Finishing as the only clean sheet of the weekend Olivier Philippaerts and Lily Attwood extended the Stockholm Hearts powered by H&M We Love Horses championship lead after the duo secured a breathtaking victory in one of the most compact and challenging arenas on the circuit.
London Knights pair of Mike Kawai and Sam Hutton climbed from 14th place over night to take silver on the podium while Berlin Eagles powered by Fundis took third place with Eoin McMahon and Philipp Weishaupt.
U25 rider Lily Attwood smiled: “It felt amazing today to jump my first double clear for the team, my mare really lit up in this arena and to have this win with Olivier feels amazing. Ginger is quite a small horse so I think this arena suits her so much.”
Olivier Philippaerts praised his team: “We are getting to the second part of the season so any results are critical and important so again today we get a couple of points ahead. This arena is so small but we both picked the right horse for this class.”
With their spectacular win today, the Hearts now sit 30 points clear of Berlin Eagles with 207 and 177 points respectively in the overall season raking. Finishing the top 4 off are Madrid In Motion and Prague Lions on the same points tally of 165.
Uliano Vezzani produced a tight and technical course, with athletes racing up and down the arena and in a tight time. The design was challenging from the start, with almost every line being a related distance and with a Longines treble set along the long side where spectators watched on. The course suited sharp and intelligent horses, those who were most responsive to their riders and able to change direction and pace in a heartbeat.
The first double clear of the day came from the London Knights pairing of Mike Kawai on Goldwin and mid-season signing Sam Hutton, making his debut for the team with Bonne Amie keeping the team on their overnight score of 12 faults and making the course look jumpable however teams to come proved this wasn’t the case.
Mike Kawai told GCTV: “I am really surprised we are on the podium but also so happy to be 2nd because yesterday we were in 14th place. Goldwin was amazing and I am glad we made the right decision to put Sam in the team because his horse was jumping top all week.”
Teammate Sam Hutton then added: “That was amazing, there was a lot of pressure to go clear. I wanted to do a really good result because it's my first time on the team.”
Madrid In Motion dropped down to fourth place in the overall ranking as they had a shock 23 fault total this weekend after miscommunication from Eric van der Vleuten and Dreamland even though son Maikel jumped clear both days.
Eric van der Vleuten spoke of his disappointment: “Both of my rounds were not good at all. Today I had two down and maybe our ride from the first round was still in our heads today but for me, it was not good enough at all this weekend.”
There was huge disappointment for the Shanghai Swans after Jeanne Sadran and Comic Star came home with 16 faults on the board. Max Kühner was left to do damage control but even his clear round on EIC Coriolis des Isles couldn’t save the team from the bottom end of the results table today.
Speaking live Kühner said: “We knew it wasn’t going to be our strongest weekend from the start. We are very thankful that Jeanne came here with her horse that has no experience and she gave her best. We made some changes in the team and we always knew Monaco wouldn’t be our best show and now we will get better.”
Berlin Eagles needed a strong result today, after their nightmare in Paris, to try and close the gap to ranking leaders Stockholm Hearts. First to go, Philipp Weishaupt knocked a single rail down before Eoin McMahon finally produced his first clear round for the team with Chakra.
McMahon explained: “Myself and Philipp had a quick chat after our round and said we would be happy enough to be in the top five which we thought was realistic but luckily the poles just started falling and we managed to slip onto the podium. We didn’t expect to get on the podium here - our goal was just not to lose too many points. We have very good horses sitting at home in the stables and there is a little break now in the GCL but I think we have a very very strong chance in the running for the championship. On our side, we are quite confident.”
On incredible form recently, U25 rider Lily Attwood pulled out a phenomenal double clear for the Stockholm Hearts with her enthusiastic mare Calvaro's Up to Date, managing her horse brilliantly to leave the team on a zero score. Anchor Olivier Philippaerts put in a breathtaking performance with H&M Miro, keeping the Hearts as the only team on a completely clear score.
Last year's GCL Monaco winner Paris Panthers had to pull of the best double clear of their life to take back-to-back wins and continue their campaign up the rankings after a tough start to the season. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be and the team handed the win to Stockholm Hearts after 13 faults from Ioli Mytilineou meant they also finished off the podium in 4th place today.
GCL now has a 6 week summer break before heading to the centre of London for the 11th round of action as the championship race hots up from 19 - 21 August 2022.