For the second time in a week, Frenchman Kevin Staut pipped compatriot Simon Delestre to victory at the Longines Arena at Al Shaqab. Staut, who had got the better of Delestre during the CHI Al Shaqab last week, once again overcame his countryman at the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT), which kicked off on Thursday.
In the against the clock 1.55m class, Staut astride 12-year-old mare Visconti du Telman clocked 61.73 seconds to emerge as the fastest pair among 40 combinations. Delestre was little less than two seconds behind Staut as he completed his round in 63.44 with 10-year-old gelding Berlux Z. Philipp Weishaupt completed the top three as the German finished the course in 63.74 seconds with 11-year-old gelding Coby.
A modest Staut downplayed his victory, preferring to call his dominance over Delestre as ‘lucky’. “I was lucky because I know it is two different competitions. I knew that my mare jumped really well last week, she is really in good shape. Even at the practice arena, she was really relaxed and focused at the same time,” said Staut, who took home €13750 in prize money.
“When I had seen the riders riding for the team competition, I knew I had to go fast in the end. I had a good rhythm and I tried to keep it going till the last hurdle,” he added.
Staut was glad to be competing again in LGCT after the coronavirus pandemic had forced the cancellation of the season last year and praised the organisation at Al Shaqab. “Everybody is happy to be back competing in the sport. This is a really high level of sport. I have to say here the people, the infrastructure and organization is amazing and really efficient. It’s not easy to organise the show in this situation. For sure, the quality of everything is there for everyone to see,” he said.
Meanwhile, Valkenswaard United consisting of Peder Fredricson and Marcus Ehning took the top honours in the first round of the Global Champions League (GCL) yesterday. Fifteen teams went head to head in the first GCL competition of the 2021 season to battle it out for their starting position in Round 2.
And Valkenswaard United was propelled to victory by Peder Fredricson (Hansson WL) and Marcus Ehning (Stargold), with both the pairs being able to record a clear round for a total time of 132.41 seconds.
The Berlin Eagles’ Christian Kukuk (Checker) and Philipp Weishaupt (Coby) were second with a total time of 133.33 seconds, while New York Empire’s Denis Lynch (Cristello) and Scott Brash (Hello Jefferson) jumped clear for a combined total of 134.29 seconds.
"It’s a good performance from us. My horse jumped really well. Marcus Ehning’s horse jumped very well. We will try to go really well on Saturday. We are happy today, said Fredricson.
Meanwhile, Ehning said: "The strategy (for Saturday) is to go clear again. I think we had a couple of missed clear rounds. This is halftime. We need two double clears and need to be fast on Saturday. It will be a new day and we will try to do well. It’s a new horse at this level. He is 10 years old. I am very happy with him and he makes things easy for us."
Earlier, Max Kuhner won the season opening CSI5* 1.45m class. The Austrian rider put on a sublime round in the saddle of 11-year-old Vancouver Dreams in 25.15 seconds. Marcus Ehning came closest to beat Kuhner’s time but fell short by 0.21 seconds astride Funky Fred. Maurice Tebbel and Chacco's Son completed the top three after a clear round in 25.47 seconds.
CSI5* 2 phases 1.45m €25,400
1. Max Kuhner (AUT); Horse: Vancouver Dreams, Time: 25.15 secs; Prize money: €6350
2. Marcus Ehning (GER); Funky Fred; 25.36 secs; €5080
3. Maurice Tebbel (GER); Chaccos' Son; 25.47 secs; €3810
Global Champions League - Individual classification against the clock (1.50/1.55m)
1. Kevin Staut (FRA); Horse: Visconti du Telman; Time; 61.73 sec; Prize money: €13750
2. Simon Delestre (FRA); Berlux Z; 63.44 secs; €11000
3. Philipp Weishaupt; Coby; 63.74 secs; €8250
Global Champions League – first team competition (1.50/1.55m)
1. Valkenswaard United – Riders: Peder Fredricson (Hansson WL) 67.06 secs, Marcus Ehning (Stargold) 65.35 secs. Total time: 132.41 secs.
2. Berlin Eagles – Riders: Christian Kukuk (Checker) 69.59 secs, Philipp Weishaupt (Coby) 63.74 secs. Total time: 133.33 secs.
3. New York Empire – Riders: Denis Lynch (Cristello) 68.59 secs, Scott Brash (Hello Jefferson) 65.80 secs. Total time: 134.29 secs.
9am: Hathab Against the Clock no jump off 1.00/1.15m, Prize money QR20,000
1pm: Hathab Phase Special Individuals 1.20/1.35m, Prize money QR70,000
3:45pm CSI5* Against the clock - NO jump off 1.50m, Prize money €51,100
6:00pm CSI5* Against the clock - With jump off 1.55m, Prize money €148,500