Monaco Aces Victorious as Valkenswaard United claim GCL Championship lead
Global Champions League Valkenswaard 2021
The battle for the 2021 Global Champions League (GCL) Championship intensified dramatically this weekend with Valkenswaard United taking over the overall ranking lead from Shanghai Swans. Glory, however, went to to the Monaco Aces, with the team taking their first win of the season.
In the tense final moments of the GCL of Valkenswaard, Monaco Aces Jos Verlooy and Laura Kraut powered to victory after overnight leaders Paris Panthers failed to achieve the double clear they needed. Valkenswaard United finished in second spot catapulting them into the ranking lead after a top-level team competition full of jeopardy as the temperature hots up in GCL series.
A delighted Verlooy said:
The horses jumped great and everything went to plan today. It is amazing to have grass back at Tops International Arena, it is super, the horses love it, and there is nothing more beautiful than jumping on a nice grass arena.”
His teammate Laura Kraut agreed:
Picking up the ranking points is brilliant especially in my first team event of the year. The footing is brilliant here, it is like jumping off a trampoline, it really couldn’t be better.”
Uliano Vezzani’s course was a thoughtful, flowing track, using the full width and breadth of the expansive sand arena. The Italian course designer provided the riders with plenty of options, with choices of strides to many of the combinations and the chance to take tight turns. A curving line to the GC Prague Playoffs upright caught out those who took it too tight, and the final line was a double combination before a wide oxer to the finish. This was a track best suited to larger-striding horses, careful at the fences but able to cover the ground effortlessly in the distances between.
Home city team Valkenswaard United made no changes and brought back Edwina Tops-Alexander and Identity Vitseroel along with Alberto Zorzi and Cinsey. First to go Identity Vitseroel jumped her heart out for the Australian rider, and they produced the clear. Albert Zorzi thrived on the pressure as he piloted Cinsey round to pick up another fast clear and claim second place for Valkenswaard United with 0 faults in a time of 141.12 as well earning the overall season Championship leader armbands as they head into the next leg in Stockholm.
Leading the championship going into GCL Valkenswaard round 2, but with one of the worst scores of this leg, the Shanghai Swans were looking for some serious damage control for this round of action. First to go Christian Ahlmann who brought in Dominator 2000 Z. They bounced around the arena, but the lightest of touches took their score up to 16 faults. Pius Schwizer managed to keep the hot mare Wh Delilah under control and they picked up a clear to help the Swans finish in 11th overall.
For more information on the Global Champions League, www.gcglobalchampions.com/gcl
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