The Global Champions Tour in Madrid saved the best for last in Marcus Ehning and Pret a Tout Saturday night, as the two clinched the €320,000 Grand Prix in front of a standing room only crowd. The class was a thrilling two rounds against the clock followed by a jump off, which whittled the competitors from 42 to 8. Marcus and his brilliant 13-year-old chestnut gelding cruised by a swath of stiff competitors to win the jump off nearly a full second in front of their closest competitor, Abdullah al Sharbatly of Saudi Arabia.
“In the jump off I saw Sharbatly, and I saw that he really put us under pressure,” Marcus told the press following his win. “But in the end my horse showed all the experience and all his quality and I’m really happy to win today.”
Bronze was a particularly sentimental success for the Madrid crowd, as it was earned by Spaniard Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and his 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Mar.
“It’s really special to be on the podium in my city and in my club where I have been riding for so many years,” Eduardo said. “I was very pleased with my horse, it was the first time he did three rounds and the first time I really tried in the jump off with him. The result is there – I went close to them but not fast enough!”
Americans Struggle to Build Success
While the Americans were ultimately shut out of the jump-off, there were moments of glory for the ladies of the USA. Paris Sellon and Adare were first in the order of draw in the opening round, an intimidating and disadvantaged position, but the pair put in a flawless ride that would not be replicated again until several rides later in the day. She would later succumb to a single rail and a single time fault to finish 16th.
Compatriot Georgina Bloomberg and Lilli also made the second round but had an unlucky rail toward the end of their second class. Audrey Coulter and Domino had a rail in the first round and were not able to produce a quick enough showing to make the cutoff, as did Jessica Springsteen. Laura Kraut and Lauren Hough had eight and twelve faults in the first round, respectively.
Georgina Bloomberg. LGCT/Stefano Grasso
Other Riders and Results
Big names included 2015 LGCT Champion of Champions and last year’s LGCT Grand Prix of Madrid winner, Luciana Diniz (who finished 25th), tour leader Christian Ahlmann (GER) riding Taloubet Z who finished 12th, and John Whitaker (GBR) riding Argento who finished 9th.
Today the Global Champions League of Madrid will kick off at 12:00 pm EST, with the twelve teams battling it out for the top spot in the 6th round of the Championship. You can stream the action on GCL TV.