Young talent Gilles Thomas and Calleryama took the final win of this sensational weekend in Madrid. They have proved to be in flying form during the 2022 Longines Global Champions Tour season as they pulled an epic jump-off to take the Copa S.M El Rey - Trofeo Caser Seguros Trophy.
“I was not expecting to finish the weekend like this. Having the opportunity to ride at these shows against the world’s best at a young age, due to being a U25 rider for a GCL team, is amazing. It’s given me a fantastic platform to make a step up in my career and winning today is great!”-Gilles Thomas
Now, Gilles sits third in the overall Longines Global Champions Tour ranking. He won the final class of the weekend, known as “The King’s Cup” and denied victory to Sergio Alvarez Moya and Malibu de Muze at home.
Santiago Varela Ullastres pulled out a cleverly designed course that mixed oxers with long distances and delicate verticals. First to go was Pius Schwizer who pushed Vancouver de Lanlore to the limit. However, they missed the turn to the last fence, costing crucial seconds.
It was then the turn of Darragh Kenny and Great-Tikila J, but they crashed down the double fence, finishing with 4 faults. Harrie Smolders was quick with Uricas v/d Kattevennen and stopped the clock in 41.28s, good enough for 6th place.
Pieter Devos and Mom’s Isaura put in a brave attempt to be the fastest, but could not match the pace and settled for 4th place. As Gilles Thomas pulled out all stops with Calleryama, the horse and rider combination took over the lead in 40.16s.
Last to go, Sergio Alvarez Moya knew he had to give his all with Malibu de Muze to better Thomas’ round,however he lost it in the last line to the young talent as he stopped the clock in 40.29s.
On other events in Madrid, Sanne Thijssen became the third-youngest rider to ever win a Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix after the chance to jump against the world’s best athletes as the U25 rider for the GCL team Istanbul Sultans.
“You can’t even put into words this feeling, I really wanted to win a Global (LGCT) Grand Prix. Now I have the opportunity and I wanted to make this chance and I took it. It is an unbelievable show here, there are so many people here which is amazing, the atmosphere is just top.” -Sanne Thijssen
Sanne Thijssen, aged 23, and Quidam RB earned victory and a golden ticket for the Prague Playoffs later this year. The combination beat Darragh Kenny with VDL Cartello and Marlon Módolo Zanotelli onboard VDL Edgar M by just under a second.
Kenny and Zanotelli stopped the clock at exactly the same time of 39.91s to claim a joint second place.
The German duo from Berlin Eagles has brought home their second win of the season in the Global Champions League. Christian Kukuk and Philipp Weishaupt withstood the pressure in Madrid and stole the top spot from the Stockholm Hearts powered by H&M We Love Horses, securing their place at the top of the overall rankings.
London Knights won third place, catapulting up in the overall rankings. Now, Berlin Eagles have 98 points overall, Hamburg Giants are placed second on 84 points and Stockholm Hearts jump to third position with 71 points.
“Both of us knew how important this show is, our boss at home didn’t miss one day to tell us that we must get the ranking armband back. But I think we can be very happy we did our job. It is a very happy day for us and we are very proud to be in the lead.”- Christian Kukuk.
The Spanish leg of the Championship race has come to its end and has been a great event for young riders in the equestrian sport. Now the Tour is looking to Ramatuelle, Saint-Tropez, for the fifth leg of the 2022 season.