Photos: Stefano Grasso / LGCT
The championship is accelerating
following two nail-biting competitions in Miami Beach and
Mexico City as teams chase points and prize money around the
The ranking battle has intensified, with Monaco Aces the new
leaders, just one point ahead of Shanghai Swans, who in turn
are one point ahead of Miami Beach winners Valkenswaard
United. Miami Glory and Antwerp Diamonds are currently tied
in fourth, just a further point away from the top three. As
the Championship heads to Antwerp for the first European
leg, the stakes are raised for all the teams as the momentum
of the new format builds.
Thousands of fans turned out for the new GCL team
competition adding to the already colourful and exciting
atmosphere at the show ground. The high-energy signature
music of the teams, including tracks by Calvin Harris,
Rihanna and Bruno Mars and theme music from Star Wars and
007, elevated the energy in the big arena.
Javier Salvador, co-owner and manager of current GCL leaders
Monaco Aces, said: "This is amazing for the sport and it is
great to be part of a team and involved. It's having a huge
impact on social media." Excited fans queued for autographs
from the team riders and easily identified with the
colourful polo shirts emblazoned with team names and logos.
Scott Brash, of team Miami Glory said: "It's great for fans
because even if they don't know about the sport they can
identify with their own city.”
In true Mexican style, the Global Champions League Teams
were greeted with a boisterous welcome as they walked the
course in preparation for the first round of the second leg
of this revolutionary new team competition. It was a test
until the last rail, but it was the graceful pair of Edwina
Tops-Alexander (AUS) with the 12 year old gelding Ego van
Orti and Janne-Friederike Meyer (GER) with the grey 11 year
old mare Charlotta representing Shanghai Swans who finished
with best score of the day.
Donning their custom polo shirts, twelve teams of two
walked, planned and practiced together as well as rooted for
one another as they took on the challenges of the courses.
Set at 1.55m, the first round included fifteen efforts that
proved to be a true test for the top riders. Difficult lines
and light jumps caused rails and a couple of eliminations.
Five of twenty-four riders did negotiate the track without
fault, but no teams went into the second round with a zero
During half-time, between rounds, the entertainment was as
fabulous as the competition, with the dynamic Raiz de Mexico
Mariachi band and Ballet Folklorico Mexicano Adelitas
dancers adding a unique and colorful flair. As the top eight
scoring teams walked the second round, the buzz from the
crowd continued to build. Once again the grandstands,
sidelines and VIP were filled with adoring fans and
supporters who were thrilled to see the world's best in
Eight teams would go through to round two. Shanghai Swans
and Doha Fursan Qatar with team members Bassem Hassan
Mohammed (QAT) with Argelith Squid and Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid
Al Thani (QAT) on the experienced Imperio Egipcio Milton,
were tied at four faults each and at the top of the scoring
board so far. Sitting in third were Cannes Stars, with Kevin
Jochems (NED) and Zanzibar, and Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) on the
chestnut 10 year old stallion Farfelu de la Pomme,
representing the blue and white team.
Jumping clear was only part of the test in the second round
of twelve efforts, in order not to accrue time faults the
riders were required to keep up a solid gallop and stick to
a tidy track. Eight of the sixteen riders who returned
finished with time faults, three with only those time faults
added. Tops-Alexander and Laura Renwick (GBR) finished with
just one time fault each, and Roger-Yves Bost with two,
adding those points to their total. Four riders rode without
fault in the second round - Gonzolo Anon Suarez representing
Madrid in Motion rode a sensational round on a horse he had
never competed on before. Maikel van dar Vleuten (NED) of
Monaco Aces, Mohammed for Doha Fursan Qatar and Harrie
Smolders with the impressively consistent grey gelding Bokai
for Antwerp Diamonds also jumped clear. The pairing have
been the most consistent, and potentially valuable, on the
League so far; jumping every round clear and recording the
best results for the team.
However clean rounds are only half of the equation, as the
both team members scores are added together, which means
every time fault and every rail counts.
Ultimately, the Shanghai Swans topped the field with a final
two round score of 10, earning a prize of 60,583 euros.
Earning an impressive second place were Roger-Yves Bost
(FRA) and Kevin Jochems (NED) of Cannes Stars. Making a name
for himself as another twenty-year-old one to watch, Jochems
was clean in round one and scored five faults in round two.
Yves-Bost added 10 to the total, with a final score of 15.
Jochems is thrilled to have an opportunity to compete at
this level and be a part of the GCL. “It’s a great
opportunity, I’m only 20 years old and it’s very special to
be part of the team - many people my age cannot be part of
those spectacular shows.
Normally equestrian sport is quite an individual sport,
however with the GCL there will be more teamwork and we will
try to do the best for each other.”
The League now heads to Europe and Antwerp, Belgium, for the
third round of competition as the 2016 Championship battle
Jan Tops, Co-founder of Global Champions League: “It
was nail-biting. The cards are totally shuffled again from
last week, which is very exciting. It was a tough first
round, and more demanding than last week. The whole ranking
has changed, and that’s what it’s about - it’s exciting to
the last moment.”
Janne-Freiderike Meyer, Shanghai Swans: “First I have
to say thank you to Jan and Edwina that they gave me the
great opportunity to be part of the team. It’s a great
chance and of course I was really excited to be part of the
team. I like to ride in a team - it’s always a little bit of
extra excitement and extra pressure, but also extra fun!
Today we had a really great day - Edwina and I walked the
course together. I’m proud of Charlotta, she did a great job
today. We have a long flight home but it will be a really
Edwina Tops-Alexander, Shanghai Swans: “It was super
exciting - it’s a unique experience, as you can choose who
you want on your team. We chose Janne to be part of the
Shanghai Swans; we know she’s a strong rider. I was a little
nervous as yesterday I suggested she changed her entries and
she listened to me! I thought it would probably be a little
bit like last week, but as we walked the course I thought
‘woah, this is quite big’. I thought she was a little
nervous so I felt responsible, but she did an amazing job
and like she said, her horse Charlotta hasn’t quite got that
experience but, today she gained a lot more experience!
We’re just super happy and really excited to continue the
rest of the season.”
Kevin Jochems, Cannes Stars: “It’s amazing to be in a
team with a really good rider like [Bosty]. He showed how
good he is yesterday after winning the Grand Prix and to
make this result together is really awesome.”
Roger-Yves Bost, Cannes Stars: “[Kevin] is a good
rider, which makes it easier for me! He rode the first round
very well - clear - which was important as I had two down.
He did a very good job.”
Leopold van Asten, Monaco Aces: “I was first to go,
and a little disappointed with my result - I had two down
towards the end. Luckily Maikel had only one down. We saw
very quickly that it was a tough course, with many faults.
The second round we were a little unlucky coming in taking
the combination, but had a super clear from Maikel. This
made us third, and for the League [rankings] it’s good.”