Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso
It was standing room only at the stunning Spanish round of the Longines Global Champions Tour as Marcus Ehning (GER) took a sensational win with the 13-year-old chestnut gelding Pret a Tout. In front of packed passionate crowds, an eight rider jump off had spectators on the edge of their seats right until the final fence as last combination to go, Marcus and Pret a Tout, galloped the course in a stunning display of skill and speed.
Following his win, Marcus praised his phenomenal horse Pret a Tout, saying: “I knew he was a good horse, but I didn’t expect him to be that good or that quick! He showed all the experience and all his quality and I’m really happy to win today.” Marcus also spoke of the momentous and
Marcus also spoke of the momentous and ground-breaking impact of the Global Champions Tour on improving the sport of show jumping internationally:
“It is one of the biggest improvements in the sport in the last 20 years for all of show jumping worldwide – for other shows it’s a big goal to come close to the Global Tour. I think over the years you could see how the sport improved, and what kind of countries we have now with all the stages. It’s amazing what Jan did and I think for the sport it could not be something better.”
LGCT Ranking leader Christian Alhmann (GER) spoke of the world class action on show today: “It was an unbelievable class and an unbelievable jump off. It was super fast and it was really nice to watch.”
To the delight of the home crowd, who packed the grandstands to watch the action unfold and cheered passionately throughout the competition, local rider Eduardo Alaverz Aznar (ESP) took home the bronze medal. Speaking of what it mean to take the podium on home turf, Eduardo said: “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.” Abdullah Al Sharbatly (KSA) and his LGCT Grand Prix of Shanghai winning horse, the 16-year-old Tobalio, took the Silver medal, and were the ones to beat after setting the initial early pace as the first combination into the jump off.
Against the stunning Spanish setting, the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Madrid presented by CaixaBank got underway with a full field of 50 international riders in action for round six of the Tour Championship. Course designer, Guilherme Nogueira, who will be building the show jumping courses for the 2016 Rio Olympics, set a fair but challenging Grand Prix, set to test the best in the world. Big names included 2015 LGCT Champion of Champions and last year’s LGCT Grand Prix of Madrid winner, Luciana Diniz, who returned to compete with her LGCT Grand Prix of Doha winning horse Fit For Fun. Other key combinations were LGCT Ranking leader Christian Ahlmann (GER) who rode Taloubet Z, Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Guv’Nor and John Whitaker (GBR) with his formidable stallion Argento.
Marcus Ehning, LGCT Grand Prix of Madrid Gold Medallist: “I’m very happy to win here today. For me it’s one of the nicest Globals that we have – it’s a fantastic atmosphere with unbelievable conditions here. Two years ago I came very close, but now I’m happy to win here in Madrid, it’s a traditional show. I’ve had my horse just since January – I knew he was a good horse, but I didn’t expect him to be that good or that quick. I was very close in Hamburg to win the Global. In the jump off I saw Sharbatly, and I saw that he really put us under pressure, but in the end my horse showed all the experience and all his quality and I’m really happy to win today. For us, [the Global Champions Tour] is one of the biggest improvements in the sport for the last 20 years. It’s not only for the Global Tour, but all for worldwide show jumping – for other shows it’s a big goal to come close to the Global Tour. I think over the years you could see how the sport improved, and what kind of countries we have now with all the stages. It’s amazing what Jan did and I think for the sport it could not be something better.”
Abdullah Al Sharbatly, LGCT Grand Prix of Madrid Silver Medallist: “I would like to thank everyone and all the organisers, especially our friend Jan Tops, our sponsor Longines and everyone who arranged this amazing event. It’s amazing to have the Global Tour – it’s super for the riders, for the owners and everyone. It’s improved the sport. I’m really happy with my horse – he won LGCT Shanghai and was second here. We were first to go in the jump-off, which is always a difficult situation when you start at the beginning. But I set a good time without taking a risk before my colleague Marcus did a good round and beat my time – I was really happy for him as he deserved to win today. My horse is 16 now, but really in great health, and I hope he’s going to jump a couple more years.”
Eduardo Alaverz Aznar, LGCT Grand Prix of Madrid Bronze Medallist: “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. 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!”