In an afternoon of non-stop sporting drama, last to go German star Daniel Deusser pulled off an extraordinary win in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Valkenswaard upon 10 year old Bingo Ste Hermelle. Second place went to the young Dutch talent Sanne Thijssen and Con Quidam Rb while leading lady Edwina Tops-Alexander rounded off the podium with Fellow Castlefield.
It was to be one of the most entertaining jump-offs of the turbo-charged season with it getting faster and faster to the point where the crowd at Tops International Arena were left mesmerised as some of the biggest names in the sport put on a show of pure talent and class.
World Number 1 Daniel Deusser explained: “I still consider Valkenswaard part of my home so it is especially nice to win here. To be honest, I didn’t think I would walk away from this weekend with the golden ticket for the LGCT Super Grand Prix. I tried it today and I finally have my ticket so it makes me really really happy. I am delighted with my horse, he showed he is a real trier. It was his first Global Grand Prix. I didn’t have anything to lose in the jump-off. I just went without thinking and it was amazing how he jumped it today.”
There were dramatic changes in the overall season standings as Edwina Tops-Alexander jumps into the lead with 214 points. Peder Fredricson drops down to second with 189 points while Sergio Alvarez Moya nipping at his heels just one point behind on 188. Olivier Robert, Max Kühner and Christian Ahlmann all move into the race as the 10th leg of the Championship comes to a close.
With 8 top combinations into the jump-off at a pivotal stage in the championship series, the atmosphere was tense and the challenge was immense. Super aerial views of the Tops International Arena facility played out on the giant screens and on GCTV as the action got underway.
First to go Max Kühner and the striking Elektric Blue P didn’t go flat out but delivered a clear putting the pressure on for others to match but in a faster time. German legend Marcus Ehning finished with an unusual 12 faults with A la Carte NRW putting them straight out of contention for the win today.
Next up in the stellar jump off field was Marlon Módolo Zanotelli and Grand Slam VDL and they took an impressively sharp angle to the wall. Even with a massive effort into the double combination the pair came home with 8 faults and left it open for the rest of the challenges to come.
Dutch fans held their breath as young home rider Kevin Jochems and Turbo Z tackled the testing track. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be today as a gut-wrenching final fence fell to put 4 faults on the board.
Leading lady Edwina Tops-Alexander was fighting for her golden ticket to the LGCT Super Grand Prix and the Championship lead. Riding the careful Fellow Castlefield they delivered a smooth deceptively fast round crossing the finish line in 48.21 seconds.
Christian Ahlmann and Clintrexo Z were unable to deliver the all-important clear as they turned too tight back to the penultimate fence with a miscommunication; the pair had a refusal and clocked up 8 faults overall.
As the jump-off raced towards its climax Sanne Thijssen and Con Quidam Rb cranked up the pressure and risked it all. Putting the pedal to the metal the pair stopped the clock in 46.28 seconds and looked on track for a home win with just Daniel Deusser to go.
Last to go, World Number One Daniel Deusser was the final contender for the crown and duly chased down sharp inside turns. The intelligent Bingo Ste Hermelle did everything and more that Deusser asked of him. Galloping flat out to the final fence the crowd cheered as he pushed to the maximum to claim the win by 2 seconds in 44.66 seconds and the coveted spot in the LGCT Super Grand at the GC Playoffs in Prague in November.
The Longines Global Champions Tour race moves to Hamburg, Germany for 11th leg of the dramatic season.