In total, eleven combinations managed to qualify for the jump-off of the 1.60m Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Rome. It proved to be a challenging task, in which Henrik von Eckermann with the 13-year-old BWP gelding, King Edward, jumped to victory
The cards were not yet shuffled because the last to start was Julien Epaillard with his trusted Donatello d'Auge (Jarnac). Together with Willy Impen's bred gelding, the Swedish show jumper cleared the course in 41.26 seconds to clinch the victory. This earned him over 145,000 euros in prize money.
David Will followed with Sofia Westborg's former My Prins van Dorperheide (Zilverstar T), ahead of Peder Fredricson and the 17-year-old Catch Me Not S (Cardento).
Just outside the podium, Andreas Schou rode the 10-year-old KWPN gelding, I Know (Arezzo VDL), ahead of Malin Baryard-Johnsson and the 15-year-old BWP mare H&M Indiane (Kashmir van Schuttershof).
Coming back with a bang after a less-than-ideal performance in London, Henrik and his world famous King Edward were back with a vengeance. “I had two shows that were not that great with King Edward, I lost a little bit of the feeling and there were a couple of things, like I changed to a hackamore, and the feeling that something is not really like it should be... I was almost getting a bit crazy because you know how it should be but you don’t really ‘get it’...”
His contemplative expression then turned to a beam as he added: “and now it was back how it should feel… and that for me, of course winning is amazing, but that feeling when you feel that you are back and the horse is with you to 100%, the team you have… that is everything, just everything.”
The historic Circus Maximus provided a breathtaking backdrop for this world-class show, with its ancient Roman ruins serving as a reminder of the rich history and traditions that make Rome such a unique host city for international sporting events.
As third place getter David Will said, “I think Rome is a very special city, all of us enjoy being here, it feels ‘special’... and then getting a podium - it’s a big plus!” Also supported by a comment from Schou: “Every venue we come to is different, and this one with the history and such a nice atmosphere just wants you to come out and make a top result!”