PC: LGCT / Stefano Grasso
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. The imposing wall also caught a few out, with José Alfredo Hernández Ortega (MEX) and Grupo Prom Jack falling foul of the beautifully captured city skyline image. Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) and Anyway II had an unusual double refusal, eliminating them from the competition, and Kent Farrington (USA) and Creedance also picked up faults dropping them out of the running. John Whitaker (GBR) and new mount Talisman de Mazure got off to a sticky start, with the chestnut horse napping before the first fence. another refusal at vertical number five eliminated them from the competition, despite the horse jumping beautifully in between.
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.