In one of the most competitive jump-off’s of the 2021 season, it was Spencer Smith and Theodore Manciais who defied gravity and soared into first place claiming his first-ever Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix win under the lights in the spectacular arena of Šamorín.
Smith denied Chrisitan Ahlmann of the win by 0.02s and of the penultimate prestigious golden ticket for the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix at the GC Prague Playoffs in November. Jur Vrieling rounded off the podium in the electric atmosphere of the X-Bionic Sphere with a phenomenal jump-off on Fiumicino van de Kalevallei.
The Championship battle has never been this close before after Peder Fredricson could have taken the overall season title today if he’d of finished 6th place or above today but a surprise fault mid-course in the jump-off left him in a dramatic 8th meaning the race to the finish line is tighter than ever. Peder Fredricson now leads the Championship heading into the Final round next week on 249 points with Olivier Robert just behind in 232. Ben Maher sits in third on 228 and Edwina Tops-Alexander rounds off the battle with 223 points.
A beaming Spencer Smith told GCTV: “There are no words. This is what I have worked for my whole life. I am so thankful, I have the best horse and the best supporters. Georgina Bloomberg gave me this opportunity and put me on this stage - I am so lucky. My horse deserves this win more than I do.
With less than 1 second between the top five placed riders in the jump-off it was a display of the world’s best horses and riders tackling Uliano Vezzani’s foot perfect 1.60m track. The 10 person jump-off kicked off in style with British legend Scott Brash taking a flyer to every fence with Hello Vincent to secure a clear in a blistering time of 40.56s.
Although giving it their best shot with the crowd on the edge of their seat it was one down for both Henrik von Eckermann on Olympic Champion King Edward and Daniel Deusser on the young talent Bingo Ste Hermelle.
Young gun Spencer Smith had been knocking on the door for a Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix all year but had to wait until the penultimate event of the year for his much deserved victory. Riding Theodore Manciais the pair gave it everything that had and more as he soared to the top of the leader board with ease in a time of 39.57s.
All Peder Fredricson needed to do with H&M All In was finish 6th or better to have won the Longines Global Champions Tour 2021 Season Championship but an anginose fence fell mid way through the jump-off putting him on the back foot. Not quite fast enough he had to settle for 8th place meaning the battle for the champion of champions will continue to the Finals next week.
Both Bart Bles and Jessica Springsteen looked on track to beat the time but their horses spent extra fractions of a second the air dropping them off the podium today. The crowd roared when Jur Vrieling and Fiumicino van de Kalevallei took an inside turn to the penultimate fence that one else had risked. The turn paid off proving good enough for third in this extraordinary jump-off.
Christian Ahlmann and the stunning Dominator 2000 Z set off at a flat out gallop. With everyone in the arena holding their breath he crossed the finish line just 0.02 seconds slower than Smith and walked out of the arena gutted he couldn’t quite match the pace.
The pressure got to last to go Philipp Weishaupt and Lacasino as it all fell apart and they finished with 8 faults handing the win to Spencer Smith and leaving it all to plan for next week.
The Championship battle has never been this tight and it will be down to the wire in next weeks Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Slovakia. Tune in to GCTV to find out who will be crowned the season champion live from Šamorín.