already begun on an uptick, as the two riders took home respective victories in the opening CSI5* classes of Longines Global Champion Tour Madrid.
Maher rode Contigo 37 (Calato – Quidamderevel) to first place in the 1.45m Prize of Coca-Cola , a 46-horse contest over one round. Maher, who was close but saw the top of the podium slip through his fingers the last week at LGCT Antwerp, comes to Madrid hungry to get his spring season started on the right foot.
Allen, for his part is hungry as well, if in a slightly different way. Time and time again the 19-year-old Irish phenon proves himself to be a cool character who holds nothing back in the ring. Allen trounced his older, more experienced competition in the 1.50m Prize of Massimo Dutti aboard Quiet Easy. Second placed finisher Pius Schwizer of Switzerland clocked in more than two seconds behind Allen’s time, and that was the closest anyone would get to touching him all day.
All eyes will be on the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Madrid CSI* on Saturday afternoon. Watch is live at www.globalchampionstour.com/gct-live, beginning at 17:00 hrs, Europe time.