29 June 2024

Back to back GCL wins as Doha Falcons continue flying form in Stockholm

Back to back GCL wins as Doha Falcons continue flying form in Stockholm

Doha Falcons triumphed for the second week in a row securing the win at GCL Stockholm presented by Norrviken. Jérôme Guery, Simon Delestre and Julien Anquetin in round one emerged victorious with Quel Homme de Hus, Dexter Fontenis Z and Z Ice Cube Z  in front of an electric crowd.

Last year’s overall GCL season Champions Riesenbeck International powered by Kingsland picked up another big points haul after a rocky first part of the season with Christian Kukuk on Nice van't Zorgvliet, Philipp Weishaupt with Zineday and Harry Allen onboard Lukaku vd Bisschop as the only other team on just four faults but 7 seconds slower to take second place. 

Much to the Swedish crowds delight Scandinavian Vikings secured their first podium of the year as Henrik von Eckerman on King Edward, Nicola Pohl with Catz de Sulpice and Evelina Tovek riding Moeboetoe v/d Roshoeve stepped up to the plate in third. 

During the course walk of round one, winning rider Simon Delestre spoke to Rosie Tapner and GCTV of the game plan and focus for the team. He said, “We really focus for the team [overall] ranking, we are in third now, sometimes we have a bit of bad luck, but we fight for it today.”

And fight they did. Taking the win for the second week running, the on form riders Jérôme Guery, Simon Delestre and Julien Anquetin put the pressure on and came out on top. Following their win, Simon said: “We have a fantastic team spirit, we are all good friends and to fight together instead of against each other is something really cool.”

With some movement on the Championship Standings for the Scandinavian Vikings, a long awaited podium finish finally arrived. Home hero and world number 1, Henrik von Eckermann said, “We haven’t had a great season so far, but with a podium it is great, Nicola made a great round and put the pressure on me to not mess it up, but luckily I was on King Edward!”

Teammate Nicola Pohl went on to add, “I must say the atmosphere here was incredible, maybe also because Henrik was on the team it felt like they were supporting us a little extra, and the great fans and great atmosphere really made it a great day!”

Podium veterans Riesenbeck International powered by Kingsland Equestrian finished in a well deserved second place, ultimately finishing 7 seconds ahead of third. The fourth podium for the 2024 season. Christian Kukuk spoke of the team's reignited championship hope. He said: “We haven't had as many podiums as last year, a few more second places rather than wins... There are more shows left for the season and we are definitely still fighting for the win.”

Doha Falcons Winnings Interview - GCL Stockholm 2024

Huge shake-up in the 2024 Championship Standings after Stage 9:

1st Place: Stockholm Hearts powered by H&M We Love Horses: 176 points

2nd Place: Doha Falcons: 170 points

3rd Place: Cannes Stars powered by Iron Dames: 169 points

4th Place: Riesenbeck International powered by Kingsland: 161 points

From the outset, the packed Olympic Stadium in Stockholm was on the edge of their seats during the first round of the GCL. The event was filled with drama, particularly when the home team and current Championship leaders Stockholm Hearts powered by H&M We Love Horses power duo of Nicola and Olivier Philippaerts left the arena with an unusual 16 faults as the first team to go, almost immediately knocking them out of contention for the hatrick of three home wins in a row. 

With no double clears in round one, three teams entered round two on 4 faults but five teams were only a rail behind them leaving it all to play for in a dramatic second round of action in sunny Stockholm. 

It was an unusual two-down in round 1 for Henrik von Eckerman and Glamour Girl that put the Scandinavian Vikings on eight faults going into round 2. But a flawless double clear from Nicola Pohl with Catz de Sulpice kept them in contention as Henrik entered on the one and only King Edward for the second round. The crowd fell silent as the most famous combination in the world right now took it all in their stride. The stadium erupted as von Eckermann stopped the clock clear and in a fast time to keep the team on a fast eight faults. 

Having been kept off the podium this season already due to just a single time fault, it was gutting for the Istanbul Warriors powered by Carpe Diem to enter round 2 with six faults in total, already putting them on the back foot. It quickly fell apart as the poles kept falling for Abdel Said and Etincelle d'Ellipse, and one down with two more time faults to add for Géraldine Straumann on Long John Silver knocked them right down the order. 

Having kicked the season off well in Miami and Mexico, Prague Lions, powered by Czech Equestrian Team, needed another boost here in Stockholm. A foot-perfect clear from Pieter Devos and  Nascar van 't Siamshof but an unlucky one rail for Fernando Martinez Sommer on Lady van de Haarterhoeve added to their four faults from round one left the door open for the remaining teams. 

Needing to maximise on their late starting order Riesenbeck International powered by Kingsland were aiming for a much-awaited bit of luck and a win to pick up crucial championship points. With just a single rail in round one from Harry Allen, Christian Kukuk opted to play it safe with a steady clear round on Nice van't Zorgvliet. Team manager Ludger Beerbaum obviously gave Philipp Weishaupt the same instructions with Zineday, although slightly faster their total time was 150.88 seconds, which was a risky strategy with still one team to go. 

Carrying on four faults from round one in déjà vu like last week in Paris, last to go Doha Falcons entered the arena. Knowing just how crucial pole position is, the rapid team of Jérôme Guery on Quel Homme de Hus and Simon Delestre with Dexter Fontenis Z didn’t look to break a sweat as they cruised around keeping all the poles up. The combination stopped the clock just under 7 seconds faster than Riesenbeck International as Simon Deletre punched the air knowing they had claimed another maximum points and Philipp Weisuapt shook his head in disappointment missing out on the win yet again. 

The Championship now heads straight to the iconic destination of Monaco, 4 - 6 July,  where the 10th round of action will take place in the stunning Port d’Hercule surrounded by super yachts.

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