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Carlos Lopez Takes The Spotlight With CSI5* Win in Valkenswaard

Release date: 11/08/2017

Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso

Under night lights Carlos Lopez (COL) shone with a brilliant win in Valkenswaard with his dark bay mare, the 10 year old Cuplandra. Fending off World Number 1 Kent Farrington (USA) and Dublin, the Colombian put in a foot perfect round to take the lion’s share of the 92,000 euro prize purse. 

A delighted Carlos said: “I wanted to win today. I’ve been training [Cuplandra] for five or six shows to not be scared of the lights - she used to really back off. Step by step she’s grown, she’s only 10, so I’m very proud. I knew I had to take my chance to the last, and I went! When you get the best riders in the world it’s important to prove you do a good job and that the mare is good.” 

Uliano Vezzani set a flowing course for the first Global Champions League, making full use of the expansive sand arena. With colourful fences featuring windmills, tulips and colourful designs showcasing the spectacular venue, the teams took to the huge sand arena as the day turned to dusk. Fences fell all over the arena, the treble combination taking out a few with a short distance to the middle element and the penultimate GCL oxer falling as riders decided whether to take four or five strides to the skinny bicycle vertical to finish.

For the full report of the first round, please click here

10 riders would return for the jump-off as the floodlights came on to light up the glistening arena. With the arena lit up, the fast-paced jump-off would see riders galloping the length of the arena, with a tight roll back set up right in front of the grandstand and back towards the in-gate. 

Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) was the first to jump double clear with VDL Groep Quatro much to the delight of the local fans. The home favourite looked strong, but left the door open - laying down the gauntlet with a time of 40.86s, knowing there was a world class field yet to come. 

Carlos Lopez (COL) and Cuplandra sped around the course, with fierce intent as the pair chanced their luck at the last. With fortune favouring the brave tonight, the duo stopped the clock in 39.33s, setting a new time to beat and raising the bar for the jump-off. 

Others tried, and failed to better the Colombian’s time, with poles rolling from the likes of Harrie Smolders (NED) with Capital Colnardo, Nayel Nassar (EGY) with Lordan, and Marlon Módolo Zanotelli (BRA) with Celena VDL - all forced into mistakes. 

Marco Kutscher (GER) put in a steady clear with the huge-striding Clenur - the big horse giving his all but ultimately not quick enough around the Formula 1 paced course. Carlos had a nervous wait as the rest of the field would take their turn and held his breath as World Number 1 Kent Farrington (USA) entered the ring. The American star put in a strong effort with grey gelding Dublin, but a couple of checks cost the pair valuable time, slotting them just behind Carlos in 40.06s. 

All eyes would be on final rider Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) with Aikido Z. The combination flew around the arena, up on Carlos’ time. But it wasn’t to be, and a rolled pole would see the Colombian take the win in this evening’s feature class. 

The action kicks off again tomorrow with the Global Champions League final kicking off at 14:30, before the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Valkenswaard presented by Sapinda which takes place at 18:00 local time.