Magnificent Maher Blazes to Curtain Raiser Win at LGCT Paris

Paris, FRA – July 5, 2018 – Ben Maher (GBR) looks to be on phenomenal form this season, notching up yet another CSI5* win, this time with the Poden Farms owned Don Vito, as the action gets underway at the Longines Global Champions Tour – Longines Paris Eiffel Jumping.

Ben Maher and Don Vito. Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT
Ben Maher and Don Vito. Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT

Kicking off the weekend in Paris, which sees the top international show jumpers in action under the iconic Eiffel Tower, Maher beat a world class field of 70 in the opening class of the weekend. A beaming Maher spoke after his win: “Don Vito is a great horse so it’s great to borrow him back. It’s always fun to ride in such a great city like this. There were 70 odd horses in this, and it was quite a quick class, but he’s a naturally fast horse across the ground and gave me the edge today.”

The class saw plenty of double clears, but it was Maher who took the first win of the weekend, with the eye-catching chestnut Don Vito cruising around the arena to stop the clock in 19.79s, two tenths of a second faster than Philip Houston (GER) and his top horse Loewenherz. Third went to Marlon Módolo Zanotelli (BRA) with Typie du Tillard, with fourth going to Nayel Nassar (EGY) with Lordan.

Later in the day Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) with Flotte Deem took the CSI5* Six Bar win, with the final jump at an incredible 2.11 metres. Von Eckermann just pipped popular French rider Julien Epaillard to claim the top prize, with Christian Ahlmann (GER) and Atomic Z in third and Jos Verlooy (BEL) rounding out fourth with Japatero VDM as the sun threw its golden light across the arena.


Prix Renault
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Faults | Time
1. Don Vito / Ben Maher / GBR / 0 | 19.79
2. Loewenherz / Philip Houston / GER / 0 | 19.96
3. Typie du Tillard / Marlon Módolo Zanotelli / BRA / 0 | 20.09
4. Lordan / Nayel Nassar / EGY / 0 | 20.14
5. MHS Attraction / Sergio Alvarez Moya / ESP / 0 | 20.52
6. VDL Groep Urane de Talma / Leopold Van Asten / NED / 0 | 20.62
7. Kel’Star du Vingt Ponts / Jerome Guery / BEL / 0 | 20.83
8. H&M Zaloubet / Peder Fredricson / SWE / 0 | 20.95
9. Izmir van de Baeyenne / Jane Richard Philips / SUI / 0 | 21.01
10. Cristallo A LM / Philippe Rozier / FRA / 0 | 21.11
11. Cool Down / Ludger Beerbaum / GER / 0 | 21.18
12. Foica van den Bisschop / Jane Richard Philips / SUI / 0 | 21.64

For full results, click here.

Giants Strongest Of All in Thrilling GCL Paris

In a dramatic reversal of fortune lowest-ranked GCL team Hamburg Giants put in their strongest result of the season in a thrilling first round in Paris. Despite being one of the first teams to start, Sameh El Dahan and René Lopez pulled out a flawless double clear to shoot the team to the top of the leaderboard and into prime position to collect much needed ranking points.

Rene Lopez and Twig du Veillon. Photo: Stefano Grasso/GCL
Rene Lopez and Twig du Veillon. Photo: Stefano Grasso/GCL

In an edge-of-the-seat first round, Giants took pole position ahead of Montreal Diamonds and Madrid in Motion, with only three teams on double clear in today’s class.

With the first eleven teams all within four faults of each other, Saturday’s GCL Paris final is set to be a tantilising showdown, with every fault counting in the season long campaign for a qualifying place in the GC Prague Playoffs and prestigious GCL Super Cup.

Speaking after their result, a delighted Sameh said: “We are very chuffed! We pulled out a good result. It’s still a long way, and we still have to both bring another clear to be on the podium for the first time this season. We’ll keep fighting, we’re a new team and it took us a while to understand each other and know each other’s horses, but we feel good so from now on we’ll be stronger. We have to keep our nerve and sometimes it’s hard to go last [in the order]. There’s so much team spirit, we’ll celebrate tonight and then we’ll talk with our team manager and decide what to do on Saturday.”

Uliano Vezzani put together a long and galloping track in the square sand arena, with the Eiffel Tower the picturesque backdrop to the tenth leg of the Championship race. A gappy treble set against the open public long side threw forward a few challenges, as well as a wide Massimo Dutti oxer, a Longines liverpool and a yellow Renault oxer to finish. Spectators and VIPs took in sumptuous views of the Eiffel Tower, as the sun shone down on the first day of competition in the French capital city.

Sameh El Dahan and Suma's Zorro. Photo: Stefano Grasso/GCL
Sameh El Dahan and Suma’s Zorro. Photo: Stefano Grasso/GCL

Hamburg Giants, who currently sit at the bottom of the overall Championship, pulled a magnificent double clear out of the bag after Sameh El Dahan with Suma’s Zorro and René Lopez with Twig du Veillon, put in a faultless round, the first of the teams to do so.

Fresh from their win in Monaco, the Rome Gladiators were looking to ride the crest of the wave of success today, putting forward Laura Kraut with Zeremonie up front, the top American rider going clear. Italian talent Lorenzo de Luca couldn’t match the high standard set, clipping a pole with Jeunesse van’t Paradijs and collecting four faults for the team and dropping them out of the top three.

Speaking after her round, Laura explained their strategy: “[Zeremonie] hasn’t jumped in a small ring like this in a while – she was very relaxed and her focus was great. We both decided if we were clear though the double we would take the long route and stay clear. We’re on four, so we’re in the hunt. As per usual if you try to go quick you risk having a fence down, and you can’t be overly cautious – I think we did the right thing and hopefully we can deliver on Saturday.”

Madrid in Motion were the second team to go double clear, after a perfect round from Eduardo Alvarez Aznar with Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Mar and Marc Houtzager with Sterrehof’s Calimero. But their time couldn’t match the Giants, putting the team just behind but in a strong position for the second round.

Final team to go Montreal Diamonds fielded two star strikers – World Number 1 Harrie Smolders and U25 star Jos Verlooy, both of whom have been on phenomenal form in recent weeks. First to go Jos Verlooy put in some impressive jumping, riding Igor clear and fastest of all to shoot the Diamonds up and with a chance of pole. The pressure sat squarely on Smolders’ and Don VHP Z’s shoulders, but the Dutchman kept his cool, delivering a flawless round but not quite fast enough to better the Giants’ time.

So it would be a successful day for the Giants, with the team looking to keep a completely clean score on Saturday and start their charge as one of the 16 teams to qualify for the GC Prague Playoffs.


Global Champions League of Paris
Place / Team / Rider / Horse / Faults | Time
1. Hamburg Giants 
Suma’s Zorro / Sameh El Dahan / 0 | 72.04
Twig du Veillon / Rene Lopez 0 75.04
Team penalties | time / 0 | 147.08
2. Montreal Diamonds
Igor / Jos Verlooy / 0 | 67.77
Don VHP Z N.O.P. / Harrie Smolders / 0 | 79.53
Team penalties | time / 0 | 147.30
3. Madrid In Motion
Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Mar / Eduardo Alvarez Aznar / 0 | 71.01
Sterrehof’s Calimero / Marc Houtzager / 0 | 77.96
Team penalties | time / 0 | 148.97
4. Shanghai Swans
HHS Figero / Alexandra Thornton / 1 | 84.28
Uccello de Will / Pedro Veniss / 1 | 84.29
Team penalties | time / 2 | 168.57
5. Cannes Stars
Evert / Karel Cox / 4 | 72.68
Carlo / Sergio Alvarez Moya / 0 | 70.92
Team penalties | time/ 4 | 143.60
6. Valkenswaard United
Molly Malone V / Bertram Allen / 4 | 75.66
Pret A Tout / Marcus Ehning / 0 | 69.31
Team penalties | time / 4 | 144.97
7. Scandinavian Vikings
Ailina / Christian Ahlmann / 0 | 70.86
VDL Groep Beauty / Leopold Van Asten / 4 | 74.15
Team penalties | time / 4 | 145.01
8. Monaco Aces
Garfield de Tiji des Templiers / Jerome Guery / 0 | 74.99
Quedge Deenne / Julien Epaillard / 4 | 74.21
Team penalties | time / 4 | 149.20
9. Rome Gladiators 
Zeremonie / Laura Kraut / 0 | 75.37
Jeunesse van’tParadijs / Lorenzo De Luca / 4 | 75.52
Team penalties | time / 4 | 150.89
10. Miami Celtics
RMF Swinny du Parc / Jessica Springsteen / 4 | 77.28
RMF Cadeau de Muze / Denis Lynch / 0 | 80.40
Team penalties | time / 4 | 157.68

For full results, click here.

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