(Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT)
By Global Champions Tour
The Friday night feature class CSI5* Gaston Glock’s Championat Vienna was won by Denis Lynch (IRE) and All Star 5 – Denis’ second win of the day! The Irishman threw everything he had at the challenging course set by Frank Rothenberger to push Germany’s Hans-Dieter Dreher with Embassy II and Ludger Beerbaum with Chaman into 2nd and 3rd, respectively. A rare smile broke across Lynch’s face as he accepted his prize before the packed VIP and the title sponsors family Glock.
The first round course was a tough one, beginning with the black Glock wall at No1, including tricky distances and awkward lines in the middle, and ending in a flimsy upright. It was a course requiring a horse with power and scope. The time allowed was also tight, so every rider set off at pace, cutting corners and taking tight lines wherever they dared. Clears were rare towards the beginning of the draw, but the big names quickly rose to the challenge.
By far the most demanding line was the very short treble combination across the floodlit arena on a long five strides to a wide, square Longines oxer. Getting the perfect stride to the oxer going into the treble was key, then riders had to chose whether to hold for six short strides to the Longines oxer or press for five. Many of the less experienced riders or those who didn’t get the perfect shot in picked up faults here.
Ludger Beerbaum and Marcus Ehning (GER) with Plot Blue both chose to add a stride between the difficult combination and the Longines oxer, using their horses’ power and scope to their advantage. Unfortunately Championship favourite Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) with his bouncy Clarimo ASK picked up one unfortunate time fault. The knowledgable crowd were incredibly supportive, commiserating with riders who picked up faults around the imposing course and cheering loudly for clears.
Of the 47 starters, 10 jumped clear. The jump-off course was a twisting route with the options to both gallop and turn back tight. Hans-Dieter Dreher and Embassy II set the standard of 36.39s early on before Ludger and Chaman executed an elegant round to slot into second with 36.56s. From the middle of the draw Denis Lynch, inspired by his earlier win, took all the risks galloping to the last to set an untouchable time of 35.90s drawing cheers and yells from the audience.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s Longines Global Champions Tour of Vienna Grand Prix presented by Icuras, Ranking Leader Ludger Beerbaum looks like the man to beat as he maintains his glittering form. Though Rolf-Göran Bengtsson is the only rider who can overtake Beerbaum on the leaderboard here in Vienna, many are eyeing World No1 Scott Brash (GBR) for another great result to add to his record three Longines GCT Grand Prix wins so far this season.
You can watch round 13 of this year’s 14-leg Championship, the Longines Global Champions Tour of Vienna Grand Prix, tomorrow on GCT TV, ORF Sport +, ClassHorseTV and Equidia Life from 6.30pm CEST, and on Eurosport and beIN Sports 4 from 9pm CEST.