In a story that couldn’t be imagined, Victor Bettendorf and Simon Delestre have tied for first in the €100,000 1.50m jump-off, presented by Sensormatic.
With some of the best riders in the world fronting up to the final class of the very first Longines Global Champions Tour of A Coruña, a highly competitive showdown was guaranteed. 22 of the 43 starters ultimately went clear, promising a quicker than lightning jump off.
Leading the field from his eleventh place start in the jump off, Victor Bettendorf and Big Star des Forets after a exceptionally quick clear round, it wasn’t until the packed crowd fell silent with anticipation and Simon Delestre and Iniesta V entered the arena as last to go.
A smiling master of speed, Delestre commented on the rarity of the situation. “It really is something rare, and I think we both win so we can both be happy, especially with so many riders in the jump off where it is always half-half on whether to take the risk and finish with one down and not in the placings, or take the risk and it works and it’s fantastic.”
Having started the event with a disappointing retirement on day one, Bettendorf of Luxembourg commented on the short partnership with Big Star des Forets. “I am really happy as it is a mare that I have been riding for six months and now I think that she will be ready for bigger classes in the near future.”
He went on to add: “She’s a really careful mare, I need to get her temperament right so she is working for me, but when the mindset is right, she is fighting for me and she can win lots of classes.”
A passionate crowd filled every inch of space at the impeccable facility of Casas Novas, who were enthralled by the top sport throughout the afternoon. With a roar as he crossed the finish line, Delestre thanked those in attendance. “The crowd is amazing, so enthusiastic - at first I think we didn’t really know what happened until we could check, but the crowd was really pushing for the speed all around my jump off.”
With names such as von Eckermann, Weishaupt, Lynch, Ahlmann, Kuhner and Bruynseels heading into the jump off, all eyes were on the top of the leaderboard throughout. Just 1.88 seconds separated the top 6 riders as those in the money were scattered throughout the jump off.
Third place on the podium went to the German maestro David Will aboard his flashy Zaccorado Blue who entered the arena with a single goal - the win. Holding the lead until Bettendorf stole the show and smashed his time, a clearly thrilled David redeemed a weekend after disappointment in Friday’s GCL.
Christian Ahlmann was quick to follow on the youngest horse in the jump off, Otterongo Alpha Z, who set off at pace but collected an unfortunate four.
Thirteen double clear rounds ensued, with Henrik von Eckermann and Dzara Dorchival finishing in fourth, after throwing caution to the wind and ultimately finishing 0.06 seconds behind David Will and out of the top three.
An on form Philipp Weishaupt and Krokant finished in fifth on a time of 36.91 seconds, 0.06 seconds behind von Eckermann - a promising performance ahead of their home competition in Riesenbeck next week.
Denis Lynch aboard his uber consistent Brooklyn Heights, and fellow Irishman Richard Howley Mansini Ltd made up sixth and seventh place with slick jump off rounds, but uncompetitive towards unmatchable Bettendorf and Delestre.
The top nine was rounded out by two of the biggest names in the sport, Niels Bruynseels and Matador, and Max Kuhner aboard Up too Jacco Blue, who played their part in what was a thrilling final class of an epic first edition of the Longines Global Champions Tour of A Coruña.
As the sun sets on the incredible weekend of show jumping, top class hospitality and enthralling entertainment, all eyes now look ahead to the next stop on the Longines Global Champions Tour in Riesenbeck 20 - 23 July, in what is set to be a crucial stage of the Championship race.
Relive all the action from today’s epic showdown on GCTV!