With the 6th Grand Prix of the season in the books, Frederik De Backer looked back at the German leg in the LGCT Grand Prix Analysis and he came up with some interesting insights.
He discussed the difficult triple combination at the end of the course and the jump-off of the podium finishers.
0.01 vs 0.02 vs 0.03
European Champion Andre Thieme was first out the gate in the Grand Prix, built by Rothenberger and he must have given the architect a near heart attack finishing 0.02 seconds inside the original time allowed of 88 sec.
“Thieme started with an extra stride in the first line and choose for a few wider turns landing him close to the limit. With Derin Dermirsoy stopping the clock 1.38 seconds outside the TA on a jumping fault and Mario Stevens going clear but landing 2.37 seconds too late, Rothenberger decided to add 3 seconds to the time trap, setting it at 91. That gave a lot of headway to the rest of the riders in the competition, taking the time pressure of their ride.”
In the press room Michael Pender elaborated on the topic saying he used the extra cushion in the Grand Prix, taking some pace of his ride and addressing the course with more calmness. Ironically, though taking his time, Pender finished 0.03 seconds inside the original TA of 88 seconds.
“I didn’t pick it up myself during the class and it was only moments before the press conference began that the event’s press officer, Kim Kreling, pointed out that Pender was one hundredth of a second quicker than Thieme in Round 1. I thought she was mistaken and was referring to the jump-off where the 2 were exactly level. But after looking it up I couldn’t believe that over 2 rounds of jumping and nearly a full kilometer of galloping they were just 0.01 second apart” says the commentator after going through the results again and again.
Different horses produce the same time
“If you look at both horse ahead of the jump-off, you know they are completely different. DSP Chakaria has a fast smaller step, she is agile and in fact much more experienced. HHS Calais on the other hand has a floating canter with a very large step, but with his length he is not as easy to turn. With the long galloping lines in the jump-off you could think it was more a cut for Pender.”
De Backer continues in pointing out the difference between the 2 over the jump-off course.
“Chakaria had a bit of a slower landing after the triple bar to start the jump-off and it threw her behind Ahlmann and Pender. She had to do a stride more to the lighthouse but she immediately recovered to the Idee Kaffee vertical. Ahlmann’s Dominator didn’t focus at first and drifted away from the inside turn, between the flowers that his rivals took. Dominator jumped over the flowers causing Ahlmann to change his plan and add before the upright. There the agile Chakaria got turn her setback into a lead over the others.”
Pender and Ahlmann landed exactly level at Idee Kaffee though Ahlmann had a slight lead over the U25 rider after the second fence. And it was there that Pender was extremely brave.
“The 2 Germans rode the same number of strides (13) , but Ahlmann had to hold his stallion where Thieme was able to up the pace, extending his lead on his fellow countryman. But Pender with that beautiful floating stride on Calais left out a stride early in the line and even had to hold on 12 to the bush oxer. It was enough for Pender to get level with Thieme.”
The price of a stride
“ Pender jumped out of the line for the rollback to Global Champions around the Derby fence. He had to ride an extra strip to get into the turn and coming out he had to add again turning his lead into a handicap. Both Ahlmann and Thieme had gotten ahead on 2 strides less with Thieme on a half-jump advantage.”
With the tight turning out of the way, the last 3 long gallops would decide on the final order.
Pender and Alhlmann couldn’t push into the following yellow double on their big striders, so they had to hold and sit quiet while Thieme could push and ride away. But once out of the combination both Pender and Ahlmann managed to leave out a stride to the tall-standing LGCT vertical as second last.
“With the shorter step Thieme and Chakaria couldn’t get there on the hindleg and quite late they added, taking more time in the line but also reducing the speed. At the landing of LGCT Thieme and Ahlmann were exactly level while Pender was actually a stride behind on the leading pair.”
With Thieme coming to LGCT at a slower pace on a shorter stride horse, he had to hold for 9 strides to the final oxer of Longines. But the big striders Dominator 2000 Z and HHS Calais could leave out a stride on the downhill slope, landing Ahlmann one the top spot of the podium and Pender on the same time as Thieme for 2nd place.
“Ahlmann had the most complete horse of the day combining stride and rideability for the tighter turns. He was also smart in not opening for one stride less to the bush oxer. Pender used the big stride to aim for a win but he could get Calais quick enough round the turn. I think Thieme’s Chakaria was super efficient over the fences and the turns but found her Nemesis in the long gallops” De Backer analyses the 3 horse-and-rider combinations after the Grand Prix.
“Bring these 3 back in the jump-off in Cannes next week and I’m convinced you’ll get a different outcome, but that is the beauty of the sport. Next, week under floodlight, there are new chances for everyone.”
Discover all the details of the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Hamburg in the latest episode of the LGCT Grand Prix Analysis on GCTV with a Pro Pass.