Samorin, Slovakia – October 23, 2021 – It wasn’t game, set and match last Saturday after Peder Fredricson (SWE) wrote hins mane in history, claiming his firt Longines Global Champions Tour title just hours after helping to secure the GCL team series crown for the Valkenswaard United.
The championship battle turned out to be a superlative showdown with a script that sporting dreams are made of. Spectators filled the arena, positioned in every inch of space as the equestrian world watched on as the knife-edge championship reached its conclusion in Samorin.
Fredricson led the overall ranking going into Saturday’s Final Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of the season and Ben Maher (GBR) had to win with Fredricson 11th place or lower for Maher to claim his 3rd consecutive title.
A beaming Peder Fredricson said: “I am very happy, I will remember 2021. It has been a fantastic year. It is one thing to win a competition but win this proves you have to be good over the whole season. I have some amazing horses and am very grateful to the horse owners that keep them for me.”
A well deserved bronze medal place in the season championship went to Olivier Robert (FRA, who explained: “Fantastic season for me and my team, it is super, to be after Peder and Henrik is just super. Two superstar horses. I am so happy, it feels so special.”
In a breathtaking display of top sport and entertainement, the Finals of the 2021 Longines Global Champions Tour season hit Samorin for the first time and didn’t disappoint. Set in a stunning indoor arena, the championship race came to its climax under thrilling lights and music creating an electric atmosphere.
Fans filled every space possible in the arena, packing into bustling GC Lounge, grandstands and VIP to catch glimpses of their showjumping heroes. Uliano Vezzani (ITA) produced a masterclass of a course, making full use of the indoor arena. It was a hefty and technichal course that gave the riders plenty to think about.
The battle for the championship was only between Ben Maher (GBR) and Peder Fredricson (SWE). Ben had to go clear to be in the jump-off and have a chance at winning hte LGCT Grand Prix to better his socre in the season rankings. Maher entered the arena feeling confident on one of the best horses in the world right now, Explosion W. With Fredricson watching from the warmup, there was silence as he completed the first par of the course with ease. But the lightest of touches meant his chances of taking a third consecutive championship win were crushed in seconds before two more poles fell, leaving him on 12 penalty-poins and right down the order. That dramatic fence falling crowned Fredricson the 2021 title winner before he had even jumped.
Wanting to end the season on a high, Fredricson was still determined to be in the jump-off on his uber-talented H&M All In. Wearing both the LGCT championship leader and world number one armbands, he flew into the double a little too forward as the crowd gasped and his chance of making the jump-off crumbled. He stopped the clock with 8 penalty-points in total, meaning the crowd wouldn’s be treated to another round from the phenomenal talent tonight.
Knowing that they couldn’t overtake Fredricson, Olivier Robert (FRA) and Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) were fighting it out for a podium position. But it was another two big names to fall short of a place in the jump-off as they both finished with 8 penalty-points and were left waiting to find out their fate.
So it was a day of dreams for the Swedish as it would be the first-ever LGCT Championship for Peder Fredricson and a LGCT Grand Prix of Slovakia CSI 5* win for Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) as he claimed the final ticket to the ultimate showdown in the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix CSI 5* at the GC Prague Playoffs in November 18-21, 2021.
Final Standings – 2021 Longines Global Champions Tour Championship
Place / Rider / Country / Points
1) Peder Fredricson (SWE) – 251
2) Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) – 234
3) Olivier Robert (FRA) – 232
Source: Press Release from LGCT – Longines Global Champions Tour
Photo: © LGCT / Stefano Grasso