Christian Ahlmann finished London’s Longines Global Champions Tour on top with his second win of the weekend, piloting the lightning-fast Solid Gold Z to victory and winning it on an edge-of-the-seat gallop to the last.
Escorted by the scarlet-coated Chelsea Pensioners, Ahlmann stood proudly in front of the Royal Hospital Chelsea for the prize giving, taking the win ahead of yesterday’s Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of London winner Peder Fredricson with H&M Christian K and Emanuele Gaudiano in third with Nikolaj de Music.
Ahlmann smiled: “It’s fantastic you feel it’s a horse country, lots people here cheering for everybody and it was a long time ago we were allowed to ride in front of so many people, so it’s a very, very good feeling. I’m really, really happy with my horse. He followed me 100%. He took the risk, and he tried everything to make it happen. I’m super proud of him.”
International guests such as Bob Geldof and Harry Skelton watched from the beautifully designed VIP hospitality, as 37 international combinations came forward to tackle the course. Uliano Vezzani set a straightforward but technical track, the 1.50m course a little tight on time allowed but 9 combinations managed it to perfection, providing star-studded jump-off.
Pathfinder Yuri Mansur flew around the arena with the expressive Ibelle Ask, the Brazilian rider option for the safer option knowing that a clear would put the pressure on the rest of the field. The pair delivered, stopping the clock in 38.25 and taking home 5th overall. It wasn’t to be for Johnny Pals and Fernando, who had to retire after a miscommunication approaching fence one and
In sensational form, Peder Fredricson brought out the lightning-quick H&M Christian K. The Swede produced yet again another foot-perfect clear. They were upon the time as they stopped the clock, and the crowd cheered in appreciation for Fredricson’s skillful horsemanship.
Laura Kraut set off at a pace with the 9-year-old Goldwin and delivered the double clear to slide ahead of Mansur for now. Up next, speed demon Emanuele Gaudiano was also on a young horse Nikolaj de Music. They showed their skill flying around the arena to claim the final spot on the podium.
The crowd cheered as Scott Brash entered the arena with the super-fast and powerful Hello Vincent. They gave it a valiant try and were upon the time at the split time, but there was heartbreak as the first part of the double fell, groans filling the arena as it tumbled.
Niels Bruynseels and Gancia de Muze looked dangerous with the pair taking a brilliant angle to the first fence, he masterfully guided the quick mare around the arena, but the same fence fell as Brash put them straight out of contention.
Final rider to go home hero John Whitaker was aiming to do one better today. Riding Sharid he gave the jump-off course a brave shot, but they got too flat to the GC upright, picking up four faults and handing the win to Ahlmann.
Photo by Hippo Foto