In what was the perfect ending to an exhilarating three days of competition at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid Edwina Tops-Alexander and Fellow Castlefield were crowned winners of the 10th edition of the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Madrid.
They claimed the top spot on the podium with pride as the Australian National Anthem echoed through the stadium, having been the sole pair to finish the first round with zero faults. As a result, they secured the majority of the €500,000 prize pool.
Today’s victory will go down in history as one of the most epic LGCT Grand Prix as Tops-Alexander emerged victorious after an intense and nail-biting competition bringing home her 27th LGCT podium. Collecting his first ever LGCT podium, Denmark’s Andreas Schou and Darc de Lux finished in second place just 0.03s over the time allowed. Also with an agonising time fault in round 1, Jur Vierling and Long John Silver 3 N.O.P. rounded off the podium.
Edwina also collected her golden ticket to the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix. The talented combination will jump in Prague later this year aiming to repeat history when she won the first ever LGCT Super Grand Prix back in 2018.
1st Place – Edwina Tops-Alexander & Fellow Castlefield
2nd Place – Andreas Schou & Darc de Lux
3rd Place – Jur Vrieling & Long John Silver 3 N.O.P
Speaking to GCTV after her phenomenal win and emotional Tops-Alexander smiled: “I have to say, the atmosphere here in Madrid is just amazing. It's electric, it's so exciting, and the crowd is just incredible. I would like to thank Fellow’s owner Athina Onasiss. His last Grand Prix was at Valkenswaard in August last year, he then had a little setback and I needed to give him a little bit of time to build up his fitness.
“He’s not a particularly fast horse so I was quite worried. He spooked to number one, I had to do one more from [jumps] 1 to 2 and then I was very worried about my time. I had to really really stay focused, and on top of it and try to jump clear and be slick.”
Talking about chasing the Championship she explained: “ The season is going really fast but we take it show by show, now we have a plan and we will try to stick to the plan, stay positive and try to get it done. So let’s hope it goes in the right direction.”
With Malin Bayard Johnsson not present in Madrid, Maikel van der Vluenten has taken over as Championship leader with 109 points. Malin drops to second place staying on 99 points and David Will doesn’t move either in third place on 79 points.
Beaming following his first ever Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix podium finish, Andreas Schou spoke of his horse in Darc de Lux: “I’m super proud of my horse today, it is the first outdoor show this year, so I wasn't sure how he would take it and he comes out here and proves himself once again.”
Over the last decade the Longines Global Champions Tour of Madrid has grown to become one of the most popular sporting events in the world, attracting thousands of spectators to each event and this year there was a bigger turnout than ever in Madrid.
Today was an unforgettable experience for all those who attended. In addition to the thrilling show jumping competitions, there will be a range of activities and entertainment for the whole family. From delicious food and drinks to live music and performances, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
The course at Madrid was particularly challenging, with tricky lines and technical jumps that tested the skills of even the most seasoned riders.
As the competition progressed, the tension in the arena grew palpable. Spectators held their breath as each rider took on the course, hoping for a clear round that would give them a shot at victory. But as the rounds wore on, last to go Simon Delestre and Cayman Jolly Jumper knock a pole half way round meaning there was no jump-off today which last happen in Madrid in 2015.
Hoping for the big Spanish win, Eduardo Alvarez Aznar who has previously placed second and third in his home LGCT Grand Prix the crowd went silent as he approached the first fence. It was looking good as he soared over the water on Bentley de Sury but the plank came tumbling down and so did the hopes of finally making it to the top of the podium as he finished 8th overall.
Young talent Philipp Schulze Topphoff and Omer Karaevli both kept all the fences up but couldn’t keep inside the time allowed collecting 3 time faults each but keeping them inside the top 5.
Edwina Tops-Alexander, however, remained cool and collected throughout the round leaving the audience in awe as she looked back to check she was inside the time allowed before punching the air with waving to the crowd.
When it was all said and done, Edwina Tops-Alexander emerged as the only rider with a clear round, securing her victory and etching her name into the annals of show jumping history. It was a remarkable achievement, and one that will be remembered for years to come.
The Championship race now looks to Ramatuelle, Saint-Tropez 1-3 June, where the tour continues with leg five of the spectacular global circuit. Catch up on all the interviews, insights and replays on GCTV!