06 April 2024

Emotional Triumph: Michael Duffy Secures First Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix Victory in Miami Beach

Emotional Triumph: Michael Duffy Secures First Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix Victory in Miami Beach

With not a dry eye in the house and against the iconic backdrop of Miami Beach, Michael Duffy and Claptonn Mouche secured their first-ever Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix victory. The duo's remarkable win was highlighted by their status as the sole double clear of the day. 

While Duffy and Claptonn Mouche claimed the top spot, Max Kühner and EIC Cooley Jump finished two seconds faster but accumulated four faults over the liverpool fence which caught out more than a couple of contenders. On form Frenchman, Julien Anquetin and Blood Diamond du Pont rounded off the podium as the second fastest four-faulter, contributing to an electrifying competition next to the Atlantic Ocean.

Renowned for its vibrant atmosphere and luxurious lifestyle, the final day of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach attracted a prestigious audience, including VIPs and celebrities such as supermodel Gisele Bundchen, former Formula One driver Romain Grosjean and actor Cuba Gooding Jr, who all watched the action unfold from hospitality. Beach goers and spectators were treated to a world-class sporting spectacle coupled with the glamour and allure of one of the tours most iconic destinations.

Duffy's emotional victory was evident as he dedicated the win to his late friend, Jack Dodd, during a tearful winners interview. The poignant moment added depth to an already extraordinary achievement, resonating with spectators and fellow competitors alike.

A speechless Michael Duffy said during his winners interview, “It’s been a while coming now, it’s probably about time we got our fingers out and did something. It’s amazing, I’m a bit lost for words… I’m not the biggest talker but even more so this time. I have no words.

He went on to add, “It’s tough jumping here, it is so delicate, with a white pole in the jump off and it’s it was just delicate, so I wanted to be as quick as I can and leave the jumps up to get the job done.” 

WATCH NOW: Michael Duffy & Claptonn Mouche's Winning Round

Speaking with Rosie Tapner for GCTV after his second place podium finish, Max Kühner was reflective of his jump off round where he accrued four faults. “Cooley is a fast horse, I know that. He is a sensitive horse, through the turn he had a little slip and I then needed to give him a little bit of a push to get to the next fence. He’s so sensitive, he always remembers a push like that, and I could feel for the next fences I had to hold him back a little bit. I think that could be why the fault happened.”

He went on to comment on the venue, along the glittering shores of the Atlantic Ocean. “I mean, Miami Beach, it is just so special here. It is a special venue, with a great view of the sea and just such a special atmosphere.”

A surprise guest in the GCTV studio with Marc Lewis, Eduardo Aznar, the new 2024 Longines Global Champions Tour Championship Leader, paid tribute to this long-term jumping partner in crime, Rokfeller. He said: “I have a very nice feeling, especially with the horse that I got. I’ve jumped both LGCT Grand Prix’s this year with him, first in Doha and now in Miami Beach. My old Horse Rockefeller, he’s 19, and it is probably his last season, so the Championship really means a lot for me.

Longines Global Champions Tour Championship Standings after Miami Beach: 

Eduardo Aznar - 62 points

Max Kühner - 61 points

Christian Kukuk - 56 points

Leaving spectators in awe, riders and horses conquered a demanding course, keeping fans on the edge of their seats. The competition was intense, offering the audience a glimpse into the pinnacle of equestrian sport against the backdrop of one of the world's most stunning arenas. The LGCT Grand Prix provided an unforgettable experience, blending the camaraderie of elite sportsmanship with the vibrant culture and sophistication of Miami Beach. 

Nine world-class combinations made it into the jump-off. 

Two time LGCT Grand Prix winner, Michael Pender and HHS Calais were first to take on the challenge. But the tight arena of Miami Beach wasn’t to be today finishing with two down. Sticking on the theme of the next generation, Thibeau Spits and Calvino II de Nyze Z jumped clear in their first ever CSI5* Grand Prix but picked up 8 faults in the jump-off to finish just inside the top 10. 

The tension reached its peak during the jump-off as riders vied for the coveted podium spots. Simon Delestre and I Amelusina R 51, despite a valiant effort, finished just shy of the podium with 4 faults. Meanwhile, Julien Anquetin onboard Blood Diamond du Pont secured his first LGCT Grand Prix podium despite an unlucky rail down in the fast-paced jump-off.

In a heart-pounding push from start to finish Michael Duffy and Claptonn Mouche took a flyer to the last sending the crowd into a frenzy of excitement as he punched the air but stopped himself from celebrating too soon as he had a nerve racking wait ahead of him…

Eduardo Alvarez Aznar continued to impress on his 19-year-old Rokefeller de Pleville Bois Margot who yet again picked up crucial Championship points to take the lead after stage two. Known for his daring rides, Max Kuhner and EIC Cooley Jump the Q narrowly missed out on the win by risking it all to make sure he was up on the pace but a costly fault slid him into second. 

Two more to go before Micheal would know if he had won his first ever LGCT Grand Prix… Fellow Irishman Shane Sweetnam riding Rr Combella, who is historically successful in Miami Beach faced challenges and fell short to finish on four faults. 

The pressure intensified as Malin Baryard-Johnsson and the hot mare H&M Indiana, the last to go, tackled the course. Despite her experience, the infamous Liverpool fence proved to be their downfall, ultimately handing the victory to Duffy amidst the electrifying atmosphere of the Miami Beach venue.

Looking ahead, the LGCT Championship now moves swiftly to Mexico City for the third leg of the 2024 season. With a change in scenery and a vast grass arena awaiting competitors, the stage is set for another exhilarating chapter in the world's premier show jumping series.



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