- Published: Saturday, 08 June 2013 17:57
5* Grand Prix day kicked off with the 2* riders in the CSI2* 1.15m, Kayleigh Watts and the Whitaker’s horse Blush which finished second yesterday took the top spot today fighting off Thursday and Friday’s winner Lara Whiteway and Obelix Z who finished in second. Kathleen Widdowson riding Thera Ka, whose father-in-law own Big Star finished in 3rd place after coming 4th in yesterday’s class. These three British riders have shown ultimate consistency over the three days so far with well-deserved placings.
The first CSI5* grand prix of the days was the Sapinda 1.45m speed class which was won by the French man Roger Yves Bost in a lightening time of 50.55 seconds on his chestnut Castle Forbes Cosma, and its safe to say not one pull was taken by Roger the whole way round, he put caution to the wind. Last to go in the class, this time a French woman Penelope Leprevost riding Flora de Mariposa who had a good go at his time finishing in 51.19 seconds. Laura Renwick(GBR) and Kavanagh IV took 5th spot being the highest placed British rider and she held a strong lead for a while during the class.
The Longines 1.60m Grand Prix is the biggest class during each leg of the Global Champions tour and everyone would like a winner of the host country. 18 go through to the second round, more would go through if more clear, or if not enough clears, the top 18 results from the first round go through. 18 clear rounds were completed in the first round, with Robert Smith(GBR) just missing out on the second round due to picking up one time fault, being over the time allowed of 79 seconds by 200ths of a second in 79.02 seconds. 7 of those 18 clear rounds went to Britain making it a very exciting second round with the crowd eagerily awaiting to see which riders would make it through to the jump off. Laura Kraut(USA) and Cedric were the first of the clear rounds in the second round, and 4 out of the 7 British riders which were clear in the second round went through to the final jump off.
It’s safe to say that the jump off was positively nail biting, with a good round put in by William Funnel (GBR) who was the triple clear in the class for Britain riding Billy Congo. However the lead was held by Christian Ahlmann(GER) until the last two to go, British riders Ben Maher and Nick Skelton. Nick Skelton(GBR) on the suitably named Big Star, after a tence round, especially the last two fences, put in a quicker time that than Ahlmann(GER) and took the lead. This made it a definite British victory with the last to go being Ben Maher(GBR) and Cella. Ben managed to shave some time off of Nick’s flying round to take the victory in the Longines Grand Prix at the London leg of the Global Champions Tour, making it a 1,2 for Great Britain at this first Global Champions Tour for London.
The atmosphere was electric with the whole crowd reliving the Olympic success with two gold medalist riders who were here in London just a year ago winning for Great Britain. The class was concluded by the presentation in usual Global Champions Tour style, with Ben receiving a huge chuck of prize money – the most Britain has ever had at an international showjumping show – and a watch from the sponsor Longines. Champange bottles were given to the first place Ben, second place Nick and third place Christian on the podium. Ben, as you are likely to see from Gary’s and Peter’s pictures got the champagne from both sides and therefore did his lap of honour to “simply the best) sodden in champagne, but rightly so. This Longines Grand Prix showed the crème de la crème of the world showjumpers and the Brits did it again for us here at the London Global Champions Tour.
Melissa Thorpe, SiP Blogger