It was a sensational final day of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Madrid wrapping up an exciting weekend of LGCT and GCL competitions. Marlon Módolo Zanotelli and Obora's Chloe etched their names into the history books and onto the list of winners for the prestigious Copa S.M. El Rey Caser Seguros Trophy - ‘The King’s Cup’.
Before the final class of the weekend, it was Ellen Whitaker who would reign supreme on fairly new ride Colombia de Beaufour in the lightning-fast speed class and getting a standing ovation from local fans.
Riders, owners, and equestrian enthusiasts all appreciated the top-level event as the LGCT and GCL fires up around Europe in a flat out Championship race. ‘The King’s Cup’ is part of the long-standing tradition with this weekend marking the 110th edition of the show in Madrid, and closing a weekend of thrilling action.
A delighted Marlon said: "It was my student Leo who told me about the inside turn, I gave it a shot and it worked out. The mare was second on the first day and won today so what could I ask more from a horse. It is amazing to have this atmosphere back, we were missing it a lot. For all the riders it has been a fantastic show. It is one of my favourite shows."
Spanish course designer Santiago Varela Ullastres built a very interesting course with a tight time allowed the course required concentration throughout, poles rolling at the lightest of touches and power and pace needed for scopey oxers.
As the sun started its slow descent over Madrid, the shadows lengthened and the atmosphere intensified as fans readied themselves for what promised to be an ultra-fast showdown.
First in to the jump-off, Kevin Staut looked determined with Visconti du Telman, with Kevin taking all the risks he dared with inside turns and finding the perfect stride to the final fence at a flat out gallop. Crossing the finish line in 40.29 seconds he put the pressure on the rest of the field. It proved a fast time and the combination took second place over all.
The young Belgium talent of Constant van Paesschen had an early fault at the Longines upright putting them straight out of contention today. With Vendetta Treize ears pricked the whole way round they completed in 42.51 with four faults to take 7th place.
Yuri Masur and 13 year old Vitiki looked in perfect harmony with the horse and rider beautifully balanced and finding the right stride throughout until a gusty turn and a flat out gallop cost them a fault at the Grupo Eulen oxer. This pushed them into 9th place overall.
There was heartache for the crowd as home hero Eduardo Álvarez Aznar’s hopes of a win came undone as Legend knocked the same fence as Mansur. He received a huge round of applause as he exited the arena, local fans proud of their home rider.
Yesterday’s LGCT Grand Prix of Madrid winner Olivier Robert was aiming for the double on Vangog du Mas Garnier but it wasn’t meant to be their day today. A total of 8 faults in the seriously fast jump-off left them just outside the top 10.
Having finished second in this class in both 2017 and 2018 Pieter Devos was looking for one better today on Kannabis van de Bucxtale. The stunning black gelding gave the full up course plenty of room and posted a double clear in 42.30 to take home 5th.
Having been on flying form all weekend Max Kühner and Vancouver Dreams put the pedal to the medal from before the start. Looking faster than Staut at the half way point the pair couldn’t quite match the pace today and had to settle for 4th in 41.47s.
Speed merchant Marlon Módolo Zanotelli, looked keen to slingshot his way to a win today. The combination absolutely flew around the course from the word go. Taking a inside turn from one to two he delivered the clear to perfection and shifting the jump-off up a gear. The pressure was on the final 3 riders to come.
Spain’s last chance for a home win today was down to Santiago Nunez Riva and Valentino de Hus Z. The atmosphere was buzzing as they entered the arena, the horse benefiting from his huge stride. They gave it everything flying into the Caser Seguros double causing a pole to fall and slotting down the order 10th.
Final rider to go Marcus Ehning was in prime position to steal the show with 18 year old Misanto Pret A Tout. Silence fell all around the arena as they powered to the fences showing their pure class and experience in style. Fractions off the time to beat they took the final place on the podium in a time of 40.80 seconds.
The LGCT now looks to round three, at the stunning event in the Mediterranean Ramatuelle, Saint-Tropez (27 May - 29 May) where the Championship fight will continue across Europe.