For the second year the Longines Global Champion’s Tour and the Longines Global Champion’s League were held in the magnificent site of Campo Marte in Mexico City. Right in the main avenue, Paseo de la Reforma, and adjacent to the Auditorio Nacional (National Auditorium) it is the same place where the equestrian jumping final were held both at the Olympic Games in 1968 and the Pan-American Games in 1975.
Italian Uliano Vezzani once more was the course designer, and for this year it was the first stop in the series. Last year was in Miami and then in Mexico City, but in this week where now will be competing at Miami Beach, is the Semana Santa, the main vacation time for Mexicans so it was necessary to switch dates.
The LGCL hold a new format which will be a lot better for riders and spectators, as the 36 riders (two per each 18 teams) compete in the normal classes which count both, for the class and for the Team. This proved to be a winning situation and in the first class, which was won by Lorenzo de Luca, the Team Valkenswaard United was in top with the riders Bertram Allen from Ireland and Alberto Zorzi from Italy. The other important class was won by Canadian Eric Lamaze.
On Saturday all the riders including the team members participated in a speed class where only the 25 best combinations could advance to the Grand Prix of México. Being this also the last class for the Team competition (Global Champion’s League) Valkenswaard United managed to maintain the leadership and won the first event of the League. Second place was for the Team Tropez Pirates with Simon Delestre FRA and Jerom Guery NED.
In the commercial area, first, and then on Saturday along with GP obstacles, there was a formidable horse made by the Huichol community in the state of Nayarit that was the main attraction following an ancient tradition about the images by the chamanes huicholes, who take peyote, a sacred cactus, that take them to a third dimension. Handmade taking more than a year to finish it with little pieces and symbolic motifs in a sacred knowledge.
Also on site 12 replicas were sold among the aficionados for $1,500 each.
After the prize presentation for the teams and the fastest rider in the speed class: Scott Brash (GBR), the Grand Prix was settled and the best 25 combinations in reverse order were authorized to begin.
With a purse of 320,000 euros ($340,000) only six clear rounds advanced to the jump off. Two riders, USA’s Paris Sellon and Germany’s Marco Kutscher, were sidelined by one time fault. Also participating from the US was Jack Towel but he did not advance to the jump off.
First against the clock was Irish Bertram Allen with Hector van D’Abdjhoeve who as well as former number one Daniel Deusser (riding a mare Equita van T Zorgvliet) left one rail in the floor. Deusser had the best time, but with four faults.
Italian Lorenzo de Luca, winner the previous day and favorite by the crowd (12000 people some of them standing between the stands and the arena) finished clear in a time of 42.40 seconds with his Oldenburg stallion Armitage Box, leaving the door open for the other three competitors. Belgian Neils Bruynseels with Gancia de Muze bested the time finishing in 37.58.
Netherlands Maikel van der Vleuten who was riding VDL Groep Arera C, who finished a little behind in 38.37. Last to go, Swiss Marcus Fuch (25) riding ten year old Chaplin (a son of Verdi, a horse with which van der Vleuten had several winnings) turn very tight to the last line, vertical oxer, galloping to the last one and knocking half of a second from Neils (37.07)and winning the class.
The only Mexican rider who made the cut to the Grand Prix, Enrique González, had a rail down and a stop with Chacna. Father and son, Jaime and Andrés Azcárraga, had one rail down in the speed section, and Antonio Chedraui two down. Also competing Gonzalo Azcárraga, Jaime’s elder son, who qualified in second in the second day, but did not finish the speed section on Saturday.
For Martin Fuchs was a great ending finishing in the same day in third in the Team competition with best friend Nicola Philippaerts, and winning the Gran Premio de México. Last week Martin was fourth at the WC Final in Omaha with Clooney.
So the LGCT was finished on Saturday, but another CSI2* was held at the same time and the last competitions were on Sunday. In a 1.20m class the junior riders had the chance of competing in such a magical venue, the winner was 15 year old Franco Huesca from Mexico City. The previous day the 1.45m class was won by another young rider, Carlos Hank who lives in California but came to his home land for this competition. It was the only time the Mexican flag was risen for the winner in both CSI2* and LGCT CSI5*.
The Grand Prix Mazda was the last class with 42 riders from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Denmark, Spain, Israel and Mexico. Packed, the magical was still there. Four riders went clean in the first round, only one Mexican: Héctor Caro from Guadalajara who had one rail down in the jump off to finish fourth. The winner is also a resident of Guadalajara, but Argentinian born and represent Uruguay, his father homeland. Juan M. Luzardo riding Stan beat the other three riders to enter galloping and leave riding a beautiful new Mazda MX5. Second place went to Brazilian rider Rodrigo Lambré, and third Pan-American veteran from Ecuador Diego Javier Vivero.