Over 120 riders from 21 countries have competed in the 15 classes in Madrid for over €500,000 in prize money as momentum builds to the prestigious Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix presented by Caixa Bank on Saturday evening.
Last year’s Grand Prix was an electrifying contest between the titans of show jumping and was eventually won by Maikel van der Vleuten with a stunning performance which knocked almost two seconds off runner-up Marcus Ehning in a two-horse jump-off.
Only four riders jumped clear as the first round of the Longines GCT Grand Prix of Madrid claimed an astonishing number of faults, time penalties and retirements. Thousands of fans lined the arena and filled the grandstands as the third leg of the championship series reached its climax with the €320,000 Grand Prix.
The big grass track in Madrid proved to be a major test for the best in the world as an unusual number of mistakes resulted in the small number of clear rounds by Luciana Diniz, Jane Richard Philips, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Philippe Rozier. Roger-Yves Bost and Spain’s Manuel Fernandez Saro went clear but notched up 1 time penalty. The challenging time allowed clearly put pressure on some riders and resulted in the unusually large number of retirements and faults.
Elated Luciana Diniz said her “dream came true” today as she claimed her first Longines GCT Grand Prix win.
Scott Brash is back on top of the championship ranking for the second time in the 2015 season. But the British rider, on 73 points, is only four points ahead of Luciana who has rocketed up to second place in the overall ranking.
In one of the most unpredictable Grand Prix in the history of the Tour, many of the world’s top riders stacked up uncharacteristic faults and time penalties. For the first time since 2011 there was no jump off.