World No. 1 Scott Brash was victorious for the second night in a row on Miami Beach on Saturday evening, as he galloped away with the inaugural Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix title aboard Hello Sanctos. This was the two-time Longines GCT Champ’s fifth Grand Prix win in the last three seasons as he continues to dominate the Tour in spectacular fashion. Brash is part of the Connolly’s RED MILLS team of brand ambassadors, which also includes Ireland’s Denis Lynch who finished twelfth after also making the jump-off with Ho Go van de Padenborre.
Bassem Hassan Mohammed (QAT) and his relatively new ride Palloubet D Halong put in the performance of their young partnership to take Silver, while 2014 Longines GCT of Shanghai Grand Prix winner Pieter Devos (BEL) and Candy finished with a worthy Bronze medal. From the VIP Lounge, Michael Bloomberg, Bruce Springsteen, HE Sheikh Joaan Al Thani and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine watched world-class sport at it’s very best.
Equestrian Formula 1
Speaking from the VIP Hospitality Lounge Mr. Bloomberg said: "I think this is a wonderful thing for Miami and for the economy of Miami. This could become like the Formula 1 is to Monaco and places like that not just the people who come to watch the show, the people who support it, the people who work in the hotels where we all stay, the restaurants. It is amazing the hard work that goes into this."
As official feed supplier to LGCT Miami, Connolly’s RED MILLS shipped over eight tonnes of their high quality feed to the spectacular location for the first Global Tour event of the season, with RED MILLS unique NFMSTM packaging technology allowing these World-class competitors to keep their horses on a consistent diet regardless of country or climate.
Having claimed a strong victory with his new mount Hello Forever in yesterday’s 42nd American Invitational, Scott Brash went into the Grand Prix a firm favourite, but facing hot competition from a stellar line-up of world-class riders from around the globe. The first round of the Grand Prix was a testing and technical course which caught out many an experienced combination. The tight, awkward distances, tall uprights and sharp corners demanded precision, control and power. There were no clear bogey fences, though an airy vertical on a dog-leg following the Longines combination claimed many.
Of the 50 Grand Prix starters, 12 clears proceeded to the 2nd round, including Katie Dinan (USA) and Stakorado, Margie Goldstein-Engle (USA) and Royce, Denis Lynch (IRE) and Ho Go van de Padenborre, Luciana Diniz (POR) and Apollonia, Beezie Madden (USA) and Simon, Kent Farrington (USA) and Voyeur, and Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Rosana du Park.
The top 18 riders came back to try their talents against another Uliano Vezzani course, including four on 4 faults. The U.S. had a strong showing with seven riders going through to the next round. All eyes were on Scott Brash and his 2012 Olympic mount as the combinations came back for their next test against the course.
The second round saw an early clear from Laura Kraut (USA) and Nouvelle carrying four faults from the first round. But subsequent clean rounds were few and far between until Bassem Mohammed and Palloubet D Halong notched up the first double clear. The course was twisty and with many turns, requiring immense control, with big oxers demanding scope and care.
Beezie Madden and Simon agonisingly lowered the final fence, but were swiftly followed by reigning European Champion Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) and Nippon d’Elle who were the second double clear. It wasn’t until near the end of the first round that Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos joined Bosty and Bassem in the final showdown - the combination looked on cracking form from the very beginning.
Bassem set the standard first to go in the jump-off, clear in a time of 39.74s. Second to go, Bosty risked a tight turn back to a tall upright and picked up a refusal, leaving him in 4th place. Scott Brash knew what he had to do and executed his plan with foot-perfect precision to stop the clock in 38.57s. Last to go, Pieter Devos pushed his mare, recently returned from a long break from competition, but lowered an early fence in the tricky jump-off course leaving Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos once more unbeatable.
Scott will be back in action in Antwerp in a few weeks once again hot on the trail on the Longines GCT Championship, which if he wins once again this season, will be his 3rd in a row - a truly incredible feat.