The long-awaited Longines Global Champions Tour of Riesenbeck has kicked off in spectacular fashion, captivating equestrian enthusiasts from all corners of the world. Amidst an electric atmosphere and the scenic beauty of Riesenbeck International a fiercely competitive 1.45m FUNDIS Reitsport Prize kicked off the weekend of top sport in style.
The opening day saw an intense battle for the top spots, with renowned British rider Ben Maher and Ginger Blue left a lasting impression by claiming the win, denying the German riders a complete sweep. An on-form David Will had to settle for second on Accoton PS by less than a quarter of a second. Feeling comfortable on home soil Richard Vogel rounded off the top 3 with Codex while Kendra Claricia Brinkop and Hans-Dieter Dreher made sure Maher was the only non-German in the top 5.
A smiling Ben Maher explained: “Ginger was great today and it is her first time on grass in a while. She jumped last week in A Courna for both team classes and the Grand Prix and I used today to get her ready for tomorrow. She is naturally fast so I didn’t push her too hard to the last fence to keep some energy for tomorrow but I had two very fast riders behind me.
In regards to the GCL team strategy for tomorrow’s competition, Maher told GCTV: “I need to speak to the Paris Panthers team boss, Rob Hoekstra but I think the plan at the moment is for me to jump Ginger in the first round then swap to Dallas for the second round.”
As the sun bathed the venue in a warm glow, the audience gathered in eager anticipation to witness the world's finest equestrian athletes vie for glory. The 1.45m FUNDIS Reitsport Prize posed a formidable challenge, with a demanding course designed to test the skill and mettle of each competitor.
The time allowed was tight and the horses had plenty to look at in the expansive grass arena but hungry for the win it was all guns blazing for the 47 combinations. Opting for a steady round ahead of a big weekend of competition Daniel Deusser, Michael Duffy, and Christian Ahlmann all collected a single-time fault. Proving too tough for some, there were retirements from some of the biggest names in the sport like Olivier Philippaerts, Jur Vrieling, and Beth Underhill.
A total of 17 clear rounds saw a range of tactics but it was David Will who took all the risks with Accoton PS. The combination set off at a flat out gallop from before the first fence and shaved seconds off the time to beat. But he wasn’t in the lead for long as Ben Maher and Ginger Blue were on a whole new level today. With tidy inside turns and a check to the last to make sure it stayed up they were the only pair to finish sub 65 seconds in today's dramatic speed class.
As the Longines Global Champions Tour of Riesenbeck continues with the GCL team competition tomorrow from 11.30am local time everything is set for Riesenbeck International powered by Kingsland Equestrian to make history on home turf.