Scott Brash and UrsulaCredit : Stefano Grasso
Sunday 25 March - 08h03 | Edited Press Release
Scott Brash and 17-year-old mare Ursula XII won the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Grand Prix of Mexico yesterday, becoming the first athlete to qualify for the new LGCT Super Grand Prix later this year.
Brash has won the overal l LGCT title on two previous occasions and has given Ursula a lighter season in the winter to keep her fresher for the outdoor classes. He came out significantly best in a eight horse jump off which left Germany's Daniel Deusser in second and Italy's Alberto Zorzi in third. The win secures his ticket to the new Prague Play Offs, which will be held this December in the Czech capital City. Each LGCT event Grand Prix winner will qualify for a place in the Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix. The British star said: ”I’m delighted to be in the new [Longines Global Champions] Super Grand Prix, it’s a fantastic competition for us riders to have and to aim for and I think it’s going to be really exciting in Prague, a totally new concept and the first time they go indoors. It’s really exciting this year, it’s opened up a whole new level and I’m really excited to be a part of it in Prague.” Brash revealed this could be Ursula’s last season but said she was feeling “so great” there will be more major shows to come. Paola Amilibia had the unenviable task of pathfinder and returned with four faults on Prunella d’Ariel. Alberto Zorzi and Contanga shot out of the starting gates and soared round with a deliberate clear in 40.37s to set an impressive target. He was soon followed by Daniel Deusser with Tobago Z, who pulled off some masterful turns in a brilliantly calculated round and slipped into the lead by six tenths of a second — 40.31s was the new time to beat. Fourth in was the ice cool Scott Brash (GBR), who powered round the expansive grass arena on Ursula XII. A big push down the final line on the big-striding mare and a flier over the last sent them rocketing into the lead in 38.65s - almost two seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Just three riders could come between Scott and victory in this opening LGCT Grand Prix of the series and first up was the ultra-dangerous Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady. The pace was immense and the Canadian Olympic gold medallist pegged Scott’s time in 37.52s but agonizingly rolled the final fence. Mexico’s Nicolas Pizzaro made a valiant effort but four faults in 40.80s put them top five – a great result for the home rider. Last to go, Gerco Schroder and Glock’s London opened up over the first part of the course, but silver medallists from London 2012 hit the second part of the double and they came home in 40.83s with four penalties. Scott said: “This ring was fantastic for Ursula as I could really play to her strength which his her stride, but it was still a very competitive jump-off and we did our best.”Brash also let on that this might well be Ursula's last season. “I’m absolutely delighted for Ursula and my team. She’s probably in her last season, so to get a big win here in Mexico is really rewarding for us all. I’m delighted with her and I think she jumped better in every round. I was quite fortunate that I managed to watch both Alberto and Daniel go just before me so that gave me a bit of an advantage, but I tried to use Ursula’s stride, which would be her biggest strength, and it’s a great ring to use that, so it was in my advantage today. I definitely didn’t think I’d won until Eric Lamaze and Gerco Schroder had been because they’re so fast and it’s great to see [Glock's] London back - he jumped amazing - so I knew he was still a danger coming last. I knew it wasn’t over till the last one went in. I’m delighted to be in the new [Longines Global Champions] Super Grand Prix, it’s a fantastic competition for us riders to have and to aim for and I think it’s going to be really exciting in Prague, a totally new concept and the first time they go indoors. It’s really exciting this year, it’s opened up a whole new level and I’m really excited to be a part of it in Prague. There are 16 legs, so I’m not going to get carried away but of course it would be great to win the Championship again. But there’s a lot of jumping to be done before then!”
The Irish took charge of the Global Champions League with Denis Lynch and Michael Duffy powering te Miami Celtics to a second round win and set them up for todays decider.Brilliant double clears from the seasoned Denis Lynch and young talent Michael Duffy propelled them to the top of the podium with the Panthers in second and Valkenswaard United in third place. Tension remained high right up until the last rider in the last team as team fortunes rose and fell in dramatic fashion. Under-25 Miami Celtics rider Michael Duffy said: “This is what we all get out of bed in the morning for – this is the level everyone aspires to be at and these are the best shows in the world, so for me it’s a dream come true. We delivered the goods today, and the plan is to stay at the top!” Nineteen teams, including several new squads, were on the starting grid for the first leg of 2018 and the stakes are higher than ever. The GCL regular season of 16 events climaxes in Doha followed by the big new showdown at the GC Prague Play Offs in December.
Thursday 22 March - 18h27
Monday 26 March - 14h49
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