Photos: Stefano Grasso / LGCT
Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) declared “today was
my day” after winning an adrenaline-fuelled Grand Prix at
the debut Longines Global Champions Tour in the vibrant
The experienced French speed demon fought off stiff
competition from two youngsters - 20 year olds Jos Verlooy
(BEL) and Bertram Allen (IRE) in the four-man jump off in
the huge grass arena. It was an impressive debut for Mexico
City on the championship circuit with a colourful fiesta
atmosphere and a passionate crowd of tens of thousands
enjoying world class equestrian show jumping. The winning
riders were besieged by autograph hunters with the sport
proving to be an instant hit in Mexico City.
Six out of the world’s top 10 riders were in the fray for
the second Grand Prix of the 2016 series and new ranking
leader Christian Ahlmann (GER), who finished 4th in the jump
off, said: “The first round was a really proper Grand Prix.
I am really happy with this show.” The championship ranking
has been shaken up with Christian now on 68 points ahead of
veteran John Whitaker on 60 points and Jos Verlooy and
Sheikh Ali Al Thani on 56 points.
Only a week after the season opener in Miami Beach - on the
shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean - the move to Mexico City at
over 2,000 metres above sea level clearly brought out some
fantastic performances from both human and equine athletes.
Mexican riders were cheered wildly by fans as national
riders showed their strength against the best in the world.
Government ministers and business leaders joined the
thousands of international guests for the prestigious event.
One of Mexico’s leading business figures Carlos Hank
Gonzales, President of Banorte Group, said: “We are
incredibly proud and happy to have world class athletes and
this world class event in Mexico. It reflects that Mexico is
going through a growing phase and we are showing the world
Mexico is ready to have this kind of event.” Mr Gonzeles is
also co-owner of the Global Champions League team
Valkenswaard United. His team is competing tomorrow in the
second GCL team competition and aiming to hold on to their
lead. He said: “I think Global Champions League is going to
change the sport, it will bring a lot of excitement and I
hope everyone comes out to cheer on their favourite teams
Today’s action saw the inaugural Longines Global Champions
Tour Grand Prix of Mexico City magnificent from beginning to
end. As LGCT Founder, Jan Tops, stated: “If I could write a
perfect script of how we want it to go the last two days are
it.” Frenchman Roger Yves Bost would agree, as in a
fantastic four horse jump-off between four nations, it was
‘Bosty’ and Quod’Couer de La Loge who went fault-free and
fast for flawless day and the win here in Mexico City.
The script opened with ideal weather, a large and exuberant
crowd, a colorful and challenging course and forty-two
world-class participants performing with their talented
equine partners. The stage was set for superb sport.
The forty-two riders on the starting list represented
sixteen countries, six of the world’s top-ten riders,
Olympians, seasoned veterans and hotshot youngsters,
showcasing the high calibre of sport on the LGCT. With
credit to Course Designer Uliano Vezzani (ITA) the sixteen
effort 1.60m track was ideal for the very competitive field.
Asking difficult questions throughout, the track could be
jumped clean with a precise ride, especially in the final
line. Set at the far end of the field, the final two efforts
were a bright yellow oxer in a quiet five strides to a light
In the two round format, the top eighteen scores return for
a second round. Sixteenth to go and first clear was young
superstar Jos Verlooy (BEL) on the gray stallion Caracas.
Five more matched that faultless effort, Kent Farrington
(USA) and the Belgian mare Gazelle; Christian Ahlmann (GER)
and the Belgian stallion Epleaser van't Heike, Swiss rider
Romain Duguet and the Selle Francais mare Quorida de Treho;
Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) and Selle Francais stallion Qoud'Couer
de la Loge, and another young show jumping young superstar,
Ireland's Bertram Allen aboard the also young Belgian
stallion Hector van d'Abdijhoeve.
Seventh through eighteenth riders included hometown favorite
Antonio Chedraui (MEX) and Ninloubet who finished just .7
seconds over the 79 seconds allowed for a one fault score.
Nine four-fault scores and two five fault rides also earned
a spot in the second round.
Returning in reverse order of score and time, once again
Vezzani tested the riders. Several who had a single rail in
round one, rose to the occasion the second time out, moving
them up in the final results. Steve Guerdat (SUI) was one,
riding the Swedish mare Bianca flawlessly and efficiently
for the fastest four fault score overall, moving up from
eleventh to fifth place.
The level of excitement went up several notches as four of
the final six riders in the second round went double clear,
assuring a jump-off to determine the winner.
First in, Ahlmann, who earned the Bronze Medal in last
weekend’s LGCT Miami Beach, had an unlucky rail coming out
of the pink combination towards the end of the jump-off,
finishing with four faults in 39.72s. Veteran Bosty knew he
had to ride clear and fast, as two of the best twenty-year
old riders in the world were still to come. He showed the
appreciative audience and those youngsters how it’s done,
fault-free in 37.23s.
Verlooy gave a gallant effort, clear in 41.63s, which was
not quite fast enough to catch the flying Frenchman.
Finally, in galloped Allen on the talented stallion Hector,
who looked fast the whole round until the final fence caught
the impressive combination out.
Riding the son of his Selle Francais stallion Ideal de la
Loge, Bosty proudly stood on the top of the podium and took
the victory gallop in front of a cheering crowd.
Álvaro Arrieta Konyay, CEO Oxer Sport: “First of all,
I want to congratulate Bosty for his fantastic performance.
And to the other top riders who are on this table - this is
like a dream! Here there are four of the best riders in the
world, and here we are in Mexico. We started working two
years ago - thanks to the confidence and the trust of my
friend Jan. The team of my company, of Oxer Sport, the
Pascal family, all of us we have done our best to get this
amazing event. We have great pride in the excellent,
excellent assistance of the public this Saturday - today
we’ve seen fantastic sport here, thanks to the course
designer who is part of this magic moment. Thank you to
Mexico, to the Secretary of Tourism, as well as the Director
of Longines. In Mexico they have supported this fantastic
Grand Prix. Thank you.”
Jan Tops, Longines Global Champions Tour Founder and
President: “If you’d wanted to write the perfect script
a week ago, you would end up with what you are seeing here
in the last couple of days. Not only was it perfect
organisation and with great riders, the public here were
unique - they are very warm, they know about the sport, and
they really appreciate the riders and the performance. This
makes it a special place. I would like to thank our partner
Oxer who we’ve known for many years, and have a lot of trust
in each other. Also the Pascale family, it was a great
partnership. Also thanks to the Mexican Government who are
behind us. Without these people we couldn’t have had a
weekend like this. The winner was the sport - it was a great
finish thanks to the course builder again, and I’d like to
thank all the stakeholders who make this happen.”
Christian Ahlmann (GER), LGCT Ranking leader: “I’m
really happy with my first two shows, Epleaser did a very
very good job; one time on the small sand ring the other
week, and then on this big grass field. He’s showing
everyone how special he is. Especially the first round, it
was a real, real proper Grand Prix. For the second time
outside in this big ring, it was hard work - I had an
unlucky rail in the jump-off, but in general I’m very happy
with my horse. I’m really happy with the show, as Jan said
it’s organised very well, especially with the public - it’s
really a lot of fun for all of us to ride in.
“I’m really looking forward to the next shows. It was a good
start, but we have to keep concentrating to keep this
[ranking leader armband].”
Roger-Yves Bost (FRA), gold medallist: “I’ve won two
Global Grands Prix with the father of this horse, one in the
final of Abu Dhabi, so to win with the son is a very good
feeling. The show is so good - my horse felt very good in
the class. When I jumped yesterday I felt I had a good
chance to win - today is my day! For the first time to jump
here, this place is amazing.”
Jos Verlooy (BEL), silver medallist: “Every show [my
horse] is going better and better. I built him up in the
winter, we’re going up together and he’s going faster than I
thought. I am very pleased with how he went this weekend.
Miami was also super and gave me a good feeling for this
Bertram Allen (IRL), bronze medallist: “Bosty had a
really good round, he was fast. I knew it was going to be
difficult for me to beat that - my horse has only done three
5* Grands Prix so I gave it a bit of a go, and had a bit of
an unlucky fence down, but I’m delighted to be sitting
Tomorrow will see the second Global Champions League team
competition take place in the expansive grass arena. The
action kicks off at 15:00 local time, with live streaming
via the Global Champions League website - please click