Speed and carefulness are crucial factors when it comes to mastering Uliano Vezzani's track – so how did Shanghai Swans hit the perfect balance and secure a sensational GCL Rome win on Saturday?
GCL Rome presented a fascinating study in what was the ultimate trade-off between keeping all the fences up but shaving crucial seconds off the time between the three fastest teams Madrid In Motion, Paris Panthers and victorious Shanghai Swans
It was a nervous weekend, teams had to make decisions of horses and riders that would be on top form for two weeks in a row. If they made the wrong decision they have to stick with the team for two weekends. Everyone is aware of the season-closing you saw it with how the riders were nervous.
In round 1 it was the lowest number of clear rounds all season with just 5 combinations finished on 0 faults and no double clears. This is the first time in GCL history that no horse, rider or team has jumped a double clear over the two rounds.
The Shanghai Swans win finally gave them a boost of energy, they are back in the game with the addition of Malin Baryard-Johnsson. They have overtaken Paris Panthers in the overall standings again so it was a big celebration in Rome for them.
Malin Baryard-Johnsson coming onto the team has taken the pressure off Christian Ahlmann and Max Khuner, Ahlmann felt relaxed he knew he had a strong partner with him and it wasn't just on his shoulders for this stage.
We have never had this scenario in GCL before where there are still three teams in the hunt. Each and every single fence counts when you get to this stage of the season.
The margin at the top of the Championship is so small at the moment if one of the top three teams do not land on the podium this weekend in Rome it could be their chance of a title gone.
Stay tuned as the action kicks off on GCTV live this Thursday!