Hot favourites Valkenswaard United pairing of world number one Peder Fredricson and leading lady Edwina Tops-Alexander finished with an unexpected 14 faults to carry over to tomorrow’s second-round - putting their chances of claiming the Championship win this weekend at risk.
Producing their lowest rank after R1 of this season Valkenswaard United team member Peder Fredricson explained: “This is our sport, it’s not machines, its animals we are riding and you never really know before you go in the ring how it’s going to go. There’s a new day tomorrow and we will try to do a double clear tomorrow and we will be right up there again."
Explaining the shock refusal, Edwina Tops-Alexander said: “To be honest I watched quite a few horses and quite a few were spooking on that fence. I don’t know why, it was strange it was a simple fence so I made sure to show it to him when I came in. I went a bit for the time maybe I turned a little short but normally he wouldn't duck out like that. He really caught me by surprise. Thank god Peder was there today as usual, number 1 ranked rider in the world which is fantastic."
Taking their first pole position of the year Doha Falcons produced two flawless and fast clear rounds from Bassem Mohammed riding 14-year-old Caletto Cabana and Yuri Masur on Vitiki. Producing the first double clear of the competition the Falcons flew into the lead at the stunning X-Bionic Sphere resort in Šamorín followed by Madrid In Motion father and son pairing of Eric and Maikel van der Vleuten and third place for the London Knights Olivier Philippaerts alongside Emily Moffitt.
Šamorín has over 800 years of history and a great tradition in sport providing the perfect location for a battle of the best in the beautiful venue is set in over 100 hectares offering excellent facilities for sport including 8 oversized arenas (3 grass arenas, 2 indoor arenas, 3 sand arenas) and a 1.6-kilometer-long galloping track.
London Knights have enforced their position in the top 4 of the overall season championship which would fast track them through to the GCL Super Semi-Finals after their performance today. A foot perfect double clear from Philippaerts onboard Zayado and Moffitt paired with Winning Good put them straight in contention for a solid team result tomorrow.
Christian Ahlmann brought out his top mount Solid Gold Z for today’s first round. Although incredible horsepower a touch at the double put the team on 4 faults and piled on the pressure onto Max Kühner’s shoulders. They lived up to their consistent name and secured a clear on Elektric Blue P and left them in the fight.
After a sensational clear round from young gun Jeanne Sadran and Vannan, their second one this season it was a costly early fault from Monaco Aces’ Laura Kraut and Confu putting them on the back foot for tomorrow's second round.
With half the field finishing on just 4 faults time was a crucial factor in today’s first-round but the Berlin Eagles opted for steadier rounds putting them right down the order after Ludger Berrbaum and Mila had one down. While Weishaupt and Cody left all the fences up but were over 5 seconds slower.
It was a blistering time from Darragh Kenny and Volnay du Boisdeville but an unlucky pole meant Gregory Wathelet had to go clear on Picobello Full House Ter Linden Z to stay in the race. The pair did exactly this but leaving room for Valkenswaard United to slide ahead if they could manage a double clear.
Still the only team guaranteed to finish in the top 4 Valkenswaard United set off with intent. World number one Peder Fredricson wearing a ranking leader armband on both sleeves as he cruises Catch Me Not Old through the finish line for a flawless 0 faults. But it all fell apart after an uncharacteristic spook at some flowers from Tops-Alexander’s Fellow Castlefield meant the pair picked up 12 jumping faults and 2 time - carrying 14 faults through to tomorrow's final and crushing United's chance of taking the win in the Championship this weekend.
After round one how it stands in the Championship:
Shanghai Swans close into Valkenswaard United closing the gap from 21 points to 13 points
Paris Panthers close in on Shanghai Swans from 3 points to just 1 point
Valkenswaard United on 14 faults
Shanghai Swans on 4 faults
Paris Panthers on 4 faults
Tune in to find out how GCL Šamorín plays tomorrow at 15.30 local time for what is set to be a thrilling second round.