Stockholm Hearts Powered by H&M We Love Horses nailed their debut performance as a team, winning GCL Doha on a clean sheet with power pairing Peder Fredricson and Malin Baryard-Johnsson.
Starting their championship campaign the Swedish duo riding Hansson Wl and H&M Indiana held their nerve leaving all the fences up to continue the streak of GCL Doha always being won by a team on 0 faults.
Hamburg Giants who didn’t make any changes from their R1 squad secured second place on the podium with Jur Vrieling onboard Long John Silver and Bart Bles with Comme-Laude W jumping the only other double clear of the weekend.
Bronze medals went to Madrid In Motion’s combination of Jack Whitaker and grey stallion Equine America Valmy de la Lande and team anchor Maikel van der Vleuten who were the fastest team on 4 faults.
Praising her teammate, Malin Baryard-Johnsson told GCTV: “There was a lot of pressure today but having the world number one coming behind me it feels good. It is a long season ahead of us but it is a very good start and we are super happy."
A smiling Peder Fredricson said: "It is one thing to be favourites but it another to actually perform. There is pressure but that's what I like about it, it is exciting and this pressure is a fantastic feeling."
It was extremely close going into today’s round with five teams on a clean sheet and six teams just a pole behind them on four faults. Ten team managers felt the pressure opting to make horse or rider changes in the hope their tactics pay off.
First to go and starting on the back foot, New York Empire powered by Lugano Diamonds brought their total up to 28 faults after another two poles fell for Denis Lynch and Cristello. Although Scott Brash and Hello Mr President went clear the damage was already done and the team had to settle for a lower position in the first GCL showdown of the year.
It proved to be a testing course as last year’s season champions Valkenswaard United pushed themselves even further away from the podium after John Whitaker and Marcus Ehning added 12 faults to bring their total up to an unusual and costly 20 faults. Not how the team imagined their 2022 campaign to start.
2021 GCL Super Cup Winners, London Knights continued their form even after a huge team shake up over the winter. The team stayed on their overnight score of 4 faults after both Mike Kawai riding Goldwin and Hans-Dieter Dreher with Elysium crossed the finish line with clear rounds taking 5th place overall.
Berlin Eagles just slipped off the podium after Lugder Beerbaum with Mila and Christian Kukuk on Mumbai producing the clears today but being held back by their costly rail in R1.
Young gun, 20-year-old Jack Whitaker made a phenomenal debut for Madrid In Motion helping them secure their first podium of the year with Equine America Valmy de la Lande. An unlucky pole at the penultimate fence put all the pressure on teammate Maikel van der Vleuten and Beauville to go clear. They kept their cool and secured their team 21 championship points from GCL Doha.
Riding in their eye-catching white jackets the Hamburg Giants knew it was now or never. First to go new signing Jur Vierling made it look easy on the big striding Long John Silver, flying with ease over the 1.55m track before handing the baton over to Bart Bles and Comme-Laude W. Bles brought home the goods with a double clear and forced the rest of the field to keep all the fences up.
Making their return to the GCL stage Rome Gladiators were in a strong position but a pole down from Fernando Martinez Sommer and Cor Bakker in a daily slow time forced Shane Breen and Z7 Ipswitch to up the pace. They also came home with 8 faults dropping them down the order and off the podium this time.
Last to go and the strongest team on paper Stockholm Hearts powered by H&M We Love Horses had their game faces on as they rode into the arena together to a loud roar from the crowd. Taking on the course at pace Malin Baryard-Johnsson, soared over the last fence on the fiery H&M Indiana with a clear. With no room for error, Peder Fredricson stepped up with Hansson WL who did everything he asked and more. Fredricson punched the air as they crossed the line knowing he had helped the Hearts claim their first win at their first attempt.
The Championship race now heads to the Americas for the much-welcomed return of GCL Miami Beach from 14 -16 April 2022. Follow all the action live on GCTV and experience the best in show jumping.