Paris Panthers regained their form and dominated at the magnificent Royal Hospital Chelsea for today’s GCL London, with Gregory Wathelet and Ioli Mytilineou taking pole position for tomorrow’s showdown.
The Panthers are currently 7th in the overall rankings after a difficult start to the season and with every score counting the pressure is on all 16 of the teams at this crucial stage of the 2022 season.
Gregory Wathelet explained: “We try to do better and better, we didn’t start so well in the beginning of the season and we just have to better every show and try to end up on the top of the list. Tomorrow the time will be more important, but at least we were both clear that's the most important for tomorrow.”
It was a perfect comeback for Levis de Muze as Loli explained: “It feels absolutely amazing, it's his first big show back for a while now, I just took it a bit easy and then he jumped honestly incredible, I'm so happy with him.”
With tactics at the forefront of everyone’s minds, five teams head into tomorrow on a clear score, with the New York Empire, Shanghai Swans, Miami Celtics and Berlin Eagles joining the Panthers in the best possible position. A further 5 teams sit within two poles of each other, highlighting the high calibre of sport and the drama that could unfold for Saturday’s showdown.
A quintessentially British occasion, the Royal Hospital Chelsea played host to the first round of GCL for the weekend. A thrilling display of world-class sport with movement at the top of the leader board left spectators guessing throughout the class.
Drawn first, Valkenswaard United made the course look very jumpable and as John Whitaker and Equine America Unick du Francport put a clean sheet on the board but it was a gut-wrenching and costly single-time fault for Edwina Tops-Alexander and Fellow Castlefield after finishing just 0.01 outside the time allowed.
Current ranking leaders Stockholm Hearts powered by H&M We Love Horses had an abnormal day in the office after GCL of Monaco winning pair Lily Attwood and Olivier Philippaerts finished with a total of 29 faults. Knocking their chances of extending their 30-point lead on Berlin Eagles Attwood and Calvaro's Up To Date had a stop in the middle of the double and picked up 25 faults while Philippaerts and Le Blue Diamond v.T Ruytershof just had a single rail.
It was young guns Harry Charles and Jodie Hall-McAteer for New York Empire powered by Lugano Diamonds who finished on the exact same time as each other on 73.64s each with Stardust and Mademoiselle-A putting them in a solid position for a podium tomorrow.
And the young British talent putting in epic performances for their teams didn’t stop there as Jack Whitaker and Equine America Valmy de la Lande cruised around the stunning arena to put a clear on the board for Madrid In Motion. An unfortunate rail mid-course from Maikel van der Vleuten and Elwikke put them down the order but still in the fight.
It was big smiles for Miami Celtics’ pairing of Jessica Springsteen and Michael G Duffy after a flawless display of show jumping from Hungry Heart and Clitschko 17 raising the temperature of the British Summer sun. There was drama however for the Istanbul Sultans who knocked themselves out of the chance to win valuable ranking points as both Omer Karaevli and Gerrit Nieberg finished with double-figure faults.
As the afternoon and day one of the Longines Global Champions Tour of London came to a close, an iconic scene was set with the Chelsea Pensioners once again joining in the prize-giving ceremony. Taking place in front of the VIP Hospitality, the winners of the GCL round one were framed by the spectacular backdrop of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
Don’t miss any of the action as GCL Round 2 of London starts tomorrow at 14.15 and teams will be strategising to secure maximum points as the Championship accelerates towards its climax.