Miami Beach, Fla. – April 14, 2022 – The 2022 Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) returned to the iconic Miami Beach location for the first time since 2019. Accompanied by the sound of the wind and the waves from the Atlantic Ocean, riders were excited to be back on the beach for three days of heart racing action and top international CSI5* competition. The weekend kicked off with a bang as fifty-two horse-and-athlete combinations took to the beach-front arena in an effort to score big in the first of two CSI5* classes held this weekend. In the end it was Darragh Kenny and Ben Maher aboard Chic Chic and Faltic HB who topped the international field during the €95,200 Global Champions League of Miami Round 1 – 1.50/1.60M CSI5*.
Common beachgoers and eager show-jumping fans alike flocked to experience the unique atmosphere of LGCT Miami Beach. Thursday’s carefully built course designed by Uliano Vezzani (ITA) was technical, requiring athletes to think quickly and effectively within the time allowed of 76 seconds. The series of twelve fences included square oxers, roll-back turns, intricate bending lines, and combinations. Fence twelve, the final of the course, was an airy, aqua colored plank keeping riders out of the ribbons consistently throughout the class. Of the 52 pairs to jump the tough track, only 15 jumped fault-free rounds.
The Paris Panthers overwhelmed the competition jumping in top form with blazing times to conquer an impressive field. Together, team mates Darragh Kenny (IRE) and Ben Maher (GBR) produced a time of 133.20 seconds with zero faults between their two rounds. Both horse-and-rider pairs proved successful throughout the season in Wellington with consistent top finishes under the lights at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Chic Chic, Kenny’s mount, is an 11-year-old Westphalian stallion owned by Vlock Show Stables was electric in the ring clearing the fences with ease and taking tight and handy turns to shave off precious seconds on the infamous Longines clock. The pair continues to add success to their record including their win in the $37,000 Douglas Elliman CSI5* 1.45. 12-year-old KWPN stallion, Faltic HB, owned by Oakingham Stud, jumped a superb round perfecting the demanding roll-back turns and intricate combinations.
The silver medal was awarded to Madrid In Motion, represented by Maikel Van Der Vleuten aboard Beauville Z and Eduardo Alvarez Aznar aboard Bentley De Sury. Collectively, the team produced a time of 133.71 seconds to be 0.51 seconds behind the Paris Panthers. Van Der Vleuten piloted his Olympic mount owned by Marta Ortega Perez, the 12-year-old Zangersheide gelding, to jump a quick round in 64.65 seconds. Bentley De Sury, the 11-year-old Selle Francias gelding owned by Kaliyuga S.L., mastered the track to help secure the second place finish for the team with a time of 69.06.
Blue skies and blue waters set the scene for Jur Vrieling and Fiumcino Van De Kalevallei to top the competition. The pair rode early in the order representing the Hamburg Giants securing the bronze for their team. Bart Bles and Kriskras DV secured a clear round with a time of 72.85 seconds to help put the team on the podium. An incredibly quick track brought Vrieling the individual win after a total of 52 pairs to follow. The 11-year-old SBS gelding jumped an effortless round to be one of the most clever horses to take-on the track. Fiumcino Van De Kalevallei has accumulated multiple clear rounds over tough CSI5* courses throughout his career with Vrieling. The pair has built a trusting partnership competing together since 2017.
Thursday afternoon began with the first round of Global Championship League team competition consisting of 16 teams of top horse-rider pairs. Four teams produced stellar rounds with both members leaving all of the rails up and staying inside of the time allowed. The Paris Panthers took the win as a team, represented by Darragh Kenny with Chic Chic and Ben Maher with Faltic HB. The second leg of team competition will take place Saturday, where the overall team will take home the gold medal in Miami.Competition will continue Friday, April 15, with the €95,200 1.50m Table A Against the Clock with Jump-Off CSI5*.
To view the full results visit the Longines Global Champions Tour Website.