High Drama Between Diamonds & United in GCL Opener at Doha CSI5*

High Drama Between Diamonds & United in GCL Opener at Doha CSI5*
Ph: GCL / Stefano Grasso
Ph: GCL / Stefano Grasso

The big guns came out in full force for the first round of the Global Champions League on Thursday, November 9, 2017, with the Mexico Amigos taking pole position heading into Saturday’s final round.

The event, held at the Al Shaqab Center in Doha, Qatar, saw high drama in the battle between Championship contenders Hamburg Diamonds and Valkenswaard United.

Consistent form throughout the season has proved vital for the Hamburg Diamonds, who came into the final in 1st position with a 17-point lead over defending GCL Champions Valkenswaard United.

The Team continues to hold the best cards and need only a top eight finish on Saturday to claim the title. However, a surprise nine-fault accumulation on Thursday currently has them 11th in the standings, making it a fight if they are to be crowned the 2017 GCL champions.

On the track designed by Italy’s Uliano Vezzani, three teams produced double clear rounds, with the Amigos — comprised of Evelina Tovek and Henrik von Eckermann — leading the way as the fastest of the faultless trio. The Paris Panthers and Valkenswaard United closed out the top three spots lading the field.

“We are in the best position. Both horses jumped really well. If we win, we are 3rd [in the overall championship] so that is what we are trying for,” commented von Eckermann.

“I’m really happy to produce a clear round for the team,” added Tovek, who is also a student of von Eckermann’s.

United riders Alberto Zorzi of Italy & Bertram Allen of Ireland kept the Championship hopes alive with masterful clear rounds.

“We’re delighted with our horses’ performance today and knew we had to go double clear to be in with a chance,” commented Allen. “The Diamonds are strong but for sure we’ll be fighting until the end.”

The GCL action returns on Saturday, with the events being streamed live via GCT TV and on the official Facebook page at 14:00 local time.

The full results can be viewed here.