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GLOBAL CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ST TROPEZ – THE STARS CONTINUE TO SHINE

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There are few venues more beautiful than St Tropez, located on the French Riviera. The sixth leg of the GCL Tour saw the small rectangular arena nestled between the mountains overlooking the ocean create the perfect stage for another brilliant session of showjumping.

Round 1 saw an elimination of the 2023 St Tropez winners, New York Empire, knocking them out of the running. It was a tricky but fair course with a scattering of penalties throughout the teams, with only two teams coming into Round 2 with a score of 0.

The 85 x 40m arena was perfectly used by course designer Gregory Bodo, who designed a course full of related distances, rollbacks and curving lines. Rails were evenly scattered around the track, with the final line of 11 and 12 catching a few combinations out while still seeing nine clear rounds in total.

Duarte Seabra, second to go for the Monaco Aces, produced the first clear of the class with the 11-year-old gelding Cocaine du Val by Diarado out of a Cornet Obolensky mare. This was quickly followed by another clear from Nina Mallevaey for the Rome Gladiators onboard the 11-year-old mare Dynastie de Beaufout (Diamant de Semilly x Cassini) on her 1.60m debut.

The incredible nine-year-old stallion Impress-K van ‘t Kattenheye Z (Indoktro K van ‘t Kattenhye x Vagabond de la Pomme) produced an easy and flawless clear under the experience of Thibeau Spits. Finishing both rounds without touching a single rail, St Tropez proved to be a brilliant outing for the young stallion, who is still very new to this level.

Further down the running order, more clears were produced by the Mexico Amigos from Eduardo Pereira De Menezes, and Simone Delestre for the Doha Falcons, allowing the teams to finish in fifth and sixth place respectively.

Valkenswaard United, winners from Madrid, were unable to replicate their win with both riders, Marcus Ehning and John Whitaker, ending their rounds on eight penalties. The team ended Round 2 in eighth position picking up important points for the overall standings.

The last four teams to go proved that the clears were very possible with only two rails coming from eight combinations. Madrid in Motion saw rider Eduardo Alvarez Aznar ride a steady and safe clear on Legend (Ogano Sitte x Nabab de Reve) followed by a single time penalty from Maikel van der Vleuten on O’Bailey vh Brouwershof N.O.P (Darco x Contact van de Heffinck), finishing with the team on five penalties and putting them into podium contention.

Stockholm Hearts closely lost out on the lead after a two time penalty round from Jessica Springsteen with Don Juan van de Donkhoeve (Bamako de Muze x Heartbreaker), after a speedy clear from Malin Baryard-Johnsson on the incredible H&M Indiana (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Animo’s Hallo).

Christian Kukuk and Philipp Weishaupt, for Reisenbech International, both ended their second Rounds on four penalties, unfortunately just losing out on a podium finish, ending in fourth.

Karin Echermann and Kim Emmen stole the night and secured the continued lead on the overall standings for the Cannes Stars. Both riders changed horses from the first round with Katrin coming in on Cala Mandia Nrw, a 11-year-old mare by Capistrano out of a Valentino mare, and Kim choosing Imagine by Cassini Gold out of a Lord Z mare. Both riders finished on a clear score being the only team to end on 0 and thus winning the sixth Leg of the GCL Tour.

This win for Cannes Starts means that they retain the leading place on the overall rankings, with Stockholm Hearts and Madrid in Motion in second and third respectively.

Next weekend the tour moves to the coastal city of Cannes for yet another exhilarating team event.