The Paris Panthers’ dynamic duo of Darragh Kenny and Jack Hardin Towell stormed to the win in Shanghai after a thrilling third round of action on the Global Champions League championship took off in style. Both riders have looked on form throughout the event however proved to be unstoppable in today’s final, with both riders jumping clear and riding fastest with combined total of 155.99s. Hamburg Diamonds took a strong second, with John Whitaker and Jos Verlooy also jumping clear, just shy of the fastest time in 161.94s. Third went to the London Knights, after Ben Maher and Kent Farrington teamed up once more, with both riders jumping clear but carrying through four faults from the previous round.
The final went down to the wire, with St Tropez Pirates looking confident for the win after a flawless performance until the pressure on Simon Delestre and Chesall proved dramatic with the pair picking up 12 faults and dropping the team down the scoreboard to 8th overall.
Uliano Vezzani’s course was a tough test for the world’s best, featuring formidable oxers, distracting water tray, and delicate verticals. A challenging dog leg back towards the in-gate caught out a few, while others rolled poles in the Longines combination set against the long-side of the arena where the challenge was the short four strides to a big oxer to finish, with a time allowed of 84seconds. The first of the related distances also caught out a few, and the majority of the fences at maximum height, including a 1.60m plank, which was very gappy, very light and with no ground line. There was also a serious double away from home, which caught out the likes of Bertram Allen.
There were thrills and spills aplenty throughout the class, with 14 riders going clear throughout. Kimberly Prince and RMF Bella Baloubet had a double refusal at the water tray, meaning that Miami Glory were eliminated, with teammate Scott Brash’s score not counting towards the team, despite his phenomenal clear. Agonisingly, Shanghai Swans rider Daniel Deusser and Clintop had the final fence down, with the pair looking strong with tight turns and beautifully balanced throughout and flying round in a masterful style. The large striding horse clipped the final pole, with the local crowd groaning as their team rider picked up four faults. Team mate Roger-Yves Bost rode a flying clear with Pegase du Murier, winning the class individually, but it was not enough for the home team, with Shanghai Swans finishing in 10th overall.
Nicola Philippaerts with the popular H&M Harley v. Bisschop also collected an unusal number of faults, after the stunning dapple grey stopped in the second part of the double after crashing through the liverpool. A refusual from teammate Lauren Hough and Cornet 39 also meant the team collected a total of 40 faults overall, dropping them down the order. Laura Kraut looked strong for the Rome Gladiators, however Zeremonie dropped her legs in the final oxer, kicking back and knocking the pole and raking up the points for the team total.
Marco Kutscher and Clenur went calm and steady, with the expressive duo jumping clear for the Cannes Stars. An unlucky time fault contributed to the team score of 9 after Ludger Beerbaum and Chiara had a pole down in the second round. Ben Maher put in a sensational round with Don Vito, jumping clear in 76.61s, a full four seconds ahead of the rest of the field so far. The London Knights were on incredible form, with Kent Farrington also jumping clear for the team to shoot them up to third place and second in the overall rankings.
But it was the Paris Panthers’ combination of Jack Hardin Towell and Darragh Kenny who stole the show, taking the win in emphatic style in front of wowed local spectators. Valkenswaard United keep hold of the top spot after Marcus Ehning and Alberto Zorzi put in another strong performance, with the German rider jumping clear in his GCL debut. Sitting on 74 points overall, the team sit just 6 points ahead of the London Knights, who are a further 8 points away from the St Tropez Pirates.