Scott Brash and Edwina Tops-Alexander delivered a nail-biting climax to the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Stockholm Presented by Fabege with a sensational jump-off in the City’s stunning and historic Olympic Stadium.
Scott and Hello Jefferson seized victory in Sweden with Edwina Tops-Alexander finishing second on brand new ride Fellow Castlefield with Spencer Smith claiming his first LGCT podium in third on Quibelle.
Making history Scott has a record breaking 13 LGCT Grand Prix wins to his name. Brash was thrilled to also have qualified for the prestigious LGCT Super Grand Prix at the GC Prague Playoffs in November and rocketed up the overall LGCT ranking to second place with Peder Fredricson still leading and Edwina Tops-Alexander now sitting in third place.
Smiling after his extraordinary win Scott said: "I’m delighted with the win, I thought Jefferson was amazing today. He has so much quality and I finally feel our partnership coming through and I feel there is no Grand Prix this horse can’t win. We just missed out in Madrid and I was thinking it was going to be another unlucky year again, but it's great to be part of the exciting Super Grand Prix."
"It was an amazing crowd, especially when the Swedish guys ride they really get behind them and it’s great to feel that bit of atmosphere again at the shows, it brings the best out in the competitors."
Speaking about moving up the overall season rankings and trying to secure more points Scott said: "It is a big year with the Olympics but the GCT shows are right up there so we will be traveling the world with the circuit."
It was an exceptional evening in front of enthusiastic Swedish fans in the beautiful capital city as the world’s best riders and horses went into combat in the Olympic Stadium where the Games were staged in 1912. As the Championship continues at a flat out pace Stockholm hosted the fifth leg of the LGCT and GCL series in 2021 with momentum hotting up in the global team and individual championships races.
All the Irish riders wore yellow armbands during the LGCT Grand Prix in memory of 15 year old Tiggy Hancock, who passed away this week after a fall from her pony, a touching tribute to the bright young star on the equestrian circuit.
Uliano Vezzani’s tough but fair 1.60m course caught out some worlds top talents. The delicate Longines triple combination placed strategically uphill fell multiple times while the 2 meter wide triple bar fence meant the combinations had to have pinpoint accuracy in order to clear it.
A highlight was first to go young talent Micheal Pender who looked set for a clear round until the final fence fell from the lightest of touches from HHS Burnchurch to the plank. But the fast four faults secured him fifth place overall and highest career result to date.
The pressure got to the Swedish riders in front of their home crowd as Malin Baryard-Johnsson, Henrik von Eckermann, Angelica Augustsson Zanotelli all had one down while local hero Peder Fredricson lost it at the last two fences to finish with 8 faults in the first round.
It was a thrilling, drama-filled four way jump-off at the Olympic Stadium in Stockholm. First to go young American rider Spencer Smith set the pace with Quibelle owned by New York Empire team owner and rider Georgina Bloobmberg by pushing to the Longines double. It was too risky and the back rail came crashing down adding an early 4 faults. Then slicing the Agria upright and taking a stride out to the last he crossed through the finish timers in 39.58 seconds to come home on a fast four.
Next up Carlos Lopez and G & C Arrayan launched out of the corner to the first fence causing him to get too flat and have a strong fault at the word go. Speeding up to try and finish faster than Smith and guarantee a spot on the podium, Lopez pulled off the inside turn saving seconds, but he crashed through the final fence after getting too long to the upright leaving him on 8 faults in 40.29 seconds.
The penultimate combination of 12-time LGCT Grand Prix winner Scott Brash was looking to make it 13 on Hello Jefferson. It was stunning jumping as the quick but careful gelding flew through the air taking it all in his stride. Brash was smart and kept the round smooth and tight without too much risk to fly home in 39.81 seconds and as the first double clear.
Last to go was Edwina Tops-Alexander riding new ride Fellow Castlefield looked like long time partners as they were faster at the split time mid course. But hopes were dashed as she added to the last costing crucial milliseconds and they had to settle for second place today as a clear in 40.87 seconds.
After just missing out on the win in Madrid it was a fairytale ending to Super Saturday for Scott Brash and Hello Jefferson. The championship race now continues next week to the LPEJ - Longines Global Champions Tour of Paris 25 - 27 June.
My vision is clear. Only the best for the best.