Vienna, Austria — September 16, 2016 — Great Britain’s John Whitaker and his 11-year-old gray gelding Echo of Light took center stage this afternoon in the first of the CSI5* classes at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Vienna. The 50 strong international field were able to flex their muscles for the first time this weekend, with many of the world’s top Grand Prix combinations in action for the 1.45m two phase competition.
As one of the final riders to go, John was able to push against the best time to beat, with his tall gray effortlessly eating up the ground in the second phase of the class to stop the clock almost a full second ahead of the rest of the field in 36.56s. Young star Gonzalo Añón Suarez (ESP) took a strong second place with AD Amigo B, after leading for much of the competition, to cross the line in 37.38s, and home rider Gerfried Puck (AUT) rode Bo to a popular third, finishing just tenths of a second behind Gonzalo in 37.76s.
It was a good day for Great Britain as Jessica Mendoza (GBR) took fourth with Wan Architect, and Austria’s Max Kühner with Cornet Kalua rounded out the top five.
The American contingent were able to collect some global experience today; Jack Towell was the best placed aboard New York, who together nabbed 15th in the class with a clear round and time of 49.33 seconds in the second round. Lauren Hough nabbed 21st aboard Cornet 39 with a single time fault in round one and 54.02 seconds. Paris Sellon and Adare were 49th with seven faults and a time of 53.19.
The six bar competition will kick off at 17:20 local time, with the final CSI5* class of the evening “The Sixth Sense Challenge” taking place at 20:00 local time. Tune in to GCT TV to watch all the action live.