HIGH PRAISE FOR THE OPENING EVENT OF THE 2017 SEASON
Mexico City, MX – April 9, 2017 – Close your eyes and imagine the ideal show jumping event. The world’s top horses and riders are galloping on a pristine grass field decorated with jumps that are both colorful and challenging. Adoring fans flock the arena, grandstands and VIP, cheering enthusiastically, excited to welcome superb sport to their city. The weather is warm and vendors fill the venue with magnificent locally made art, merchandise and food. The fun never ends, as the outdoor bar for post-competition party is packed each evening.
This is the Longines Global Champions Tour of Mexico City, the first stop, and many may say the best, of the 2017 season. Set in the expansive Chapultepec Park in the center of a bustling metropolis, the impressive Campo Marte proudly flies a Mexican flag at its center that is 50m (164ft) x 28m (92ft) on a flagpole at 100m (328ft) high and offers plenty of space for an event of this magnitude.
Jan Tops, LGCT and GCL President and Founder was pleased. ““First of all, talking about the event, I think we had an incredible week. Not only was it top sport from the first day, but I think the public especially, here in Mexico, the Latin flavor, the whole picture was just like you wish a horse show was. It was everything, it was very, very special.”
And the praise doesn’t end there. The riders chimed in as well. After the LGCT Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon, Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) said, “I also want to give a big compliment to this event – to the organizers, the sponsors and all the people who have been very busy with this. I think we saw some great sport today and think this is how it has to be.”
Martin Fuchs (SUI) loved the event even before he won the big prize. “It’s my first time here in Mexico. I enjoyed my time here even before today. I didn’t win anything until today, but I was already saying it’s a great show, great people. I’ve made some new friends and saw some old friends here again which was really nice. A big thanks to all the people that were involved with this show or came to watch here. It was an amazing crowd…a really, really nice atmosphere.”
Below are the highlights of a fantastic four days of global sport.
A TREMENDOUS THURSDAY
With a CSI2* and a CSI5* run simultaneously, show jumpers from all over Mexico came to experience riding alongside the world’s best horses and riders. Each class had upwards of fifty entries, so the pressure was on perform. Two top course designers attended, Anderson Lima of Brazil designed for the CSI2* and Uliano Vezzani of Italy for the CSI5*.
The pristine grass field welcomed 48 starters in the opening CSI2* CDMX Trophy competition. The international entries took to Brazilian course designer Anderson Lima’s track with gusto, and twenty-eight-year-old Bruno Passaro aboard the nine-year-old Selle Francais mare Urbana Des Etisses claimed the fastest time in the two-phase class for the win.
Quiet Easy with Bertram Allen (IRL) and Quite Nice with Gonzalo Azcarraga (MEX) put the pedal to the medal to claim the top two spots in Thursday’s first CSI5* class, the GNP Seguros Trophy. At just twenty-one years old, Allen, currently ranked 14th in the world, is already known as a force to be reckoned with in a speed phase. Aboard the thirteen-year-old Oldenburg gelding Quiet Easy, he was the only rider who made the tight rollback turn from the Massimo Dutti vertical to the Mazda oxer in nine strides, stopping the clock in 26.37. Twenty-seven-year old Gonzalo Azcarraga on the Oldenburg mare Quite Nice came the closest to catching Allen but still finished over a second slower in a time of 27.59 for second place. Both phenoms went midway through the class and could not be beat.
In the CSI5* Massimo Dutti Trophy international course designer Uliano Vezzani (ITA) set a difficult 1.50-1.55m track that put even some of the best riders in the world to the test. Of 52 entries, only eight were clean and six double clean, with Canada’s Eric Lamaze laying down the gauntlet aboard his Olympic Bronze Medal mount Fine Lady for the win.
The first 36 competitors in the class also rode for their Global Champions League (GCL) Round One scores. Riders try to avoid faults as teams throughout the season to determine who will champion this competitive league come November. Valkenswaard United kicked off the season with a clean slate after both Alberto Zorzi (ITA) and Bertram Allen (IRL) posted clean rounds for a starting score of zero. Simon Delestre (FRA) and Jerome Guery (BEL) collectively posted only one fault for the St. Tropez Pirates. The Hamburg Diamonds, Chantilly Pegasus, and Madrid in Motion each finished with eight faults.
FRIDAY WAS FANTASTIC
Day Two of the Longines Global Champions Tour Mexico City commenced with the green glass of Campo Marte glistening in the sun, welcoming the CSI2* competitors for the Azmut Trophy. With 68 entries in the 1.35m class, it was the 67th rider in the ring, John Perez (COL), who took the top prize riding his ten-year-old Dutch mare Chianti Classico.
The CSI2* Broxel Trophy, a 1.45m speed class, went to young Carlos Hank (MEX) and his mount Market Irminka, an eleven-year-old Anglo European mare. The sixteen-year-old show jumper topped an international field of 42 entries
All in attendance for Friday’s CSI5* Banorte Cup witnessed show jumping at its finest. Delivered with thrills and spills, heartbreak rails and a superb five-horse jump-off, the memorable event closed with Italy’s supremely talented Lorenzo de Luca leading the victory gallop. Riding Stephex Stables’ ten-year-old Belgian stallion Halifax van het Kluizebos, the twenty-nine-year-old de Luca was first clear over a decidedly difficult course set by fellow Italian Uliano Vezzani. Illustrating why he currently sits tenth in the Longines FEI World Rankings, de Luca laid down an unbeatable trip in the jump-off.
A SUPER SATURDAY OF SHOW JUMPING
Sixty-three entries rode the track designed by Anderson Lima (BRA) in the CSI2* Banorte Trophy Speed Class. Early in the order, Juan Manuel Luzardo (URU) rode the nine-year-old Hanoverian stallion Quidandro and laid down a trip in 57.24 that seemed impossible to beat. Fifty-one rounds later, Arturo Parada Vallejo aboard the gorgeous twelve-year-old Westphalian stallion Cornet’s Dream, sped to the win in an impressive 56.75 seconds, relegating Luzardo to second place.
The CSI5* GNP Seguros Trophy Speed Class on this super Saturday set the standard for s stellar afternoon as Olympic Gold Medalist, Scott Brash, currently ranked eighth in the world, stylishly secured the win aboard Hello M’Lady.
New this season, this Saturday speed class carried a lot of weight: as an individual competition with prize money at €270.000 (~$286,000), as a team GCL competition with prize money at €200.000 (~$212,000) and as the qualifier for the grand prix, as the top twenty-five riders were invited to ride for €320.000 (~$286,000) in the Longines GCT Grand Prix of Mexico City.
GLOBAL CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Representing Valkenswaard United, the victorious team of 2016, Bertram Allen and Albert Zorzi kicked off the season with a win, now in the laad for the league. Matching one another’s efforts, each were clean on Thursday and both had four faults on Saturday, finishing with a total of 8 faults and the win for GCL Mexico.
Coming in second this week was a brand new team for 2017, the St.Tropez Pirates. World-ranked six, Simon Delestre and Jerome Guery represented the team here in Mexico, finishing with 9 total faults. Friends and teammates, both riders expressed how much they enjoyed the opportunity.
Also good friends, teammates Martin Fuchs and Nicola Philippaerts rounded out the top three in the GCL Mexico competition riding for Chantilly Pegasus. They narrowly topped Paris Sellon and Scott Brash from Miami Glory, as both teams now sit on a score of 12 total faults. The tie was broken by overall time over the four rounds, and this week Chantilly Pegasus was 1.63 seconds faster than Miami Glory.
LCGT GRAND PRIX OF MEXICO CITY
After testing the horses and riders over the last two days, course designer Uliano Vezzani (ITA) set a sixteen effort 1.60m course for the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Mexico City that certainly required scope across wide oxers and over tall verticals. Returning in reverse order of how they placed in the CSI5* GNP Seguros Trophy qualifier, six riders mastered the first round without faults.
The twenty-one-year-old Irish talent Bertram Allen and the Belgian stallion Hector van d’Abdijhoeve and third ranked rider in the world Daniel Deusser of Germany with Stephex Stables’ Belgian mare Equita van T Zorgvliet both scored four faults, leaving the door open for the remaining four competitors. The crowd cheered as Italian Lorenzo de Luca galloped in on the amazing Oldenburg stallion Armitages Boy. He gave them what they were waiting for: a clean round in 43.40, albeit with a couple of bucks from his mount.
With the bar set at clean, the final three to go had to take risks. Niels Bruynseels (BEL) and his Belgian mare Gancia de Muze made daring turns and galloped to the final oxer, taking the lead in a speedy 37.58. Maikel van der Vleuten (NED), also aboard a mare, VDL Groep Arera C, stopped the clock clean in 38.37, putting him second to Bruynseels.
Last to go was twenty-four-year-old Swiss rider Martin Fuchs on the ten-year-old stallion Chaplin. A nail-biter to the end, Fuchs finished fault-free in 37.07, an incredible 0.51 seconds faster than Bruynseels. The crowd went wild and the young show jumping star returned their enthusiasm. Removing his hat, he celebrated as they cheered.
A GRAND SUNDAY
The CSI2* competition wrapped up on Sunday. In a repeat performance of yesterday, Arturo Parada Vallejo (MEX) and the Westphalian stallion Cornet’s Dream were double clean and quick to top sixty-four competitors to take the El Palacio de Hierro Trophy.
Eight returned for an exciting jump-off that resulted in six double clear rounds. Female show jumpers from Mexico represented four of the six, Maria Fernanda Hegewisch, Carla Buch Molina, Luciana Gonzalez Guerra and Tanimara Macari Carrillo, finishing third, fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
The CSI2* CWD Trophy 1.20m welcomed over thirty competitors to the Campo Marte grass field. Seventeen horse and rider combinations mastered the first round to return for the jump-off. Five pairs finished double clear, and Franco Huesca (MEX) aboard Brigitte were fastest of the five for the win.
Forty-one riders competed in the ultimate CSI2* class of the Longines Global Champions Tour Mexico City, the MAzda Trophy 1.45m. In a thrilling jump-off Juan Manuel Luzardo (URU) and his eleven-year-old Hanoverian gelding Stan sailed to a sweet victory in front of an exuberant crowd.
Anderson Lima’s course challenged the competitors and only four rode the entire track without fault. Luzardo and Stan were the first to go double clean in a smooth 37.56. The crowd held their breath when last to go, Rodrigo Lambre aboard Chapilot, sped around the jump-off track. Finishing in 37.72, a mere .7 seconds slower than Luzardo, he had to settle for second place.
The victory gallop welcomed some horsepower of a different kind, as Luzardo drove the brand new Mazda sports car he won around the grass field. An excellent end to a memorable four days of superb show jumping sport here at Campo Marte in Mexico City.
Edited press release courtesy of: EQSOL/Jackie McFarland