In an electrifying 1.50m speed class fourth to go Christian Kukuk and Checker 47 delivered from the get go and set the pace to clinch victory in the final class of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Rome. On form Peder Fredricson and Hansson WL left spectators in awe as he finished fractions of a second slower stopping the clock in 66.03s.
With an audience of avid equestrian enthusiasts gathered at the iconic Circus Maximus in Rome, Italy, Christian Kukuk and Checker 47 faced intense competition from some of the world's most accomplished riders. The stage was set for a thrilling showdown before the tour heads to the Finals in Riyadh.
Speaking during his winner’s interview, Kukuk expressed his relief on it all coming together in the last 5* class of Longines Global Champions Tour of Rome 2023. He said, “I had a good feeling all weekend but have been a little bit unlucky. In this class I knew that the oxer of Lugano Diamonds had plenty of risk as the rail fell for a few riders, but I took the risk and it really paid off.”
First to go Scott Brash and Hello Mr President set off at a flat out gallop risking it all. They looked set to make it tough for the rest of the field until two poles fell late and he had to settle for 8 faults.
As the class unfolded, the excitement reached a fever pitch when home hero Lorenzo de Luca and Don Vito completed their round with remarkable precision, crossing the finish line in fractions of a second slower than Kukuk. The crowd erupted in applause, but the time was only good enough for fifth place today.
Germany’s Katrin Eckermann gave everything in the tank to 10 year old Chao Lee. Taking strides out where possible everyone held their breath as she flew over the final oxer to cross the finish line in 66.81s and secure third place. The female firepower shone through in the capital of Italy as Laura Kraut and Calgary Tame produced a flawless round only just off the winning pace and claiming fourth today.
Both Julien Epaillard and Jodie Hall McAteer had the quicker times than Christian Kukuk but each picking up an unlucky rail with Cancun Torel Z and Kimosa van het Kritrahof respectively knocked their chances of podium position.
All 12 clear rounds secured money in the €97,700 as Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Diamantino 16 rounded off as the slowest clear in 12th place. Saving their horses for another day there were shock retirements from yesterday’s LGCT Grand Prix of Rome winner, Henrik von Eckermann, Niels Bruynseels and Marlon Modolo Zanotelli following an early fault each.
As the sun set over the historic Circus Maximus, the Longines Global Champions Tour of Rome concluded with an unforgettable day, closing the 14th chapter of the 2023 season