The glamorous CSI5* Longines Global Champions Tour of London kicked off in spectacular fashion today, setting the stage for an exhilarating week of world-class competition.
In a heart-stopping moment that had the crowd on the edge of their seats, Nicola Pohl emerged victorious in the highly anticipated big class of the day, riding Arlo de Blondel. Clinching the victory by over a second, Pohl's first CSI5* triumph was not without stiff competition, as Jessica Springsteen aboard Hungry Heart, pushed the boundaries keeping the suspense alive until the very last moment. Homegrown talent Scott Brash, riding Hello Mr President, secured a commendable third place finish on home turf, much to the delight of the cheering British crowd.
A beaming Nicola couldn’t sing the praises of her mount, Arlo de Blondel, enough. After competing here at the Longines Global Champions Tour of London in the 2* in 2022, to winning her first 5* in 2023. She said: “I am so happy, and very thankful to Arlo for giving me this win, and I am feeling very lucky. He has been going fantastic all year, and he is probably the one I feel most comfortable about. He always gives 120%, and he is so fast on his good days which just makes it easier and a lot of fun.”
The Longines Global Champions Tour of London is not only a celebration of equestrian athleticism but also an embodiment of a luxurious lifestyle. The event drew a constellation of VIPs, including celebrities and notable figures, who eagerly awaited the stunning performances and unforgettable moments. Watching on from hospitality the likes of media personalities Sarah Cox and Chris Hughes, adding a touch of glamor and excitement to the proceedings.
With thrilling rounds scattered throughout the starting order, Angelica Augustsson Zanotelli aboard Legend Of Life continued their form and successfully challenged fellow clear round competitors with a time of 63.43 to round of the top 5 just behind James Smith and Cottee.
With 47 leading riders and entries into the second 5* class for the LGCT London competition saw an impressive line-up of riders take to the arena. William Funnell looked to replicate his stellar performance in the first class, with the last fence falling but to the disappointment of the home crowd.
It wasn’t the day for Pieter Deovs and Jarina J with a miscommunication into a tall upright incurring a refusal and four faults had the duo finishing with a slow time picking up multiple time faults. Local favourite Joseph Stockdale opted for a cruisy round aboard Ebanking posting a picture perfect clear round with a time of 67.43 seconds and landing a 9th place finish.
Beyond the riveting competitions, attendees were treated to an immersive experience in the bustling shopping village. The village offered a curated selection of high-end brands and luxury products, providing an exclusive opportunity for visitors to indulge in retail therapy amid the electric atmosphere.
As the Longines Global Champions Tour of London continues to unfold, anticipation runs high for the GCL team series tomorrow at 13.45 local time.