Today’s feature CSI5* competition drew an interested crowd from the shores of South Beach as the sun eased and an ocean breeze offered an amazing atmosphere in the heart of Miami city. Many riders entered their Grand Prix mounts for Saturday’s class, in the initial 1.45 class, won by Columbia’s Carlos Lopez. Top combinations included World No.1 Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos, McLain Ward and Rothchild, Kent Farrington and Voyeur, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Fibonacci 17, Lauren Hough and Ohlala, Olympic Gold medal winning combination Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets as well as Beezie Madden and Abigail Wexner’s Simon, just to name a few.
But today’s big win went to rising star, Hardin Towell, riding for Jennifer Gates of the Gates Family. The feature class of the day, the Artisan Farms Trophy went to Hardin Towell and Cadence, owned by Jennifer Gates. The pair were just too fast over the course set by Italy’s Uliano Vezzani, stopping the clock at a lightening 37.15 second. Second place went to Steve Guerdat and Concetto Son in a time of 38.25 seconds and third went to the Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Arera C with a time of 38.71 seconds. Towell, who will attend the Longines FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas in two week time, really showed just how fast he could be to beat two of the quickest European riders on the circuit!
The first round of the class was a deceptively testing course with no real bogey fences, though a smattering of tricky rails caught out many. Of the 56 starters, 13 jumped clear in the stunning arena, watched closely by the crowds drawn to the to see these fantastic riders in action. The jump-off course offered some daring turn-backs and risky gallops but Hardin never faltered, taking a commanding win. With tomorrow’s American Invitational and Saturday’s Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix still to come, the home team are on flying form and we could well see another big U.S. victory over the coming days.
Source: Longines Global Champions Tour