A 12-rider jump off topped off a dramatic finale as Rolf-Göran Bengtsson clinched victory in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix with his formidable stallion Casall Ask.
The third edition of the Tour in London was a feast of intensity and exceptional sporting action delivering split second drama for the 11th leg of the championship race with World No1 Scott Brash now at the top of the overall series ranking.
Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) took his first win of the season with the ever-consistent Casall Ask, racing against the clock to come home in 34.91seconds. The calibre of riders was so high and the final round so intense, that John Whitaker (GBR) came just 8 hundredths of a second off the winning time, with his stallion Argento spurred home by the cheers of the local crowd. France’s Simon Delestre rode his beautiful black stallion Qlassic Bois Margot to third around the big, technical course which featured some of the 2012 London Olympic fences including No10 Downing Street and the Post Office.
Rolf-Göran Bengtsson – Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of London presented by Qatar winner: “My horse has proved that he is in good form. He jumped six times this season and every six time he was in the second round, so I can not be more than very happy with him. It’s a pleasure for me to win here in London, I will try my best for the rest of the championship but as Jan said, I have still one more score to count. Scott is far away with 3 wins this season so far, so it’s going to be hard to bit him. When there is a jump-off, you know that you have to be very quick, so I did my best but I knew that Scott and Hello Sanctos were able to go very quickly. John was very very close, Scott was super fast but Casall ASK and me were very lucky today. The horses are jumping fantastic here. For the horses it’s good, for the riders it’s good here, we have good footing, very good course designer, we cannot wish for much more from our point of view.”
John Whitaker – Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of London presented by Qatar second place: “Argento is on very good form and I think I’m on quite good form! It’s good, I’m enjoying it, my horse jumped great today, I just couldn’t catch Rolf, he was too quick. I wasn’t far away, I think my second last fence I was a bit untidy there, I could have done one less stride, but he was a little bit excited by that point and even going through the finish I I’d have turned right I would have saved those few hundredths. But I can’t complain, my horse jumped super and it’s nice to win but I’m happy with where I’ve come.”
It was a quintessentially British event in a glorious country setting on the edge of London, in the beautiful Syon Park. The Grand Prix took place under blue skies with spectators and guests enjoying a stunning afternoon of world class sport in the fantastic Capability Brown landscaped grounds of Syon House.
Next to the River Thames and world famous Kew Gardens, the London stage of the Tour brought British show jumping fans close to their idols including Scott Brash, Ben Maher and John Whitaker. Around 500 guests enjoyed first class VIP hospitality with ringside seats giving great views of the high calibre competition.