Rome, Italy – September 04, 2022 – It’s never over until Christian Ahlmann (GER) takes to the arena, as he proved once again in the final class of Longines Global Champions Tour of Rome CSI 5* & 2*. Ahlmann and the stunning stallion Solid Gold Z (Stakkato Gold x Calvin Z) blasted away the competition in a sizzling final CSI5* 1.55m class of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Rome.
With a thrilling finish to an incredible three days of show jumping in the iconic venue of the Circus Maximus in the heart of Italy’s capital, Rome, spectators were treated to a masterclass of a jump-off from current Longines Global Champions Tour Championship leader.
With 2022 clearly being his year, German rider Ahlmann was one of only six clear rounds in the final 5* showdown in one of the most iconic locations on the tour. Taking the win by 0.91 seconds from crowd favourite Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) with Harley Davidson (Hip Hop x Calypso III), who beat flying Frenchman, Kevin Staut (FRA) aboard Emir de Moens Harcour ( Urlevent du Bary x Papillon Rouge* Normandie) by only 0.19s.
As the sun lengthened across the picturesque set-up, fans packed the grandstands to witness the final class of LGCT Rome.
Speaking on today’s epic performance Ahlmann smiled: “He is an unbelievable horse, an unbelievable fighter and I’m so pleased everyone can see how special he is. I lost my stirrup so I had to do one or two extra strides than I planned.”
Giving GCTV an insight into the Championship race he added: “For sure I will be in Riyadh, we have our home show the same weekend as New York which is a bit sad. I am still in a good position but it is very very close so I have to do everything I can do and have some luck in the last stage so I am working on that.”
With free entry for passers-by, stands were full of intrigued locals and travelling fans alike, keen to catch the last glimpse of the best horse and riders in the world take to the arena for one last dance.
Winners of yesterday’s Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Rome CSI 5*, Christian Kukuk (GER) thrilled the crowd with what everyone thought would be the winning round. As last to go he was over a second faster than Ahlmann and within touch of back to back wins until the final jump fell collecting four penalty-points, sliding Kukuk and his mount Nice Van’t Zorgvliet into 5th, with a time of 33.98 seconds.
Expertly navigating Uliano Vezzani’s (ITA) final challenge for the weekend was Nina Mallevaey (FRA) aboard her impressive 10-year-old stallion, Cartier SR, resulting in a fourth place finish for the young duo.
Rounding out the jump-off pairings and sliding into sixth place was Irishman Mark McAuley (IRL) aboard his GRS Lady Amaro, who collected four faults at the roll back. With a time of 36.35 seconds, leaving the one pole standing would have had the duo into fourth place.
Other leading riders that were unluckily caught out by questions posed by Vezzani’s course were Pieter Devos (BEL), who incurred one time penalty in the first round, as well as Darragh Kenny (IRL), Dennis Lynch (IRL), Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), Abdel Said (BEL) and Derin Demirsoy (TUR) all incurring 4 penalty-points and keeping them out of the jump off. With all the action from today and the previous two days of elite-level sport at the impressive venue available to watch via GCTV, spectators from around the world can join in watching the top riders battle it out.
The Longines Global Champions Tour now looks to its penultimate stage New York USA onto the impressive Governers Island from 23 – 25 September for the 14th leg of the 2022 race, where its a battle between Ben Maher and Christian Ahlmann (GER) for who will be crowned 2022 Champion of Champions as the race reaches fever pitch.
Final Results – €96,000 LGCT Jump-off Challenge CSI 5*
1) Christian Ahlmann (GER) & Solid Gold Z – 0 / 0 – 35.02
2) Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) & Harley Davidson – 0 / 0 – 35.93
3) Kevin Staut (FRA) & Emir de Moens Harcour– 0 / 0 – 36.12
Source: Press Release from LGCT – Longines Global Champions Tour
Photo: © LGCT / Stefano Grasso