Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso
World Number 7 and Rio Olympic athlete Daniel Deusser (GER) blew away the competition in this afternoon’s feature class for the Longines Global Champions Tour of Valkenswaard, with a stunning jump-off win with his new 9 year old chestnut mare Happiness van T Paradijs. In a 20 rider jump-off that shifted dramatically through the gears, the highly respected German rider claimed top honours ahead of an impressive field of 50 international riders, taking home the lion’s share of the €61,800 prize purse.
Talking about his win, Daniel said: “I’m super happy – it’s the second show for me and this horse together. My mare tries her best and she did a really good job today. I see Valkenswaard as my home a little bit – I was here for six years – so to win here is a really nice feeling.”
Uliano Vezzani’s course was a true test for the world’s best riders, which this weekend features 23 Rio Olympic athletes in their final competition ahead of the Games, plus 7 of the world’s top 10, starring new World Number 1 Christian Ahlmann (GER). Set against the backdrop of the state-of-the-art Tops International Arena, the feature CSI5* class of the day unfolded with all eyes looking to who would be on form at this early stage in the weekend, and indeed for Saturday’s LGCT Grand Prix and forthcoming Games.
A total of 20 riders went through to the jump-off, including top combinations such as Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Forever, Gregory Wathelet (BEL) with Citizenguard Taalex, Ludger Beerbaum (GER) and Chiara and David Will (GER) with Cento du Rouet. The challenging course then halved the field, with nine combinations jumping double clear while many of the big names picked up faults all over the 1.55m course.
But for those who went clear the pressure was on, as the pace became faster and faster with the riders pushing to beat the clock and take over the top spot. The crowds cheered as the leader changed again and again, but ultimately it was on-form Daniel Deusser (GER) who claimed the win, stopping the clock at an impressive 35.34s. Less than a second behind was Denis Lynch (IRL) with his formidable All Star 5, finishing double clear in 36.23s. Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Albfuehren’s Happiness claimed third place just tenths of a second away in 36.80s, and Marlon Zanotelli (BRA) with Extra van Essene rounded out the top four. Notable performances also came from home rider Leopold van Asten (NED) with VDL Groep Miss Untouchable, Georgina Bloomberg (USA) with Crown 5 who were placed 6th, Michel Hendrix (NED) with Baileys and Emily Moffitt (USA) with Hilfiger van de Olmenhoeve who also jumped a beautiful double clear.