Excitement flowed to the final team as the Paris Panthers duo of Eve Jobs and Nayel Nassar held off enormous pressure to claim their third win of the season in the power-packed Mercedes-Benz GCL Hamburg.
Every team on the podium today featured a U25 rider showcasing GCL’s commitment to helping the talented youth gain exposure at the top level of show jumping. Making her debut on the GCL circuit, midseason signing U25 Eve Jobs teamed up with long-standing member of the Panthers Nayel Nassar. The pair claimed the top spot on the podium ahead of St Tropez Pirates dream team of Olivier Robert and U25 Micheal Pender - who were denied their third consecutive win at GCL Hamburg. Current ranking leaders Valkenswaard United secured third place with the dynamic duo of Marcus Ehning and U25 Gilles Thomas.
Eve Jobs smiled: “It feels pretty amazing, I wasn’t really expecting this so I am really excited and very happy. I thought the course rode pretty well today. I am just super happy to be here.”
Teammate Nayel Nassar added: “I am so happy, we wanted to give Eve a good experience her first time out so I am glad we got it done today. We came here with the goal to move up one spot in the overall rankings. The Shanghai Swans helped us out a little bit by having some jumps down so we just needed to make sure we capitalize on it.”
The overall season standings featured a dramatic shakeup with Paris Panthers pouncing into second place on 215 points just behind Valkenswaard United on 230 points. Shanghai Swans slip down to third on 212 points while London Knights hold onto fourth place on 192 points but Monaco Aces and Berlin Eagles are hot on their heels in joint 5th with 182 points.
Families enjoyed picnics around the huge grass arena waiting in anticipation for the top horses and riders in the world to take centre stage. German course designer Frank Rothenberger produced a twisting flowing course with the GC vertical catching some of the top combinations out while the unusual derby wall fence didn’t fall as much as first thought. With many teams often opting for a steady clear in terms of strategy, the crucial time allowed added an element of drama into the mix.
First to go Yuri Mansur and QH Alfons Santo Antonio had everything to do for the Doha Falcons team with their R1 score of 12 faults, but an early fault at the GC vertical along with the penultimate fence falling after choosing a risky inside line meant the Falcons were already on 20 faults before their second rider had started. Bassem Mohammed and Gunder made a smart move adding a stride into the combination. It was a tactically slow round from the pair crossing the line keeping all the fences up but with two time faults for the Falcons to finish with 22 faults overall.
Madrid In Motion
Madrid In Motion made the strong recruit of Marlon Modolo Zanotelli, the Brazilian rider performing solidly once again today. Riding Obora's Chloe he produced the first clear round of the day and crossed the finish with a beaming smile on his face. It wasn’t to be for Michael G Duffy and Lapuccino 2 as the hot grey knocked the GC vertical quickly followed by one more down meant the team were on the back foot with 20 faults but in a fast time of 157.00 seconds.
The Shanghai Swans duo cantered into the arena together, both riders on their smart chestnut horses looking united with their burgundy team jackets. First to ride was Christian Ahlmann with Mandato van de Neerheide who lost a little impulse into the double landing on the back rail of the GCL oxer and finishing with 4 faults. The team made a strategic switch of horses for Max Kühner bringing in the experienced Vancouver Dreams for this crucial second round. The combination looked fresh and ready to go but an early fault added to a costly time fault caused the team to finish with 17 faults.
New York Empire
Denis Lynch and Cristello were caught out at the second fence knocking the back rail of the wide DKB oxer immediately putting them on the back foot. Focusing on keeping the remaining fences up the pair also secured a time fault to come home on 5 faults. There was further agony for the team as the green oxer fell for Spencer Smith and Quibelle as well as another time fault dropping the team down the order with a total of 18 faults.
Riding for the home team Suus Kuyten was first for the Giants with the huge striding Alfa Jorda. Making full use of his massive stride, Kuyten kept the momentum up, motoring through the course but finish with 12 faults after three fences fell before passing the baton to speedy teammate Bart Bles with Comme-Laude W. The course proved once again how tricky it was and needed pinpoint accuracy as the one down and a time fault to add.
Geir Gulliksen and VDL Groep Quatro were the first challengers for the Vikings, the confident pair flying around the first half of the course, but it soon fell apart adding 13 faults to their overnight score. Teammate Frank Schuttert and Kinky Boy van het Gildenhof would need to produce a clear and fast round to keep the Vikings within the top 10 but two parts of the triple combination fell consecutively making it a total of 31 faults after both rounds.
St Tropez Pirates
First of four teams to stay today on a score of 4 faults, the St Tropez Pirates knew a strong result here would help their charge up the overall GCL rankings. First in Olivier Robert and Vangog du Mas Garnier put in a sensational clear round as they bounced enthusiastically around the arena. Passing over to Michael Pender and HHS Calais, the combination had a hard fault to the green oxer added with an unconventional time fault bringing the team up to 9 faults which proved good enough for second place overall.
Last week's winners the London Knights knew they had a real shot at a podium today. First to go Emily Moffitt who came off the bench to replace Ban Maher pulled out a stunning clear for the team but just outside the time allowed on Winning Good keeping them in contention. However, it all fell apart for mid season signing Douglas Lindelöw and Cheldon who had three down and the Knights finished with 17 faults but got decent raking points as they claimed 5th place overall.
Jodie Hall Mcateer and Kimosa van het Kritrahof were the first for Cascais Charms, the bay horses looking a little unsteady early in the course but they soon settled after a rub on the first fence but it stayed up. It was an unfortunate two down for the young talent before handing over to Roger Yves Bost and Cassius Clay VDV Z. They also had the GC vertical down after leaving a stride out knowing he couldn’t afford a time fault. The team finished on 20 faults and just inside the top 10.
It was a solid performance from Laura Kraut and Goldwin to pick up just the four faults however it didn’t count for anything as Julien Epaillard and Billabong du Roumois retired mid-course after a sticky refusal in the triple combination causing the team to be eliminated and costing them crucial points in the overall season Championship race.
After a dramatic refusal in the triple combination from Leopold van Asten and VDL Groep Elegant Hero Z the pair opted to retire and save themselves for another day making it two teams back to back who were eliminated before Jur Vrieling and Long John Silver 3 could even start.
Making her debut on the team this weekend Eve Jobs and Venue d'Fees Des Hazalles set off at pace taking it all in their stride. An unlucky fault mid-way round but tackling the rest of the course with ease but just slipping outside the time allowed bringing their total to 5 faults overall. But Nayel Nassar kept cool under pressure with the consistent grey Coronad flying to the first and within the time to start their challenge. They delivered, finishing clear and keeping the team on a score of five which proved good enough for the win today.
Current ranking leaders the blue and orange team of Valkenswaard United made no changes to their lineup with Marcus Ehning and 18-year-old Misanto Pret a Tout first to attack the course. But the delicate GC upright fell handing the pressure over to the young gun Gilles Thomas and 9 year old black stallion Feromas van Beek Z. They also had one down and stopped the clock half a second over the time allowed so United finished with 9 faults securing a place on the podium.
The final team to go, Berlin Eagles kept their German pairing of Ludger Beerbaum and Philipp Weishaupt for this crucial round. Ludger piloted Mila, the multi Olympic champions carefully managing the talented horse, but the lightest of course toward the end of the course put the team on an equal score with the Pirates. The pressure was on Weishaupt and Coby to keep all the poles up and deliver, but there was heartache when two fences fell, dropping them off the podium and having to settle for a fourth place today.
The Championship now looks to Rome, Italy, for the 12th and 13th round of action in a thrilling 2021 season race.