With 38 of the world’s best battling it out for a final podium position, the crowd were treated to an impressive masterclass as the fourteenth leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour for 2022 drew to a close.
10 horse and rider combinations qualified for the jump-off after a big weekend of show jumping in the heart of New York City Harbour, with the final title ultimately taken out by a masterful round by John Whitaker aboard Equine America Unick du Francport in a blistering time of 37.39 seconds – just 0.52 seconds ahead of second place getters Nayel Nassar and El Conde.
Class pathfinders Denis Lynch aboard his ever reliable GC Chopin's Bushi and Nayel Nasar aboard his Evergate Stables owned El Conde paved the way for an exciting final showdown in the city that never sleeps. As the first two riders into the arena, they posted impressive clear rounds in the Ulliano Vezzani designed course.
Speaking of his win Whitaker said “I am absolutely delighted with the win today. This is such a special location and venue with the iconic Statute of Liberty behind us that is even better. We have come a long way so to finish like this is top.”
As fourth to go in the jump off, with 6 of the worlds leading riders set to follow Whitaker liked his chances on taking the win. “There were quite a few clears. Nayel was quick. When I beat Nayel, because I know he’s a really quick horse and a really quick rider, I knew I had a chance” said the podium veteran.
Shane Breen told GCTV his thoughts on the venue for this year’s show saying: “All of the LGCT venues are incredible, but this is one of the iconic ones. It’s an honour to be here and ride.”
Just 3 double clear rounds shone through, rounding out a weekend of impressive results, the third and final place on the podium was taken out by none other than Marlon Modolo Zanotelli aboard his Grand Slam VDL, with a time of 38.33 seconds – less than one second behind Whitaker.
Riding high after his jaw-dropping win in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of New York City, Daniel Dusser aboard Kiana van het Herdrshof threw caution to the wind, posting the fastest time of the jump off in 36.68 seconds.
Falling victim to the delicate course in round two were the two Irishmen Denis Lynch and Michael G Duffy finished with four faults each and in 5th and 6th place respectively, closely followed by home grown hero, and audience favourite, Margie Goldstein-Engle aboard Dicas in 7th place.
In what would have secured her 4th place, Malin Maryard-Johnsson roared around on her Harley Davidson in a time of 38.38 seconds, who ultimately finished in 8th place. Just 0.51 seconds behind was an on-form Niel Bruynseels and Diornella-D finishing in 9th position.
With three of the world’s best in contention take the 2022 Champion of Champions, all eyes turn to Riyadh, where The Longines Global Champions Tour now looks to its final stage. The breathtaking backdrop of cultural heritage sites, Turaif, Al Bujairi, and Boulevard City where the past and future of Saudi Arabia collide will play host to the final stage of the intense 2022 season.