The Longines Global Champions Tour of Mexico City was marked by rider Darragh Kenny’s double victory and Hamburg Giants snatching victory from St. Tropez Pirates in the Global Champions League.
Ludger Beerbaum claimed his second Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix this year in Mexico.
Mexico City has always provided world-class sport and nerve-breaking action. The stakes were high in the Trofeo Banorte 1.50m jump-off, but Darragh Kenny proved to be worthy as it would become his second victory of the day with VDL Cartello.
“This show is fantastic, I absolutely loved it, the atmosphere is amazing, the crowd are just unbelievable and it’s been really enjoyable to be here. It's a beautiful show and then next I’ll be in Madrid.” -Darragh Kenny
First to jump was Nina Mallevaey on Kino, who clinched second place ahead of the third double clear of Christian Kukuk. The track was a serious test as from the 54 riders only 10 made it through to the jump-off. Nina Mallevaey soared around the course and finished in a wonderful clear in 45.31s.
Next went two home heroes: Federico Fernandez on Romeo and Nicolas Pizarro with Pia Contra. However, they both had an unlucky rail, meaning having to settle for outside the top 5. Nicola Philippaerts and Moya vd Bisschop would have been one of the favourites, but they put two fences down mid-course.
After winning the morning’s speed class, Darragh Kenny was determined to make his second victory of the day. Together with VDL Cartello the Irish rider flew around the course and ended in the top spot in 42. 84s. Neither Katrin Eckermann or Jack Whitaker could compete against that, and after accumulating time faults, they left in 9th and 10th place respectively.
Christian Kukuk was up for the challenge and, although he powered off with Nice van’t Zorgvliet, they crossed the finish line a fraction after Nina’s time in 45.97s.
Hamburg Giants have kick-started their 2022 GCL season with a breathtaking victory in Mexico, snatching the win from the only other team with a clean sheet: St Tropez Pirates.
Jur Vrieling and Bart Bles performed brilliant double clears and were able to catapult not only to the first place of the podium in Mexico, but also to the top of this season’s standings.
“It was a really good job today. The horses jumped fantastically, Jur did an amazing job and I am really happy. We have a strong team this year but we have to make the overall championship win. I definitely think we can be on top of the podium at the end of the year.” -Bart Bles.
Now, Hamburg Giants lead the Championship with 68 points, but Berlin Eagles is also sitting on the same number of points, just with fewer podiums that force them into second place. Madrid In Motion makes up the third spot on 61 points, keeping ready to race in their home event in two weeks.
During the competition in Mexico there were 17 horse and rider changes, the highest this season. Although St Tropez Pirates made history by coming home with a 0 score in Mexico City, they were not as fast as Hamburg Giants who set off a faster pace and impeccable jumps. Now, competition will resume in Madrid for its 4th leg.
Images from Longines Global Champions Tour and Global Champions League