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Monday, September 23, 2019
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Ahlmann takes the Grand Prix win while Bengtsson snatches Championship Ranking lead

Ahlmann takes the Grand Prix win while Bengtsson snatches Championship Ranking lead

Christian Ahlmann - “(Codex One) is an amazing horse, I have been riding him a few years. He had a long break and after the break he’s been in unbelievable form. He started in the Nation’s Cup in Rotterdam and was unbelievable in Aachen the whole week and winning the Grand Prix, and here. He jumped three rounds, top fresh and fighting for me, so I hope I can keep him like that. I can only say thank you to Longines and Jan Tops and the whole team - what they did for the sport is unbelievable. It is great for the sport and I hope it will continue like that.”

Ludger Beerbaum - “I really enjoy coming here

Ahlmann takes the Grand Prix win while Bengtsson snatches Championship Ranking lead

The Longines Global Champions Tour of Valkenswaard Grand Prix presented by Qatar was won by a jubliant Christian Ahlmann (GER) and Codex One who is returning to competition in fantastic fresh form and off the back of their recent Aachen Grand Prix win. Second went to Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) and Gotha FRH, the Swede’s second LGCT Silver medal in a week, and 3rd went to Eckermann’s mentor Ludger Beerbaum (GER) and Chiara 222. It was a fine day for Sweden as Rolf-Göran Bengtsson also rose to the top of the Championship leaderboard to take over from long-term No1 Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS).
Thousands of spectators and guests witnessed the high-voltage Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix presented by Qatar. VIPs and visitors crowded around the competition arena to catch a glimpse of the world-class show jumping on offer today. Fans held their breath as the tension mounted with some electrifying rounds as the sport progressed through to the final exciting climax. Guests included Bruce Springsteen, whose daughter Jessica won one of the day’s competitions. Jessica described the Valkenswaard leg of the Championship race as “fantastic” and is looking forward to competing at in London in a few weeks time.
The first round Grand Prix course was a true test for the experienced horsemen and women who took the the stunning grass arena for the 10th round of the 2014 Championship. Of the 46 starters, 13 clears progressed into the the final top 18 to come back for round two. Key points around the course were the difficult treble combination towards the end, which caught a number of top names, including Championship leader Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) and Luciana Diniz (POR). But it was the tall, lone uprights, sitting unobtrusively at points around the arena that caught out many riders - Gerco Schroder (NED), Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA) and Kent Farrington (USA) all collected four faults at these deceptively tricky fences.
On fantastic form, last weekend’s Longines Global Champions Tour of Chantilly Grand Prix winner Rolf-Göran Bengtsson’s his new mount Unita ASK performed fantastically well in her first ever Longines GCT Grand Prix with a clear and four faults to finish 10th. The Swede pointed to his horse and smiled as he left the arena to the applause from the crowd. Bengtsson is having a stellar season with three podium finishes to date - two Silver medals and a Gold - all with his great stallion Casall ASK. With Casall resting in preparation for WEG, the Swede brought his new less experienced horse to Valkenswaard, but she has taken it all in her stride.
The second round course required care and precision with its twisting lines and jagged related distances, but despite its seeming difficulty the star riders were on top form with eight completing a double clear to progress to the jump-off, including Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Tiffany Foster (CAN), Sheikh Ali Al Thani (QAT) and Oleksandr Onyshchenko (UKR). Onyshchenko was first to go in the final round and erred on the side of caution, aiming for a clean round but unfortunately he picked up two time faults and lowered a rail. Al Thani rode a great round, but his brave gallop to the last was a little too strong and Vienna Olympic had it down behind.
Christian Ahlmann was the first clear round in a swift time of 41.68s. Codex One bounced around the arena looking like he would never touch a pole, putting the pressure on the big names to follow. Beerbaum and Chiara were next, and tried their best to catch the leading time stopping the clock at 42.50s. Rodrigo Pessoa and Status, runners-up in the Grand Prix of Cascais, Estoril, once again rode a deceptively quick round but their daring race to the last cost them the final fence dropping them to 4th. Henrik von Eckermann had pole position as last to go, so he knew what was needed, but his turn to No3 meant he had to pull for an extra stride which cost him the win - he clocked in at 41.91s to take Silver
Next up is Round 11 hosted by London. From the 14-16 August the eyes of the show jumping world will be upon the new historic venue Horse Guards Parade Ground where the Top 30 riders in the world will do battle for some of the biggest prizze funds in the sport. With Bengtsson lying 20 points ahead of his nearest rival it will take a top performance to topple him - can 2013 Champions and World No1 Scott Brash continue his great run of form and go on to challenge the Swede? Or will last year's winner Ben Maher retain his title? Only time will tell."Christian is on incredible form, he won two weeks ago in Aachen and here again. He is the one to watch for the WEG and the LGCT Championships" Jan Tops
Post-Grand Prix Press Conference

Present
Jan Tops - President of Longines Global Champions Tour
Hamad Al Attiya - President of Qatar Equestrian Federation
Grand Prix winner - Christian Ahlmann (GER)
Grand Prix runner-up - Henrik von Eckermann (SWE)
Grand Prix 3rd - Ludger Beerbaum (GER)
LGCT Ranking Leader - Rolf-Göran Bentsson (SWE)
Christian Ahlmann - “(Codex One) is an amazing horse, I have been riding him a few years. He had a long break and after the break he’s been in unbelievable form. He started in the Nation’s Cup in Rotterdam and was unbelievable in Aachen the whole week and winning the Grand Prix, and here. He jumped three rounds, top fresh and fighting for me, so I hope I can keep him like that. I can only say thank you to Longines and Jan Tops and the whole team - what they did for the sport is unbelievable. It is great for the sport and I hope it will continue like that.”
Henrik von Eckermann - “I have to say I pulled up to the last, but I think I lost at number three. I didn’t have a forward distance to the oxer and had to pull up a little bit. I felt it after fence three and thought I should speed up, but I was quick to the rest. It was close.”
Ludger Beerbaum - “I really enjoy coming here, I have also been coming here two decades so I have seen the development here and it is great to see, respect to Jan and his team. They are improving every year, this year with the new stable area the facilities are unbelievable, and I have said that before and I stick to it. I like the atmosphere and it is a horseman's show. You have space and opportunities to ride. You can ride a top horse and you can bring an up-and-coming young horse. A show with this sportsmanship and this surrounding, it is really unique. The going was really good and I hope we can keep up some grass arenas because I personally believe the horses love to jump on grass.”
Rolf-Göran Bengtsson - “Of course it is a great feeling to be No1 on the list. We are not done yet, and there are many who could come up still who do not have the full allocation of results. It is nice to be there though! There are four more shows to go, some things can happen, so I have to stick in there and try to do my best to get more points.”
Jan Tops - “They are all champion riders on the podium again today. Christian is on incredible form, he won two weeks ago in Aachen and here again. He is the one to watch for the WEG and the LGCT Championships. Henrik was 2nd last week and has been in great form all year as is Ludger from the same stable.  It was a great jump-off. Its great to see the competitors giving their best once again. We did an upgrade this year in the stables, we have permanent stable now so can have some more events. Weather conditions are unpredictable and for the people working with the horses it is better and safer. It has been a big upgrade for the whole event. The Championship race will be tight until the end. You cannot predict who will win. At the moment Rolf is very strong and Henrik has a great chance, as does Bassem Hassan, Scott Brash. Everything is open.”
Hamad Al Attiya - “We are happy to sponsor the Global Champions Tour in Valkenswaard and in other places. Jan did a great job with the GCT around the world and I don’t want to forget to congratulate the riders and the winner today, and Jan for the great show. It is not a surprise - every Tour show is good. All our riders from the Middle East, we have a long history with horses and now we are arriving at our targets, we are very happy. And it is great for the sport in our country.”

Longines Global Champions Tour Championship Ranking


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