With the packed and roaring crowd on their feet, David Will aboard My Prins van Dorperheide brought home the glory, taking individual honors in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Mexico City presented by GNP Seguros.
With an impressive lineup of equine and human athletes, with no less than 11 Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix winners in the ranks, the tightly fought competition had equine and sporting fans alike on the edge of their seats both at the event and at home having tuned in through GCTV.
An ecstatic and emotional David said: “My horse made it easy for me today, he jumped unbelievable today in front of this incredible crowd. They were cheering everyone on! The horse already deserved to win last week in Miami, but I made a mistake to the last fence in the jump-off so I am thrilled I made up for it today. It is just so fun and a pleasure to ride here. Every time I come here I absolutely enjoy it, the show is fantastic, the whole organization, the crowd, everything around it, the atmosphere is just unbelievable ”
Picking up the third golden ticket for the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix at the GC Prague Playoffs in November Will explained: “It is a great feeling to have secured the spot so early in the season. It is a show everyone wants to go with.
Third place Laura Kraut was adored by the local fans and she said: “Wow, this is just phenomenal. I remember this show from last year and they have the best fans in the world. It was fractions of a second, I know David is always fast and I did everything I could - my horse is a winner to me. I am very happy there were two women on the podium, that's important to me for people to realise the women are just as strong as the men.
Young talent Gilles Thomas told GCTV: “This is one of the best shows, the crowds are amazing and the horses can feel the atmosphere. I think the U25 rule in the league gives us a huge opportunity to jump at shows like this. Last year I did quite a few Globals and you feel the horses and you get more confidence and competing at the best shows with the best riders is just amazing.”
An imposing, up-to-height track proved challenging yet jumpable in Round 1. With nine of the 37 starters collecting a single rail and four faults in the first round. Followed by a truly global lineup of athletes qualified for the jump off, which saw athletes from America, Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and host nation, Mexico.
In one of the most electric jump-offs of the season so far nine of the world’s best horses and riders came forward to bid for glory under the basking sun and striking Mexican flag, standing 100m high above the incredible Campo Marte and its world renowned grass arena.
Entering the jump off as first to go Hillary Scott and Oaks Milky Way set the standard with a tidy four fault round, ultimately leaving them in eighth place. Next saw Abdel Saïd aboard Bonnie Amie follow in the same fashion, with his foot against the pedal finishing in 46.33 seconds and securing seventh place overall.
Michael Pender and HHS Fast Forward entered the arena clearly with one goal in mind. An unfortunate single rail took them out of the running for the podium finish, but their quick four fault round ultimately secured them fifth place.
Mom’s Toupie de la Roque, as one of the favorites in the jump off, took to the arena piloted by Pieter Devos. As winners and multi-place getters of previous Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix’s, the crowd fell silent as they started their round. A quick and careful clear round and the crowd erupted. A time of 46.88 now set the standard for the remaining five combinations.
David Will and My Prins van Dorperheide entered the ring determined to do one better than last week’s competition in Miami Beach and leave all fences standing. Setting off in a blistering pace, the pair took the lead in a time of 43.16 seconds, slicing a whole 3.72 seconds off Devos as the previous leader.
Maikel van der Vleuten and Beauville Z N.O.P were next to take to the jump off course, with a final line a gallop down in front of the packed VIP. An unfortunate four faults left the duo in sixth place, with the door open for the final three to go.
Podium pro Laura Kraut aboard her impressive Baloutinue entered the arena determined to stake their claim on a spot on the podium. Throwing caution to the wind with whistles echoing around the packed stadium, the pair galloped through the finish line not quite able to catch Will, with 1.1 seconds the difference between their times.
Two to go.
In his very first Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix, Eugenio Garza Perez and Contago of Mexico, jumped one of the nine clear rounds in Round 1, much to the home crowd’s delight. They then exploded as the stylish duo entered the arena.
With nothing more supportive than a passionate home crowd, everyone was on their feet. Bringing home an unfortunate 8 faults, the pair would ultimately have finished in first having edged ahead of Will by 0.13 seconds.
The gift that just never stops giving, H&M Indiana and Malin Baryard-Johnsson were next and final in the high pressure jump off. Having won in Ramatuelle / St. Tropez last year, the pressure was on. With thousands riding every stride with Malin, an impressive round left everyone guessing right until the last. An explosive clear in a time of 43.57 seconds secured them second place.
The Longines Global Champions Tour now hits a new gear in the heart of Europe, the Spanish capital, Madrid, as the fourth leg of the 2023 season is upon us in just over 2 weeks time.