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Lorenzo de Luca unstoppable during day two of LGCT Mexico City
Release date: 08/04/2017
Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grass
The second day of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Mexico City provided another thrilling day of world class action, as riders fought for the Trofeo Banorte in the build up to Saturday’s LGCT Grand Prix and the Global Champions League Final. Italian star Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) rocketed to the win with chestnut stallion Halifax van het Kluizebos after a high speed jump-off provided high octane sport and plenty of drama.
Fans packed the grass arena to witness the world’s best take centre stage in the perfect prelude to tomorrow’s final, while Longines Ambassador of Elegance Andre Agassi, the world famous professional tennis player walked the imposing course with fellow ambassador and show jumper Jane Richard Philips (SUI). Guests enjoyed luxurious VIP surroundings, where local delicacies were on offer as well as exquisite artwork and decoration to give an authentic feel to the stunning Campo Marte set up.
To the delight of the watching spectators, Frederick Fernandez (MEX) was the first to jump clear with his horse Guru, with the crowd passionately cheering their local rider, however picked up an unlucky time fault eliminating him from the jump-off. Alberto Zorzi (ITA), who took over the reins of MHS Going Global for the weekend, also jumped clear but picked up a time fault - a fantastic result for the pair who had competed together for the first time just yesterday.
The third fence, a huge oxer, caused the most problems, but the challenging course had poles flying all over the field. The final Longines fence also cost many top riders a place in the jump-off, with Eric Lamaze (CAN), Max Kühner (AUT) and Yuri Mansur Guerios (BRA) and Simon Delestre (FRA) all agonisingly rolling the back pole.
Another fence to cause problems was the huge wall, featuring a landscape of Mexico City which many horses refused. Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and Ustina Sitte were one of the most high profile names to retire after the 13 year old mare stopped twice from a long way off, while David Will (GER) landed on his feet separately from top mare Monodie H after a last minute stop, walking quietly out of the ring much to their disappointment.
Niels Bruynseels (BEL) and Angel van T Hof were the next combination to go clear, after a stylish and steady round saw the Belgian rider create a jump-off, joining Lorenzo de Luca (ITA). Jerome Guery (BEL) and Garfield de Tiji Des Templiers, Leopold van Asten (NED) and VDL Groep Beauty, Daniel Deusser (GER) with Happiness van't Paradijs also went clear, meaning it would be a five rider jump-off to decide the winner.
Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) was first to go and set a blazing pace with Halifax van het Kluizebos jumping his heart out for the Italian rider. The pair made a phenomenal turn back to fence three, and galloped to the final fence to stop the clock in 36.30s. Niels Bruynseels (BEL) put in a great try, looking strong and quick in the first part, but losing a little time in the second part to slot in behind Lorenzo. Jerome Guery (BEL) took a different route, with eight strides to the second and a neat turn to the third propelling them towards the win. Galloping towards the final fence, Jerome and Garfield de Tiji Des Templiers took a flier to the last, but agonisingly rolled the pole as the crowd groaned, picking up four faults and knocking them out of contention despite the speedy time of 35.50s.
Penultimate rider to go, Leopold van Asten (NED) masterfully guided the big striding VDL Groep Beauty around the course, but were unable to make up the time, stopping the clock in 37.99s. But it was final rider Daniel Deusser (GER) who provided all the drama, pulling out all the stops with Happiness van't Paradijs, taking seven strides and chancing it on the angle on the double. The pair looked phenomenal and were up on the time, however also clipped the pole on the final fence as they flew to the finish, pushing them down the order despite their speedy time of 35.43.
But it was Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and Halifax van het Kluizebos who were unstoppable today, with the pair picking up the lion’s share of the €92,000 prize purse.
Tomorrow will see the Global Champions League final kick off at 13:00 local time, with the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Mexico City taking place at 16:00 local time. Tune in via GCL and GCT TV to watch exclusive content, live studios and all the action for what promises to be a phenomenal day of top sport.