Future stars of show jumping showed off their talent on the first day of action at the Longines Future Global Champions event as their famous 5* parents watched on proudly. Current LGCT ranking leader Christian Ahlmann was supporting his son Leon on the 60cm show pony class while his wife Judy-Ann Melchior made it a full family affair also producing the goods in the CSI2*.
Talking next to his son Christian Ahlmann smiled: “I am proud of Leon, it is very special to be here with my son, this is our sport and our life. I am quite nervous I must say, I am not used to that feeling. Most important he should enjoy riding and if it is a clear round it's even better. It is an unbelievable show the pony has never seen anything like this before.”
Providing the perfect platform for the next generation to take on the world stage, Tops International Arena was a showcase of what is to come in the sport as Edwina Tops-Alexander and Jan Top’s daughter Chloe was one of the youngest participants to produce a clear round today.
All eyes were on Pedro Mansur who was being trained by father Yuri Masur. Their family tactics paid off as he was one of 5 clears on board his pony Diane de Chez Nous.
Straight off the back of his first CSI5* Grand Prix win last week Gilles Thomas looked set to win the U25 class before Daisy Farish and Etonemoi del Cabalero took the win in the end by less than half a second in a fast and furious U25 class. With riders aiming to impress as GCL teams start to make their selection of U25 riders for their 2023 team rosters, it was Frederike Staack who came in third place on the bay mare Nebraska van 't Vianahof.
20-year-old Brit Izac Ketteridge was the fastest in the 2* 1.30m class today. He was clear in both phases and finished in 28.44 seconds. For this competition, he had saddled the approved AES stallion Galerius (Diamant de Semilly x Sandro Boy), whom he has been riding internationally since the end of June this year. Galerius was also in Valkenswaard in 2018 but was then still ridden by owner Carron Nicol. Lukene Arenas Saravia (GUA) finished second with the BWP gelding It's Easy (Nonstop x Bacara). Irish rider Shane Dwan finished in third place with Coupon (Hann, Coupe de Coeur 2 x Stakkato).
The 1.40m class remained exciting until the end. Ireland's top rider Billy Twomey took an early lead with DXB Legend (SF, Diamant de Semilly x Cassini I) as the third starter and 37 combinations later he managed to improve his own time with G Celine (KWPN, Cardento 933 x Concorde). But it was not all over yet. The Belgian Gilles Thomas still had to appear in the ring with Miu Miu van Overis (BWP, Inshallah de Muze x Darco) and he is in good shape at the moment. Also in Valkenswaard he was in top shape and managed to improve the time of Twomey by more than 1 second. With that, he claimed the victory.
The first Young Rider class (1.45m) was won by British Nicole Lockhead Anderson with Miss Aragona PS (OS, Messenger x Aragon W. The 20-year-old rider from Aberdeen, who is making her debut in Valkenswaard, stopped the clock with the TW Stables bred mare in 24.23 seconds. Nicole is a regular member of the British Young Rider team and won a gold team medal at the 2018 European Pony Championships. Dutchman Vincent Dings came second with Cream Couleur Z (Zang, Cream on Top x Vanoverbeek) in a time of 25.60 seconds. Third place was for Nikita Cheung (NED) and Noberlina vd Laarseheide Z (Nabab de Reve x Chin Chin).
A little later Nicole Lockhead Anderson showed that her other horse is also in good shape. With Chilli (Brand, Colestus x Colorit) she was by far the fastest in the 1.35m class. With a perfect round with short turns, she won this competition in 35.25 seconds. " This is the first time I have been to Valkenswaard. It is an unbelievable place, the arenas are beautiful and everyone is so helpful," she declared enthusiastically after her second victory. "It’s an amazing opportunity to come to shows like this and compete as a young rider, the facilities are second to none, we are very lucky." She had nothing but praise for her horses. "Miss Aragona PS is a 9 year old mare owned by Tom Williams. She made everything feel very easy today and she loved being on the grass. Chilli is a 10 year old mare, also owned by Tom Williams, and Chilli absolutely loves this show I think. She has won nearly every time coming here with her former riders.” German rider Max Paschertz needed more than 2.5 seconds longer with Captain Jack (Oldenb, Clinton x Landor S) and that was good enough for second place. His compatriot Charlotte Höing came third with Caboom (Casper x Balou du Rouet).
His first appearance ever at Tops International Arena and ending with a win. That was what Mexican Sergio Nieto Rullann did in the 1.20m for Juniors on the first day of the Longines Global Future Champions. He stayed clear in both the first and second phase and crossed the finish line in 26.23 seconds with the Holstein gelding Clapton (Caretino 2 x Contender). A great start for the 15-year-old who is competing in Europe for the first time. Britain's Claudia Moore, who also performed well at Summer Event 3 with H Quainton Xtra Factor (KWPN, Namelus R x Nissan Catango Z), came second. Third place went to the Swede Robin Carey with Luicruz (ISH, Luidam x Puissance).
Robin Carey did not settle for third place in the 1.35m class, however, and faultlessly steered his SCSL mare Carrera Denfer (Sonnor x For Pleasure) to victory in 26.80 seconds. The 17-year-old started his international competition career this year. Britain's Megan Li came second with Premier Titanium (ISH, Taloubet Z x Cruising) with a time of 28.77 seconds. Magnus Schmidt finished third for Germany with DSP Chanel (Brand, Chap 47 x Candillo 3).