View Full Version : Global Champions Tour (GCT) - 23rd September, 2012 Newsletter

25-09-12, 10:10 AM
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Published: Sunday, September 23rd 2012
Spotlight turns to Abu Dhabi and most exciting GCT finale everThe Global Champions Tour packs up and leaves Vienna today with the most exciting finale to the season ready to be played out in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in November.GCT Abu Dhabi will be the focus of the show jumping world as the top riders head to the Middle East with the closest ranking battle in the history of the series. Edwina Tops-Alexander and Rolf-Goran Bengtsson are neck and neck on points - but Edwina currently has the edge with her 40-point highest score win from Doha at the start of the year. It will be an epic duel between the two champion riders at the Al Forsan International Sports Resort.
Today, the last European show of the 2012 series rounded off with a show of strength by the top German riders in Vienna. The city, where history and culture is everywhere, was the stage for one of the most spectacular venues for a GCT event. Breathtaking images of last night’s floodlit Grand Prix were broadcast to audiences on Eurosport, national TV and online.Today, it proved to be the “city of dreams” for Johannes Ehning who went flat out to the finish on Salvador in the Vienna Masters Grand Prix taking over a second ahead off the time of home rider Stefan Eder on Concordija. Johannes admitted he had not planned to ride in the competition but couldn’t resist it because of the spectacular setting in front of the historic Vienna Rathaus.
As he accepted first prize from Prince Philip of Liechtenstein Johannes said: “I rode my horse very modestly yesterday so because of the amazing scenery and the crowd I could not resist riding today.” Ludger Beerbaum on Chaman improved on his Grand Prix performance and came third. Turkish rider Omer Karaevli was 4th with Johannes’ famous brother Marcus Ehning on Cornado in 5th. Edwina Tops-Alexander was also double clear to finish 6th on Guccio. Earlier in the class sponsored by LGT Private Banking, a number of riders failed to make it into the second round after misjudging the double combination.

Dazzling Vienna set for show jumping extravaganzaSee the fantastic photos (http://www.globalchampionstour.com/gallery/) of Austria's capital city as Vienna prepares for the GCT Grand Prix later today with the world's best riders and an epic battle for the leadership.http://media.gct.tv/uploads/events/vienna/014_0792res.jpg
(Photo credit: Sportfot/GCT)Exclusive: Rolf-Göran Bengtsson on the Grand Prix showdownWith less than two hours before the sell-out GCT Grand Prix of Vienna, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson has revealed his thoughts about the battle ahead.Currently only 5 points behind GCT ranking leader Edwina Tops-Alexander, Rolf was typically modest as he revealed his thoughts about the Grand Prix of Vienna when he will be riding his 10-year-old stallion Carusso La Silla. Rolf, 2nd in the GCT ranking and No1 in the world ranking, said: “I only have one horse here in Vienna and I am really looking forward to getting started. It’s going to be a great event tonight. Of course, it is really exciting now and I am in a good position in the total ranking.”Champion Swedish rider Rolf, 50 has had a fantastic GCT season coming 2nd in the GCT Grand Prix in Hamburg, Cannes and Lausanne and 3rd in Valkenswaard on his exceptional horse Casall La Silla. But he knows Edwina and her star horse Cevo Itôt du Chateau will fight hard to stay top of the leader board.Rolf said: “She has her No1 horse here and I have my youngster, but he has been performing very well even though he is not so experienced as Edwina’s horse. But he has had some good performances. It has been a good year.”Like the other star riders at the GCT Vienna, Rolf has been impressed by the spectacular setting for the showground surrounded by some of the city’s great architecture. Speaking about the Global Champions Tour he added: “This formula now is good because you can go to shows to ride for your nation and be part of this Tour. If you are good at this sport, this is a good thing to take part in and of course the prize money is good which means the owners are willing to keep the horses.”Tonight’s Grand Prix, sponsored by Power Horse, promises world class sporting action in Austria’s capital city. The event is a sell-out and the VIP lounges and tribunes will be packed to the rafters for the show jumping spectacular.Some of the riders warmed up this afternoon with the Speed Derby with French speed supremo Roger-Yves Bost winning in spectacular style on Castle Forbes Cosma. Bosty was over 2 seconds ahead of Denis Lynch on Night Train and Emanuele Gaudiano on Chicago.The Grand Prix will also see Christian Ahlmann, Denis Lynch and Michael Whitaker piling on the pressure to move up the ranking board as GCT heads to the climax of the 2012 season in Abu Dhabi in November. The narrow arena in Vienna will present extra challenges for horses and riders on the 1m60 course designed by Frank Rothenberger.Fight to the finish in Abu Dhabi to win the GCT crownThe stage is set for a fight to the finish in Abu Dhabi with three riders in contention for the 2012 championship after a dramatic night of show jumping at GCT’s debut in Vienna.The 11th leg of the Global Champions Tour delivered a Grand Prix packed with surprises and left Edwina Tops-Alexander and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson on equal points in the GCT ranking - but with Edwina still leading due to her win in Doha at the start of the season. After the Grand Prix Edwina said: “We are both going to give it our best shot.” It means the final event of the 2012 season in Abu Dhabi in November will be the most dramatic climax to a GCT year.The magnificent floodlit Rathaus City Hall towered over the action-packed showground where public grandstands and VIP tribunes were at bursting point for the Grand Prix, which was won in style by Pénélope Leprevost of France on Mylord Carthago. The historic and cultural Austrian capital has never seen an equestrian event like it. All the rides praised the venue as “amazing” and “beautiful”.http://media.gct.tv/uploads/events/vienna/015_0144res.jpg
(Sportfot/GCT)First RoundThe world’s top riders, including Olympic stars, had to negotiate one of the most difficult courses of the season with some fences at 1m65 and some oxers at 1m85 wide. A fantastic atmosphere greeted the riders as the first round delivered several shocks. Some of the biggest names in show jumping retired with Michael Whitaker, Laura Kraut, Marco Kutscher, Olympic gold medallist Steve Guerdat and Billy Twomey.There were only six clear rounds after the first round, but that did not include Edwina who had 8 faults on her champion Cevo Itôt du Chateau. Rolf jumped a superb clear on his less experienced horse Carusso La Silla putting heavy pressure on Edwina’s ranking.Second RoundCourse designer Frank Rothenberger did not let up the pressure in the second round.15 riders including Ben Maher, Ludger Beerbaum, Philipp Weishaupt and Richard Spooner,had rails down and there were no clear rounds in sight. Kevin Staut on Silvana, Simon Delestre on Valentino Velvet and Christian Ahlmann were all on 4 faults and leading until Olympic silver medallist Gerco Schröder swept round the arena and clinched a double clear on his amazing chestnut stallion Eurocommerce London. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum also delivered a controlled clear on her intelligent mare Bella Donna. Pénélope Leprevost on Mylord Carthago completed the double clear rounds to set up a classic jump off.Jump OffThe power of Eurocommerce London was used to full effect as Dutch rider Gerco engineered a stunning clear round. London leaned at a sharp angle as he raced around the Jaeger-LeCoultre oxer and went flat out to the final fence to finish in 40.09. Meredith took advantage of Bella Donna’s big strides and with some well judged turns she finished in 38.67.Pénélope rode into the ring on her amazing grey Mylord Carthago and had a lucky break early on with a top rail. She was faster than Meredith as she raced to the last and seized victory in 37.16.Press ConferencePénélope: I was a little bit lucky in the second round. I am really happy for my horse. I was last to go into the jump off so it was easier to try because I had nothing to lose. I did not feel I was ahead of Meredith. I was surprised.It is really fantastic here. It was amazing to see when we first arrived.Meredith: There will never be another Shutterfly but I am absolutely delighted to have Bella Donna. She is a fantastic mare, by far my best horse right now. I am very proud of her at the Olympics and here.The Rathaus here is beautiful. It is an honour to rider in front of a building like this. The city of Vienna has taken my breath away. The most memorable part for me was visit to the zoo and the Palace with my beautiful daughter.Gerco: London is in super form. It has been a super season. He did fantastic today, three fantastic rounds. I am very happy with him. The organisers did a fantastic job with this show.Edwina Tops-Alexander: It could not be more exciting than this, even more so than last year. Rolf and I will both give it our best shot.Jan Tops, GCT President: Going into the final it is very exciting. It has never been so close. Anything can happen. It is the best thing that can happen to our sport.The committee and everyone here have done a wonderful job. The public was totally with this great sport. We had the top riders in the world today. I want to thank our sponsor here in Vienna, Power Horse, and to thank our great partner Jaeger-LeCoultre for continued support.Gregor Gschlenk, President of Vienna Masters: The sport was the major highlight. Great performances.Claudio Menz, Marketing Director of Jaeger-LeCoultre: This GCT is an extension of our family at Jaeger-LeCoultre. It is an honour to be part of it. It has been an absolutely amazing show here. http://media.gct.tv/uploads/standard/jlcsmall.jpg

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