Nicola Philippaerts has won the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Portugal in high winds and high excitement.

Serious challenge

Nicola’s fast round on the “unbelievable” H&M Harley secured his win and his place in the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix at the GC Playoffs in December.

GCT Grand Prix tracks are always tough, and the course at Cascais, Estoril posed serious challenges from the start. Riders also faced challenging conditions, due to strong winds, and some of the sport’s most experienced riders faulted – while others were forced to retire, including Ludger Beerbaum and Edwina Tops-Alexander.

Impressive round

First in the jump off was Italy’s Piergiorgio Bucci, who opted for a safe clear (47.09sec). Danielle Goldstein from Israel was defending her Grand Prix title from last year, and rode an impressive round on Lizziemary to set the standard of 41.72sec.

Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet took over the top spot with his grey stallion Mjt Nevados S, who ate up the ground in the large arena and came home in 40.93sec.

Battle for the title

His victory was short-lived however, as fellow Belgian Nicola Philippaerts flew around the course on H&M Harley to finish on a winning time of 39.57sec.

The 2018 GCT is now past the midway point, and the battle for the championship title is gathering pace. Nicola Philippaerts has moved up to fourth position on 121 point, but the top three places are unchanged.

Edwina Tops-Alexander remains the current leader with 172 points. Ben Maher is 29 points behind her on 143 points and Scott Brash is third on 131.

Don’t miss GCT 2018: Cascais when it premieres on Horse & Country TV and Amazon Video on Saturday 23 June at 8pm.