Last to go Katrin Eckermann stopped the clock a second ahead Shane Sweetnam in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Miami Beach.
Berlin Eagles’ Ludger Beerbaum and Christian Kukuk made history as the first team to win Global Champions League Miami Beach on 0 faults.
Katrin Eckermann and Cala Mandia crossed the finish line one second earlier than Irishman Shane Sweetnam, earning their golden ticket for the LGCT Super Grand Prix. Young talent Gilles Thomas secured his third spot in the podium with Luna van het Dennehof.
“Well I have no words, it has been a long journey, I have had her since she was 6 years old and it’s her first LGCT.” -Katrin Eckermann, LGCT Miami Beach winner
Uliano Vezzani designed an intricate course worthy of mention. It was light and delicate, and the smallest of mistakes influenced the outcome. Six riders from the initial 34 qualified for the jump-off. Tobias Meyer was first to go and the crowd cheered as he produced a double clear in his first-ever LGCT Grand Prix, finishing in 39.04s.
However, Shane Sweetnam was hungry for victory and smashed Meyer’s time, finishing in 35.73 seconds, his new fastest time with Alejandro. It was not the day for Ben Maher who punched out the back rail of the wide oxer and crushed his chances for victory, although his time was better.
Gilles Thomas almost knocked Sweetnam from his position after stopping the clock just three-tenths of a second slower. Last to go, Katrin Eckermann took advantage of the electric crowd and flew over the final fence, earning her second LGCT Grand Prix win.
However, the battle for the LGCT top rank has just begun and Ludger Beerbaum still holds the lead for the 2022 season on 59 points. Michael Duffy sits behind on 57 points and Christian Ahlmann third with 53 points. Katrin Eckermann rocketed to the fifth position, behind Bart Bles.
Jumping by the Atlantic Ocean, Berlin Eagles’ impressive performances secured them the gold medal in the show jumping team competition. The team has moved to the first position in the GCL standings, followed by Madrid In Motion who earned silver.
“It’s definitely a very very good feeling. I think we can be very happy with our performance today and today it was a very strong course I have to say. There were many faults all around and I think that makes our win even stronger today.” -Christian Kukuk.
Third place went to the youngest team, Rome Gladiators, who picked 8 faults. The young team consisted of Nina Mallevaey riding Chacco Kid and Zoe Conter on Dawa de Greenbay Z. The top two finishing teams did not change horses between the first and second rounds, demonstrating that sticking to performers was the winning tactic in Miami.
Madrid in Motion set off at speed, and they got perfect scores to every 1.55 fence, securing the team a chance to beat Berlin Eagles. However, Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Bentley de Sury got caught out by the triple combination, putting the team behind the Eagles. Last to go was Paris Panthers, who had huge pressure and could not keep the triple combination up.
The next stop of the LGCT and GCL will take place in Mexico City (28 April - 1 May).
Images from LGCT and GCL's webpage