World number one Harrie Smolders has secured his place in the Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix after a spectacular win in Hamburg, Germany.
The 2017 LGCT Champion took the title in the LGCT Grand Prix with Don VHP Z, who is one of most consistent showjumping horses in the world. They were one of just two combinations to jump a double clear.
The other came from young German talent Maurice Tebbel on Chacco Boy. However, they were unable to catch the deceptively fast leaders.
Third place went to Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs and Chaplin who were the fastest four faulters.
Out of 35 starters, seven combinations made it through to the jump-off. Harrie was second in, and although he started his round cautiously he pulled off an incredible turn to the third fence and then galloped the rest of the course, trusting the super stallion to clear the enormous fences at top speed.
“We knew that Don VHP Z would like this ring very much — he always jumps very well here and we are happy he showed his great form,” said Harrie. “We also had a jump-off that suited him very well.
“He normally doesn’t win so many classes, but I knew I had a shot. He’s a very efficient jumper and I have to be aware that I use his energy efficiently, but he’s so consistent and he keeps jumping clears in 1.60m classes.”
The flying Dutchman’s fast clear put pressure on the remaining five riders and forced errors all over the course. Maurice Tebbel was the only real threat, with a clear round, but he wasn’t quite fast enough – much to the disappointment of the home crowd.
Harrie’s victory has won him a golden ticket to the GC Prague Play Offs where he will contest the Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix.
Alongside him is an already stellar line-up of Scott Brash, Edwina Tops-Alexander, Gregory Wathelet and Ben Maher.