Hamburg Diamonds Overtake GCL Championship Lead at Valkenswaard

Hamburg Diamonds Overtake GCL Championship Lead at Valkenswaard
Jos Verlooy & Caracas. ph:LGCT/Stefano Grasso
Jos Verlooy & Caracas. ph:LGCT/Stefano Grasso

In true sporting fashion, the Hamburg Diamonds have silenced their Valkenswaard United rivals in the Global Champions League of Valkenswaard Final. After a clear performance in the opening round on Friday, August 11, Hamburg Diamonds teammates Harrie Smolders of The Netherlands and Belgium’s Jos Verlooy went on to seal the deal in Saturday’s GCL Final on August 12.

Smolders and Verlooy delivered a formidable two rounds to secure the top spot for the Diamonds, all while fending off teammates Leopold van Asten and Maikel van Der Vleuten of the Madrid in Motion, who finished in an eventual 2nd place.

“I think our horse power is good at the moment,” said Smolders, who piloted the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion Emerald N.O.P (Diamant de Semilly x Carthago Z) to a clear round. “To have them all in the right shape at the right moment is not so easy. Emerald [has been in] a flow the last few weeks. We wanted to save him a little bit yesterday as we were hoping we could do well in both the GCL and GCT, and he did fantastic. The first round of the GCL was very difficult with only five clears, but it’s fantastic when a plan comes together! With Madrid in Motion, I had to go clean and faster, so I knew what I had to do!”

The Tops International Arena in The Netherlands set the backdrop for the team final that  doubled as the qualifying round for the sequential Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Valkenswaard CSI5*.

Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani ramped up the level of difficulty for the 18 teams, producing a technical, 13-obstacle-course that left little room for error.

The spotlight was on the Valkenswaard United and the Hamburg Diamonds, who, in the overall rankings, came into the competition a mere three points apart. Ultimately, the Diamonds were able to hold their own, ending the competition in 1st place with a leading score of 153.91

“We have good horses, but we just had to make sure we rode good, and it worked out,” said Verlooy who piloted the 12-year-old stallion Caracas (Casall x Colman). “It’s amazing [riding with Harrie]; I always rode with him, but to ride in a team together and then to win is even more amazing. That’s why I really like the [GCL]. Harrie’s in great form so I had high hopes today.”

For 3rd place, teammates Carlos Enrique Lopez Lizarazo and Andreas Kreuzer of the Cascais Charms finished on 8 faults with a score of 146.33.

For the full results, visit this link. 

For the overall GCL standings, visit this link.