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Valkenswaard United Soar to Win in Electrifying GCL Mexico City

Release date: 08/04/2017

Photo: GCL / Stefano Grasso

Reiging Champions Valkenswaard United powered to victory in the first leg of the Global Champions League after an electrifying second round which went down to the wire in Mexico City. 

Leading going into today’s second leg of the competition by just one penalty ahead of the St Tropez Pirates, the team of Alberto Zorzi (ITA) and Bertram Allen (IRL) soon found themselves down in second place after four faults from Alberto and Cornetto K handed the lead to their closest rivals, whose first rider Simon Delestre (FRA) and Hermes Ryan produced a copy book clear.  

Pressure was then heaped onto the shoulders of the penultimate combination, Jerome Guery (BEL) and Grand Cru van de Rozenberg, who had the chance to secure the win for the Pirates. Agonisingly, an exuberant performance from the 11-year-old saw them collect eight faults, including knocking down the last fence, to put Valkenswaard United back in front. 

Final competitors Bertram and Hector van d’Abdijhoeve showed nerves of steel during their round, which included a hairy moment when the grey gelding bucked going into the final line which caused them to have the penultimate fence down, but the unflappable Irish rider managed to successfully negotiate the one remaining fence and claim victory for Valkenswaard United. 

Chantilly Pegasus and Miami Glory both completed on 12 faults but it’s the French team, which boast the youngest rider combination of all the 18 teams with Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and Martin Fuchs (SUI), who claimed third spot due to their quicker time. 

Miami Glory couldn’t have done any more after both their riders, Paris Sellon (USA) and Scott Brash (GBR), produced clear rounds to help them climb the order from sixth to fourth. It was an impressive turn around in fortunes for the American rider and her stunning grey Cassandra as they improved on their 12 faults in Thursday’s opening round to leave the arena fault free today. Scott Brash and the flamboyant Hello M’Lady then produced a masterful display in the quickest time of the day to win the individual competition. 

Harrie Smolders (NED) and Emerald NOP didn’t look quite at their brilliant best around the vast grass arena at Campo Marte, eight faults from them plus a gut wrenching four from Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Fine Lady 5 at the final fence,put pay to Hamburg Diamonds chances in this opening leg.

But it was reigning Champions Valkenswaard United who stole the show, throwing down the gaunlet to the rest of the field ahead of the 14 remaining legs.