Home turf win for Almeida at LGCT Cascais, Estoril

Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso

As the sun shone brightly over the huge grass arena on the second day at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Cascais, Estoril it was a home win for Antonio Matos Almeida (POR) who won the CSI5* speed class by just two-tenths of a second on Irene van de Kwachthoeve. Consistent Harry Charles (GBR) finished in 2nd place for the second day running with Controe and the speedy Swiss, Pius Schwizer (SWI) was 3rd on Vient tu du Rouet.


Speaking after his round, a beaming Antonio Matos Almeida said: ‘My mare, Irene van de Kwachthoeve, is really fast but when I saw Harry’s round I thought it was impossible to beat. I tried my best, this level is a little higher than she is used to jumping at but she is really brave and wants to do it. I am very pleased!" 


36 combinations came forward to tackle this 1.45m Longines Ranking class built by the experienced Frank Rothenberger with 10 of them producing clear rounds. Fence 11, the second water tray caused the most problems throughout this extremely fast speed class.  


First to attempt the course, Daniel Bluman (ISR) used it as a confidence builder and took all the outside turns on Gemma W. The pair also had the back rail of the combination down and picked up a time fault, leaving the win open for the rest of the field. 


Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) rode a very brave ride on Sunshine du Phare. Although he had a stop at the water tray the Frenchman still managed to finish 15 seconds faster than the first clear round of Rodrigo Giesteira Almeida (POR) on 9-year-old Roscoe proving the time could easily be beaten.  


Bronislav Chudyba (SVK) and his massive striding horse New York took the lead early on as they managed to keep all the fences up and storm over the finish line in 61.16 seconds. There was drama when Wilm Vermeir (BEL) went through the start timers before he planned to go over the first fence causing him to turn a circle and add crucial seconds to the clock. 


The very quick combination of Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and Spike vd Withoeve swiftly landed themselves in the lead with a very smooth round in 60.72 seconds. It then looked like Yuri Mansur Guerious (BRA) was on track to beat the time but a couple of turns were too tight for Amor and this caused him to retire the bay gelding to save his energy for another day. British hope Scott Brash (GBR) also pulled up after a few fences as he planned to keep Hello Jefferson for the big class tomorrow. 


Dani G. Waldman (ISR) produced the fourth clear round of the day on her fairly new grey mare Jativia. They weren’t going for the win but their time of 81.99 seconds still landed them within the top 10. Harry Charles (GBR) meant business on his 12-year-old Controe, he cut over two seconds off the leading time and they were the first combination to finish under the 60-second mark. 


Proud father of Harry and Olympic Gold Medallist, Peter Charles explained: "Harry has borrowed Controe from his sister, he is an ex-event horse with a lot of blood but a lot of fun to ride. Harry knows he is very lucky to be jumping on the [Longines Global Champions] Tour, it has helped him so much”


It was local hero, Antonio Matos Almeida (POR) who came out on top with Irene van de Kwachthoeve. The fast and furious pair shaved milliseconds off Harry’s time and delivered a masterclass on how to win a speed class. 


A disappointed Bertram Allen (IRL) would have gone into the lead until Izzy by Picobello didn’t like the last fence and ran out putting them right down the leader board. Without breaking a sweat Marcus Ehning (GER) and Comme Il Faut cruised around the course in the same tempo as always. They finished in 7th place without even trying to go for the time. 


But it was Antonio Matos Almeida who was unbeatable in today’s speed class, for the full results click here…


The big class of the day will kick off at 21.00 local time so make sure to tune into GC TV for all the action live and for free!