The spotlight shone on young Swiss rider Martin Fuchs (SUI) after the popular star delivered a masterful round with Clooney to take the win at LGCT Cascais. Fighting off a field of 20 in the jump-off Fuchs showcased a masterful round to take the lion’s share of the €154,000 and top honors on the opening day of competition at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Cascais. A delighted Martin said: “It’s amazing to win here in Portugal,” giving full credit to his horse who “jumped amazing.”
Frank Rothenberger set a fair track with good distances, and some delicate fences meaning riders would have to keep a check on their horses in the galloping grass arena. There would be a few outside elements that affected the competition, as the sun set and the lights came on, with shadows lengthening and darkening. For the full first round report, please click here.
Luciana Diniz (POR), who makes her return to the Tour, agonisingly rolled the final pole with Lennox, the crowd groaning as their home hero ruled herself out of the jump-off. But it was to be an evening of top sport, as twenty riders jumped clear, with 18 returning to the ring for the €154,000 class.
First to set the pace was Jack Hardin Towell (USA) and New York. Fierce with intent, the American set off at the gallop, carefully planning his round and executing it perfectly. Flying to the last, the pair set the time to beat at 44.67s, raising the bar for the rest of the field to come.
Many tried, and failed, to match the American’s pace, with the fast tempo putting the pressure on the riders still to come and mistakes coming from all around the jump-off course. David Will (GER) was sent flying into an oxer after Monodie H made a last minute stop, eliminating him from the competition, and others rolled poles as they pushed to better the time to beat.
Young star Lillie Keenan (USA) with Fibonacci put in a brave try, as did Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) with Sunshine du Phare, with both jumping their second beautiful clear of the evening. But neither could come close to Towell’s time, a full two seconds ahead. Samantha McIntosh (NZ) also played it safe with Check In, slotting in behind to take a steady double clear, earning herself a place in the final standings.
Martin Fuchs (SUI) took the bull by the horns, by setting off at a phenomenal pace. The young Swiss star put in a masterful round with Clooney, with some stunning turn backs and a smooth round ensuring the pair stopped the clock in 43.24s with a new time to beat.
Cian O’Connor (IRL) and the mighty Super Sox looked to be one of the last contenders to challenge Fuchs’ time, with the speedy pair making a strong return to CSI5* competition following O’Connor’s injury. Racing round, the Irishman took no risks, but stopped the clock in 46.52s, slotting him into third overall. So it would be Fuchs’ night, with Towell in 2nd and O’Connor 3rd.
Saturday will see the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Cascais kick off at 21:30 local time (3:30p.m. EST). Tune in to watch via the live streaming, with expert commentary, studio analysis and all the action from inside the arena as the battle for the ninth leg of the Championship continues.
Edited press release: Global Champions Tour