Desseur claims victory at season-opening LGCT Grand Prix of Doha
The 2020 Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Grand Prix of Doha came to a dazzling conclusion yesterday at the Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre arena with Germany's Daniel Deusser and his horse Killer Queen VDM claiming victory.
The 38-year-old world No. 3 Deusser and his 10-year-old mare clocked the fastest time of 42.54 seconds in a seven-horse jump-off to claim their third victory in Qatar, and their second major win after clinching the €135,300 winner’s prize money at the CHI Al Shaqab Grand Prix last week.
With the triumph, the Deusser walked away with the €123,750 grand prize as well as the first golden ticket to the LGCT Super Grand Prix at the GC Prague Playoffs.
Deusser, who finished third in the title race last year, now leads the LGCT overall rankings with 40 points.
The Belgian duo of Nicola Philipppaerts riding on Katanga VH Dingeshof and Jerome Guery on Quel Homme de Hus completed the podium finish.
While the 26-year-old Philipppaerts cleared the 16 obstacle course with no penalties in 44.08secs to emerge second, Guery, on the other hand, clocked 46.27 seconds for his third-place finish. The duo won €75,000 and €56,250 respectively.
Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, and His Excellency Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee and Honorary President Longines Global Champions Tour, presented the awards to the winner and the runners-up.
"I am still a little bit speechless, to be honest. She is still quite young at 10 years old and I think she has just shown everyone that she is one of the best horses in the world right now. Everyone's goal is to qualify for the Super Grand Prix at Prague so it takes a lot of pressure off me now," Deusser said after the win.
"I am very happy I did it now at the start of the season and I am already looking forward to Prague. I think everyone who rides on the Longines Global Champions Tour aims to qualify for the Super Grand Prix. Even though I have won the first ticket now it doesn't mean I don't still want to win the rest of the season," he added.
Doha, the first of 18 events across four continents, turned out to be a stern test for the world's top showjumpers.
The first four riders in the jump-off, Austria's Max Kuehner, France's Titouan Schumacher, Germany's Marcus Ehning and Belgium's Niels Bruynseels, all failed to produce a clear round.
The fifth rider Guery and his horse Quel Homme de Hus, took no risks as they calmly put down the first clear round in a smooth ride of 46.27 seconds to take the lead.
Riding second from last, fellow Belgian Philippaerts went for broke, quickly guiding his mare Katanga VH Dingeshof around the course to finish more than two seconds ahead of Guery.
Deusser, who learned his craft at the German stables of legendary rider Franke Sloothaak, came in last and the German took a Sloothaak-like sharp turn halfway through the course to take the victory as he shaved more than 1.5 seconds off the time of Philippaerts.
Meanwhile, Kazakh Kamil Sabitov, riding on Quintendro, clocked a time of 58.35 seconds to win the top prize of QR8,750 at the 1.45m Hathab Series event yesterday. Mohammed Saeed Haidan on his mount Miss Chili earned QR7,000 after finishing as runner-up in 60.28secs while Hamad Nasser Al Qadi, riding SIEC Lonnie, clocked 66.88secs to finish as the third-place finisher. Al Qadi earned QR5,250 for his effort.
Twin brothers Nicola and Olivier Philippaerts win Global Champions League (GCL)
London Knights stamped their authority on the first leg of the 2020 GCL team series after a last-minute drama crushed the hopes of closest rivals St Tropez Pirates.
Twin brothers Nicola and Olivier Philippaerts emerged triumphant in the opening GCL competition of the new season with an impressive clean scoresheet and an unbeatable time. Paris Panthers, featuring Gregory Wathelet and new signing Penelope Leprevost, were the only other team to produce a full set of clear rounds giving them a well-deserved second place.
Speaking just before the prize-giving ceremony under the soaring architecture of the Longines Al Shaqab Arena, Olivier Philippaerts said: "The pressure is on. We have won the last two years, but we started with a win so that gives great motivation for the next few shows. The season is still very long but we choose our best horses for the events and we hope to do well again in the Super Cup, all the teams work towards it."
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