Darragh Kenny Untouchable in Stunning First Day at LGCT Shanghai
Darragh Kenny reigned supreme as the first day of the Shanghai Longines Global Champions Tour took off in style. Competing as part of the Global Champions League team, the Paris Panthers, and riding his 10 year old bay gelding Charly Chaplin S superbly, the Irish star took the prestigious top spot which saw a high-octane jump-off putting spectators on the edge of their seat in the perfect prelude to tomorrow’s action.
Uliano Vezzani’s first round course proved a tough test for the world’s best teams, with galloping distances and a delicate poles that rolled at the slightest kiss. Many had the first fence down, a gappy green and white oxer, while the Longines Global Champions Tour double took out a few of the top contenders. An 18 rider jump-off saw the world’s best take centre stage again, with the stars of show jumping battling it out for the lion’s share of the prize purse.
Niels Bruynseels (BEL) and Angel van T Hof were the first to really set the pace, with the Belgian rider jumping clear after setting off at a gallop and his careful horse picking her way beautifully around the course.
David Will (GER) and the fiery Mic Mac du Tillard looked set to take the lead, but stumbled at the final, unusually taking out the lower pole but jumping the top clear – this meant their round was counted as clear, but their time wasn’t quite enough to top Darragh’s, finishing off in 39.10s.
Jos Verlooy (BEL) moved up a gear with Caracas, flying to the fences, but had to settle for second after stopping the clock in 39.82s, a second behind Darragh’s lead time to take third, while Marcus Ehning (GER) and Funky Fred showcased another masterful round to finish up in fourth overall.
But it was Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Charly Chaplin S who were quickest of all, with the Irish star galloping to the fences and making an incredible turn back to the skinny vertical. The pair blitzed the rest of the field, crossing the line in a phenomenal 38.87s and propelling the impressive combination into the lead, and storming to the class win after an edge of the seat jump-off round.
Ramzy Al Duhami Blazes to Win in Opening Shanghai LGCT CSI5* Class
The Shanghai Longines Global Champions Tour kicked off in style as Ramzy Al Duhami (KSA) took a sensational win with Garlic v. Kapelhof as temperatures soared in Shanghai. Under gorgeous sunshine and set against the iconic backdrop of the China Art Palace, the world’s best horses and riders took to the ring for the first time during this three day festival of show jumping,
First to enter the ring was also first to go clear, as Alexandra Thornton (GBR) and Charielle set the pace for the rest of the 47 strong field. The clears came thick and fast, with Julien Epaillard (FRA) and Quatrin de la Roque LM, Niels Bruynseels (BEL) and Himalaya van het Molenhof, Harrie Smolders (NED) with Hos d’O all early pace setters as the competition unfolded.
The turn back to the BMW oxer in the second phase caused a few problems – if riders took the sharp turn back too tight, the balance and rhythm was lost with poles rolling and faults collected.
Ben Maher (GBR) and It’s Real Love v. Smis Z soon raised the bar, blistering around the second phase with the hot chestnut clearing the fences in exuberant style. The pair shaved off time coming into the penultimate combination, stopping the clock at 26.64s. Darragh Kenny (IRL) and 9 year old bay mare Chanel quickly turned up the heat, with the pair taking off another second from Ben’s time, to cross the finish line clear in 25.73s.
Clears came from Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) with Pegase du Murier, Marcus Ehning (GER) with Calanda, Philip Houston (GER) with Kannella and Andreas Kreuzer (GER) with Zerafina, making a total of 21 on zero faults. But it was Ramzy Al Duhami (KSA) with the speedy Garlic v. Kapelhof who stole the show, blistering to the win in 25.48s.
Pirates In Pole Position For Heavyweight Shanghai GCL Final
St Tropez Pirates took the lead in the opening round of the Global Champions League in Shanghai setting up a tense final tomorrow. Simon Delestre – who’s proving a strong anchor for the team so far – and Julien Epaillard blazed the trail in today’s €155,000 class. Only 9 points behind the leaders Valkenswaard United, they are now in hot contention to take over the lead.
Marcus Ehning, who is riding for Valkenswaard United in his GCL debut, said: “It is the first time for me here in Shanghai and it is amazing. Being in the GCL is new for me and I am excited to see how the season goes, it is now really on the top level. They are really big classes and everybody wants to be good. You need your best horses to be in front. We have a serious team with very good young riders and they are all very competitive. We had a good start and I think we can make it hard for the others.”
New Hamburg Diamonds recruit John Whitaker made a big impression with top mare Ornellaia, jumping a neat clear around the 1.50/1.55m course and heaping pressure on the shoulders of U25 team mate Jos Verlooy. But the young star delivered a flawless round with Caracas, keeping the team score on zero and putting them in second place ahead of tomorrow’s final. The only other team to jump double clear were the Paris Panthers, with long-term friends Jack Hardin Towell and Darragh Kenny the epitome of perfection as they wowed with horses Charly Chaplin S and New York.
The London Knights also put in another strong display, with Ben Maher jumping a clean round on Don Vito, while teammate Eduardo Menezes picked up an unlucky four faults with his horse Chacgrano to finish in fourth place.
For last year’s winners Cascais Charms, one fence made an expensive difference as Andreas Kreuzer had four faults dropping the team from 1st position to 7th today.
From an individual perspective, Darragh Kenny reigned supreme as the first day of the Shanghai Longines Global Champions Tour took off in style. Competing as part of the Paris Panthers, and riding his 10 year old bay gelding Charly Chaplin S superbly, the Irish star took the prestigious top spot which saw a high-octane jump-off putting spectators on the edge of their seat in the perfect prelude to tomorrow’s action.
With the option to change horses and / or riders between the two rounds, all eyes will be on Shanghai to see who will take centre stage in tomorrow’s GCL of Shanghai final. All the action will be available to watch via the live streaming platform, GCL TV.
Edited press release courtesy of: Global Champions Tour