fter the 8th leg of the 2015 Longines Global Champions Tour, Luciana Diniz of Portugal has employed a successful strategy of rotating her top horses to maintain the series lead. There’s no higher pressure than having the FEI-ranked World No. 1 rider breathing down your neck, but even Great Britain’s Scott Brash couldn’t outpace Diniz’ performance during Saturday evening’s Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix de Paris.
Diniz, who has already won a leg of the LGCT in Madrid and finished in the top 3 or 5 in several following legs, jumped three clear rounds aboard Fit For Fun in the grand prix to finish 2nd behind Bertram Allen. Fit For Fun is an 11-year-old Hannoverian mare (For Pleasure x Fabriano) that Diniz owns in partnership with Ralf Junger.
Scott Brash brought out his best horse Hello Sanctos for the Paris Grand Prix, but after jumping clear in Round 1, he suffered a rail in Round 2 that left him finishing 8th. Still, the points he earned on Saturday kept him 44 points behind Diniz in the series standings.
Rolf Goran Bengtsson of Sweden remains a steady, quiet threat in third place on the rankings. And after several very strong performances this season that display how far he’s developed as a rider, Sheikh Ali Bin Al Thani of Qatar sits in 4th. Christain Ahlmann of Germany rounds out the top five LGCT series standings.
With Bertram Allen’s Grand Prix de Paris win, he jumps up to 16th in the overall series standings, and will certainly be a continuing threat as the LGCT rolls on.
“I’ve only done a few Global Tours because I wasn’t ranked high enough last year,” Allen said. “This year I’ve done the GCT shows as much as I can, and my plan for the rest of the season is majority Global Tours now.”
Now truly into the thick of the LGCT 2015 season, the riders can look ahead to the Longines Global Champions Tour of Estoril, Portugal coming right up from July 9-11th. Subsequent weeks will bring the Longines Global Champions Tour of Chantilly July 17-19th, and Longines Global Champions Tour of London July 24-26th. After that there is a break before the final four legs of the season kick off with the Longines Global Champions Tour of Valkenswaard August 13 – 16th.
Needless to say, Diniz has her work cut out for her in order to maintain her series lead. Always a positive, beaming personality who is known for the love and attention she showers upon her horses, Diniz was happy, but still focused after the Paris Grand Prix.
“I say, ‘love the challenge of the day’,” she said when asked about her hold on the lead. “My challenge is to be in the lead, and today I’m very happy.”
2015 Global Champions Tour Series Standings – for the complete list go here
Rider | Nation | Points
1 Luciana DINIZ POR 218
2 Scott BRASH GBR 174
3 Rolf-Göran BENGTSSON SWE 158
4 Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid AL THANI QAT 144
5 Christian AHLMANN GER 139
6 John WHITAKER GBR 118
7 Hans-Dieter DREHER GER 114
8 Pius SCHWIZER SUI 110
9 Lauren HOUGH USA 103
10 Simon DELESTRE FRA 98
11 Kent FARRINGTON USA 92
12 Henrik VON ECKERMANN SWE 85
13 Kevin STAUT FRA 79
14 Taizo SUGITANI JPN 76
15 Ben MAHER GBR 74