Ph. Stefano Grasso/LGCT
As the sun set over the second day of competition at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Vienna, the €35,000 CSI5* 1.50/1.55m ‘Sixth Sense Challenge’ Friday’s, September 16, feature class kicked off under the floodlit sand arena, with a field of 45 international riders taking centre stage at the Trabrennbahn Krieau in Vienna, Austria.
The first round course was a technically demanding but manageable track, set by Frank Rothenberger as a true test for the world’s top riders. Faults came from all over, with the final third of the track asking the biggest questions to the riders. The triple combination caught out a few, with the middle part, a delicate vertical requiring the horses to be balanced and riders using total precision through negotiate through the line. World class combinations such as Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Forever and Luciana Diniz (POR) with Winningmood were unable to progress through to the next round after rolling a pole or picking up time faults.
A total of 11 riders went through to the jump off, with the new course offering daring tight turns and long galloping distances. First to go Lauren Hough (USA) laid down the pace, setting the bar at an impressive 42.82s with her experienced bay gelding Waterford. Marcus Ehning (GER) and Cordynox looked set to be a serious challenger to their time until the pair took a tumble coming into the LGCT double – both hopped straight back up onto their feet, and left the arena to applause.
The speedy Laura Renwick (GBR) soon bettered Hough’s time, with her 10-year-old KWPN gelding Bintang II (Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve X Orlando) eating up the ground and shaving off valuable seconds with tight and well planned turns. The British rider stopped the clock in 41.53s, raising the bar further still for the field yet to come.
Olympic Team Gold rider Kevin Staut (FRA) and Qurack de Falaise HDC looked set to take over the lead, until the pair took a daring run at the last and agonisingly had the fence down. America’s Jack Hardin Towell (USA) and his 12-year-old BWP mare Emilie de Diamant A S (Diamant De Semilly X Flipper D’Elle) galloped the course, and looked competitive for the lead however were unable to match Renwick’s time, stopping the clock just three tenths behind the British rider, taking 3rd place overall.
The final rider to go was David Will (GER) with his feisty 16-year-old Selle Français mare Mic Mac du Tillard (Cruising X Galoubet A) – the hot mare took a tow all the way around the course, with David carefully managing the petite horse to clear the fences. Never ones to shy from a challenge, the pair took an impressive full pace turn back after the double and the German rider allowed the mare to run to the finish, crossing the line in a speedy 38.82s – a full two seconds faster than the rest of the field – and add another win to their LGCT tally this season.
See full results here.