Christian Ahlmann and Codex One. Ph. LGCT/Stefano Grasso
At the feature event of the Longines Global Champions Tour debut in Berlin, Germany’s own Christian Ahlmann and the 15-year-old Hanoverian stallion Codex One (Contendro I x Glueckspilz) produced the best performance of the class to end the day at the top of the podium in the €300,000 LGCT Grand Prix of Berlin CSI5*.
On Saturday, July 29, Ahlmann, alongside 23 competitors, first qualified for the grand prix with a clear round performance in the GCL Tour of Berlin Final that took place immediately prior.
For the 1.60 feature presentation, German course designer Frank Rothenberger constructed a 12 obstacle course with an allowed time of 68s. There were several tricky fences in the narrow, oval-shaped arena. The Longines double liverpools nearest to the in-gate and a solid final fence that featured an image of the Brandenburg Gate caused problems for several top riders and their horses. The biggest test of the day proved to be the triple combination, as the horses needed power to clear the oxer but restraint for the tall skinny plank that followed.
The course proved to be all too testing for all but three competitors, and in the final round, Ahlmann, who was last in the order of go, produced a speedy time of 40.56 s to take home the win.
“I’m really, really happy,” said Ahlmann. “I’m climbing up the rankings, and I’m really happy with the show. As a German rider it’s great to have a show here with such great support from the crowd. It was a lot of fun to ride! It was good to ride Codex here after his time off, and it’s only his third show after his break. He jumped special today, and he makes me very proud. Codex is a huge talent and he can do any ring. In the jump off he knew what to do, and Simone did a brilliant job and she has a very fast horse. I knew I had to take a risk. He was a little tired but his jump was the same. He was really fighting for it [which] makes him really, really special and it was enough to win.”
The German domination continued with an impressive performance by 28-year-old Simone Blum and the 10-year-old DSP mare DSP Alice (Askari x Landrebell). Coming off of their July 21, 3rd place finish in the The Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia at CHIO Aachen, the duo were the second pairing to go clear in the first round. In the jump off, they put up a time of 41.01 s to finish in the 2nd place spot.
“This year was really amazing. I won the German Championship, which is already a big success for me,” said Blum. “I was able to come here and get second place [which] is unbelievable. I think everyone wants to take [Alice] home! She’s an unbelievable horse – she’s so full of power and she’s a fighter. She makes me so proud. She’s a very fast horse – I think I was a little nervous in the jump-off, that’s why it was not my best — but I’m really pleased.”
Finishing in 3rd with 8 faults and a time of 44.45s was Leopold van Asten and the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare VDL Groep Beauty (For Pleasure x Contender).
“My horse jumped very good today, particularly in the first round. I was quite confident going into the Grand Prix – I had a good feeling all the way, ” said van Asten. “Today was the best feeling I had [with my horse] and it worked out well. [Coming first into the jump-off] you know you have two very good riders behind you. I tried a little but my horse felt a little empty for the jump-off. I had a fault straight away and then the concentration was gone. But at the end of the day I was very pleased with my horse today.”
Next weekend, The Championship heads to another dynamic capital city with the London debut at the prestigious Royal Hospital Chelsea.
For the full results, visit this link.