14 April 2024

Mexico City Erupts as Prague Lions take GCL Championship lead

Mexico City Erupts as Prague Lions take GCL Championship lead

The Prague Lions, powered by Czech Equestrian Team, ignited the crowd in Mexico City into a frenzy as they secured the win as the only team to finish on 5 faults. In a nail-biting finale of the GCL of Mexico City presented by GNP Serguros, the Lions clinched victory as the last to go, propelling themselves to the top of the championship leaderboard with a commanding lead.

The atmosphere at the Campo Marte venue was nothing short of electric as U25 rider Thibeau Spits and his exceptional mount, Impress-K van 't Kattenheye Z, held it together under immense pressure. The crowd erupted in cheers as Spits crossed the finish line after a stunning double clear, from local hero and teammate Fernando Martinez Sommer and Lady van de Haarterhoeve.

For nearly two years, the Prague Lions, powered by the Czech Equestrian Team, had not claimed the top spot on the podium until now. Thibeau Spits, beaming with joy, shared his reasons for triumph with GCTV, expressing, “I knew Fernando was really motivated, so I just couldn’t let him down. It’s just amazing… really, it’s unbelievable.”

Riding in front of a home crowd, Mexican rider Fernando Martinez Sommer of the Prague Lions was feeling the pressure. Full of elation in the post-class interview, he spoke of the support from afar, and the game plan heading into round two. He said, “I focused and walked the course with Thibeau several times… I really want to speak with the rest of the team back in Europe, Anna [Kellnerova] and the boys… they’re going to be so happy back at home.” 


With this win, the Prague Lions now hold a commanding lead in the 2024 Championship standings, boasting a 12-point advantage early in the season ahead of Cannes Stars powered by Iron Dames who sit on 58 points. Keeping consistent, the home team Mexico Amigos stay in third place on 57 points, with Stockholm Hearts powered by H&M We Love Horses in fourth place on 57 points as well. Today’s phenomenal competition has set the stage for an intense battle as the league progresses to the next stage in Shanghai. 

Second place in Mexico City went to the New York Empire powered by Lugano Diamonds, with riders Denis Lynch aboard Brooklyn Heights and Spencer Smith on HHS Seattle delivering in round 2 to jump up eight places finishing on 12 faults that they picked up in round 1. 

A brilliant comeback after the previous stage in the Championship race, the GCL of Miami Beach, New York Empire powered by Lugano Diamonds delivered an impressive two rounds. Speaking with GCTV after the event, a clearly delighted Denis Lynch and Spencer Smith spoke of this weeks performance. Denis said, “We’re very very grateful to Georgina [Bloomberg, team owner] because last week in Miami Beach we were in the lead and we didn’t get it done in the second round, so it’s good to make a nice comeback and that we’re very very grateful. Spencer really pulled it out in the second round so we’re delighted.”

Meanwhile, the Monaco Aces powered by Lion of Porches secured their first podium in a while, with Duarte Seabra and Luiz Felipe Cortizo Gonçalves De Azevedo Filho opting to change horses for round two aboard Dourados 2 and Sierra du Piedroux Z, respectively their time fault from round 1 left them on a team total of 13 to slide onto the podium. 

Luiz Felipe Cortizo Gonçalves De Azevedo Filho spoke with Rosie Tapner for GCTV alongside Duart Seabra, giving thanks to their team, support network and partners. He said, “Both of us were very consistent today, along with my son in the team today… So in my opinion, we are very consistent and very happy. I’m sure that people and the team in Europe are watching tonight to see the fantastic result, also our partners Lion of Porches.” 

Early to go after in round 2 after collecting 12 faults in round 1, New York Empire powered by Lugano Diamond proved the Peter Grant built course was jumpable, delivering two clears rounds from Denis Lynch on Brooklyn Hights and Spencer Smith with HHS Seatle they then had a nervous wait to see if it would be good enough for a podium. 

Last year’s GCL of Mexico City winners Riesenbeck International powered by Kingsland Equestrian couldn’t repeat history. After drafting in Richard Vogel he  made his debut on the team a solid effort jumping four and clear, but an uncharacteristic 12 faults from Philipp Schulze Topphoff and Carla NRW over the two rounds meant they finished as the fastest team on 16 faults, to take fourth place overall. 


Next up, Monaco Aces powered by Lion of Porches held their neve as dynamic duo Duarte Seabra and Luiz Felipe Cortizo Gonçalves De Azevedo Filho cruised around Peter Grant’s track to keep consistent and finish on a total for 13 faults. The pair watched on from their table in hospitality as it fell apart for other teams and slowly climbed up the rankings. 

The pressure got to the Cannes Stars powered by Iron Dames as Natalie Dean and Acota M had a very unusual three down before another two fell for Katrin Eckermann and Cala Mandia NRW, pushing the team down the order and handing a definite podium finish to New York Empire.

Last week’s winners in Miami Rome Gladiators powered by ClipMyHorse.TV were the first of two teams to enter round 2 on a clean sheet. But it was a shock elimination for the team after two refusals from Micheal Duffy and Claptonn Mouche ending their chances of back to back wins. 

Making no changes to their line up from round one, last to go Prague Lions powered by Czech Equestrian Team knew exactly what they had to do with three rails in hand. The full stadium fell silent and held their breath as Fernando Martinez Sommer and Lady van de Haarterhoeve jumped the testing 1.60m track, he punched the air and pointed at his horse as the crowd erupted. U25 rider Thibeau Spits was in full focus as his teammate made his life easier. Fans gasped after Impress-K van 't Kattenheye Z touched an early rail. Spits then steadied up and brought it home to take the win picking up a single time fault. 

As the excitement of Mexico City fades, all eyes now turn to Shanghai, the next destination on the GCL circuit which makes a comeback after four years. With the championship race heating up, anticipation is high for what promises to be another thrilling stage of the season.

My vision is clear. Only the best for the best.
Jan Tops - Founder & President