Continuing their phenomenal form, Riesenbeck International powered by Kingsland Equestrian won their fifth stage of the intense 2023 GCL season under the lights in the port of Monaco.
Extending their Championship lead even further, Christian Kukuk on Just Be Gentle and Patrick Stühlmeyer with Drako de Maugre stormed to victory, leveling the record of most wins in a season at just over the halfway point.
Solidifying their reputation as frontrunners in the world of show jumping, Riesenbeck International closed the day with a breathtaking performance in the principality of Monaco. Paris Panthers duo of Harrie Smolders riding Monaco and Ioli Mytilineou onboard Levis de Muze secured second place as the only other team to finish both rounds with just a single rail down.
The final spot on the podium tonight went to Rome Gladiators powered by Clip My Horse.TV. As a new recruit, Jérôme Guery with Cristel jumped a foot perfect double clear and Shane Breen picked up a rail in each round.
The picturesque city-state of Monaco, renowned for its glitz and glamoUr, provided an ideal setting as Princess of Monaco, Charlene and Charlotte Casiraghi presented the awards. The iconic Port Hercule served as the backdrop to the thrilling competition, creating a truly remarkable atmosphere for the sold out crowd.
A speechless Christian Kukuk told GCTV: “The wave took us to Monaco tonight, I keep asking myself the same question of how we keep doing this. I am a little bit speechless, we equaled the record and we are only half way through the season. I am very happy and proud of Patrik, he has only just joined the team and there was a little bit of pressure after our good results. I know it's never over after the first round, there is always a lot happening in the second round and it is a very exciting sport until the end.”
Adding another podium to their bow, Ioli Mytilineou smiled: “It really means a lot, this is my first double clear for the team - I always feel like I am the one that comes out and has to say ‘sorry!’, but I’m so happy and they both jumped their hearts out for me and the team.”
Third place Jérôme Guery explained: “It’s my first team competition this year as a Rome Gladiator, and to finish with a podium is amazing, it really is a team result because Michael and Shane did the first round, and I finished with Shane in the second round. It’s special here this arena, we know it’s a special show - we are here in Monaco, it’s a dream place and its not really a place you think to make a show, and it’s an amazing show here.”
Riesenbeck International storm ahead in the overall season ranking on 213 points while Madrid In Motion and Paris Panthers battle it out for second and third just a single point between them on 175 and 174 respectively. Crucially Stockholm Hearts powered by H&M We Love Horses collected a half point in Monaco slipping them just ahead of St tropez Pirates on 147.5 points compared to 147 points of the Pirates.
After his round Shane Breen explained: “I am really enjoying these team competitions, and it looks like team Riesenbeck International are unstoppable!”
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. 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 but it was the final fence that played the biggest part on deciding today’s results falling a total of 10 times. Harrie Smolders commented on the fence: “It was a tricky last fence - it was a little bit the joker of the class, even if you rode it well you could still have it down.”
Shanghai Swans were first to go in round one and lead the whole way as U25 Jeanne Sadran and Max Kühner were one of just three teams to finish on a clean sheet. For the first time in GCL history, every team made a change to their squad between the first and second round with 3 rider changes and a whopping 22 horse changes.
There was drama from start to finish in the exhilarating second round. At the half way point Riyadh Blue powered by AlHilal lead after a shock elimination from Stockholm Hearts when Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Hennessy had two refulsals at the combination.
An uncharacteristic rail from the current leader of the LGCT Individual Championship, Madrid in Motion’s Maikel van der Vleuten picked up four faults at the imposing triple combination on Beauville Z N.O.P. However, an impressive clear in round two from British young-gun Jack Whitaker aboard Equine America Q Paravatti N kept Madrid in the fight for the Championship finishing sixth overall.
Following a podium in Stockholm, Scandinavian Vikings brought aboard their new team member from the mid-season transfer window. Richard Howley and Consulent de Prelet Z collected an unlucky single rail at the final fence. The weight of a podium position and pressure of a quick clear, then rested with the iconic duo of Henrik Von Eckermann and King Edward. An unsurprising result of what was needed, Von Eckermann and King Edward produced a clean time sheet to add 0 penalties and secure them 5th in Monaco collecting valuable championship points again.
Making light work of the tricky track, young-gun Ioli Mytilineou and Levis de Muze were parnetered with Harrie Smolders aboard Monaco who was another victim of the tall, imposing final fence. Adding one single rail to the team’s final score sheet, putting them straight into second position after the time dropped them behind Riesenbeck International.- ultimately guaranteeing the team a 6th podium for the 2023 season.
With two teams to go, the elusive double clear was still being chased in Round 2.
Enter: Prague Lions powered by Czech Equestrian Team. Pieter Devos and his self proclaimed ‘horse of a lifetime’, Mom’s Toupie De La Roque produced yet another clear round, leaving one rail in hand for Prague Lions to remain on the podium for GCL Monaco, 2023. An unlucky three rails resulting in 12 penalties for Niels Bruynseels and Matador knocked their hopes of success today.
Last to go Shanghai Swans had everything to play for just needing to keep all the fences up but a gut wrenching final fence fell for Jeanne Sadran and Dexter de Kerglenn meaning Khuner had to go fast if they wanted to take the win. Putting the pedal to the metal with Elektric Blue P the risk didn’t pay off and one down handed the win to German squad once again.
GCL now has a 2 week break before heading to Spain, A Courna for the 10th round of action as the championship race hots up from 14 - 16 July 2023.