The Longines Global Champions Tour drew to a powerful close in Doha, with Rolf-Göran Bengtsson winning both the final leg of the season as well as the overall series Champion of Champions title.
After a strong performance across the season, with wins at Valkenswaard and Paris, Rolf-Göran and Casall ASK were launched into pole position for the final leg.
Edwina Top-Alexander narrowly missed out on the top spot, while former long-time leader of the LGCT ranking, Christian Ahlmann, batted off strong competitors from below to take home third place.
“It was an evening you can dream of, but for it to come true you never think it is possible. My horse Casall ASK is just amazing. Still jumping at 17 years. He likes it and makes everything possible,” said Rolf-Göran.
He hopes his star horse will be able to continue competing at the top level for a while longer.
“If he jumps like this it is hard to stop. We are going to have a discussion in the team but I feel with Casall right now it would be a shame to put him in a box and say it is all over. On the other hand you can’t make it better than today. I have a great feeling if we manage we can continue but for how long we have to see.”
In a tense and nail-biting showdown, the mighty Valkenswaard United took the first ever Global Champions League title.
With four wins over the course of the championship, Valkenswaard United’s team members: John Whitaker, Bertram Allen, Emily Moffitt and Eduardo Menezes, have remained consistently at the top of the overall rankings.
“It’s been brilliant,” said Bertram, “We were battling out the whole year, its been a fantastic season.”
A suspenseful competition until the last moment, the Doha leg was won by Paris Jets, whilst Cannes Stars took silver. The night was not without its dramas: Monaco Aces faced a shock elimination after 12 faults in the first round, while the Rome Gladiators lost out in the second round after a refusal from Laura Renwick’s Bintang II.
Antwerp Diamonds’ Harrie Smolders made good time around the course, but rolled a pole at the penultimate fence, leaving the team in third and giving victory to Valkenswaard United.
You can watch the GCT and GCL Final from Doha on Horse & Country, Sky Channel 253 on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 November at 9pm. Don’t have Sky? Sign up to watch online.
LONGINES GLOBAL CHAMPIONS TOUR OVERALL WINNERS
1 Rolf-Goran Bengtsson – 283
2 Edwina Tops-Alexander – 267
3 Christian Ahlmann – 239
4 Simon Delestre – 236
GLOBAL CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OVERALL WINNERS
1 Valkenswaard United – 328.5
2 Antwerp Diamonds – 326
3 Monaco Aces – 315.5
4 Rome Gladiators – 299