Marlon Modolo Zanotelli & Extra Van Essene. ph: Steffano Grasso.
The curtain raised on the final leg of the 2017 Longines Global Champions Tour with a fast-paced thriller in the event’s first CSI5* class on Thursday, November 9, 2017.
The festivities took place at the Al Shaqab Equestrian Center in Doha, Qatar. A field of 20 entries, including 17 of the world’s top 20 riders, lined up for the opening CSI5* class. The track, designed by Italy’s Uliano Vezzani, saw 18 competitors finish without penalty.
Ultimately, the 1.45m competition against the clock was won by Brazil’s Marlon Modolo Zanotelli, who produced the winning time of 24.35s aboard the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Extra Van Essene (Diamant de Semilly / Gotthardsen).
“It was fantastic, I’m very happy with my horse,” said Zanotelli, who finished just 0.3s ahead of the 2017 LGCT overall champion Harrie Smolders of The Netherlands.
“I watched Maikel [van der Vleuten] and he went fast. My wife said there was one less stride to the last and luckily it worked for me,” commented Zanotelli. “[Extra] is a fantastic horse, very kind and he’s always fighting for me. It’s a fantastic facility here in Doha and all the support we have here from the crowd is very nice.”
Smolders rode the 13-year-old KWPN gelding Zinius (Nabab de Reve x Kannan) to a runner-up time of 24.65s. Third place went to Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann and the 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Cantinero (Cento x Cash). They finished in 24.83s.
World No. 3 Kevin Staut of France and the eight-year-old Selle Francais gelding Vendome D’Anchat HDC produced a 4th place time of 24.91s.
The full results can be here.