Global Champions League Miami Beach
Pirates at the helm for GCL Miami Beach, with Swans poised for hat-trick
The St Tropez Pirates were the only team out of 16 to leave all the fences up in the opening class for the GCL team competition, set in the spectacular ocean side Miami Beach venue.
Team riders Pieter Devos and Athina Onassis put a score of three faults on the board between them, with Pieter logging one of only two clear rounds inside the time from the 32 team starters and Athina clocking just three-time faults on MHS Going Global.
2018 GCL Miami Beach winners, the Prague Lions, fielded riders Niels Bruynseels (Gancia De Muze) and Anna Kellnerova (Catch Me If You Can OLD) with the team finishing second on five faults. The in-form Shanghai Swans — who have won both events of the 2019 season so far — are in touching distance, sitting in third, also with five faults, but with a slower combined time.
Athina did a great round and her horse jumped fantastic,”
said Pieter, who rode the 15-year-old gelding Espoir.
The course was difficult today with faults everywhere, and the poles were very light. I saw she jumped clear which added the pressure for me as I knew I had to as well! My horse was great.”
The second round takes place on Saturday, with today’s result determining the starting order.
With Edwina Tops-Alexander also present for the Pirates this weekend, Pieter spoke of the team tactics:
It’s only the first round, so it’s great we can start in pole, but Saturday is a new day. It’s a difficult venue as the horses can be distracted, so we saw faults everywhere. We will have a talk together to see who’s going to ride on Saturday, we’re very motivated, so we’ll go for it.”
Some teams racked up heavy scores over the technical track from Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani, with the bogey fence being the first part of the second double situated in the shade and down the long side by the VIPs.
High profile guests including Bruce Springsteen enjoyed the picture perfect hospitality, while visitors from the beach lined the edge of the arena to catch a glimpse of show jumping’s superstars.
The home team, the Miami Celtics, are sitting in fourth position on six faults, while the Berlin Eagles are fifth on eight and the Scandinavian Vikings sixth on 10 faults. The scores carry through to Saturday’s final round and determine the starting order.
Margie Goldstein-Engle, who grew up in Miami and rides in the GCL for the first time this season for the Cannes Stars team, said:
The League [GCL] is very exciting; it’s a new dimension to our sport, a great evolution and it’s got so much exposure for our sport. It is great to have people in Miami getting into it and the exposure for showjumping is great. A lot of people look forward to seeing it, you could not have better views.”
For the full results, please click here.