Kent Farrington and Voyeur Seize World Class Victory in Hamburg

US star rider Kent Farrington seized a dramatic victory against a world class field at the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix presented by H&M. Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT
US star rider Kent Farrington seized a dramatic victory against a world class field at the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix presented by H&M. Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT

The American champion’s defiant win at the famous grass arena in Hamburg shook up the overall championship ranking after Leg 5 and left Luciana Diniz in No1 spot. Kent described his win as “fantastic” and he has shot up to No4 in the ranking.

The Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix presented by H&M was a world class show jumping feast with the winner collecting €99,000 in prize money out of a total €300,000 purse.

An extremely tough first round course by Frank Rothenberger saw top combinations drop out of the running including Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos, who were consequently knocked off the top of the ranking by Luciana. In the first round it was the double combination with two tricky and delicate verticals that caused most of the headaches.

Despite the difficulty level there were some forceful clear rounds including Kent, Pius Schwizer and Amira, Hans-Dieter Dreher and Embassy II, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Casall, Nicola Philippaerts on H&M Forever D Arco Ter Linden, Philipp Weishaupt on Chico and local girl Janne-Friederike Meyer on Goja exciting the home crowd. All fought through to the jump off with impressive double clear rounds.

Tens of thousands of fans crammed into the grandstands and took up every inch of hte Derby grass banks to watch the highest level of show jumping in the world today.

The pressure was on H&M team rider Nicola Philippaerts but the young star delivered his third clear round of the Grand Prix finishing in 50.96. Philipp Weishaupt hit the accelerator on Chico, the 10-year-old bay is at home on the big grassy arena, and came home in 49.22. Swedish champion Rolf executed a stylish clear on his champion stallion Casall but finished in 50.11.

H&M rider Nicola Philippaerts en route to a fantastic fourth position in the H&M sponsored Longines Global Champions Tour of Hamburg Grand Prix.  Photo: Stefano Grass/LGCT
H&M rider Nicola Philippaerts en route to a fantastic fourth position in the H&M sponsored Longines Global Champions Tour of Hamburg Grand Prix. Photo: Stefano Grass/LGCT

After Hans-Dieter Dreher had 4 faults the pressure was on for the three remaining riders.

Kent Farrington took no prisoners and, fresh from successes at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Shanghai, he galloped home in 48.97. Popular home rider Janne-Friederike Meyer gave it her best shot but could not beat Kent’s time and finished in 51.34.

Luciana is now top of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Hamburg ranking with  125 points as the circuit moves to the 6th Leg in Cannes from 11th - 13th June. Pius Schwizer is hot on her heels on 110 points, Scott Brash is in third on 105 points and Kent Farrington moves into 4th postiion on 92 points setting up a clash of the titans of show jumping on the French Riviera.

Press Conference
Kent Farrington, Longines Global Champions Tour of Hamburg Grand Prix presented by H&M Winner

Q: Kent Farrington, we saw a high class competition here, is this your first time in Hamburg?
It’s been a fantastic show, it’s got an Aachen feel to it with great show jumping and a great crowd.

Q: Tell us about Voyeur?
I started working with my horse about three years ago, he’s got a lots of blood, he’s a very highly strung horse and he’s naturally very fast and with a spectacular canter. These kind of fields really really suit him when I can gallop and he has speed.

Q: What did you think about the competition?
These shows always have the best riders and the top horses so it’s always a difficult competition at a Global Champions Tour event. Here in Germany I found the first round to be pretty big and difficult, the last line being a double of verticals, that’s always hard to jump, particularly at the end of a course.

Q: You have climbed up the ranking from number 30 to number 4 after the 4th leg in Shanghai, the Longines Global Champions Tour provides a lot of opportunities?
Now I am number 4 it certainly sounds better than number 30 so if I can keep improving like that then that’s great and hopefully I will have some more luck with the rest of the Global shows. Winning is always great, we’re all competitors, that’s why we’re here. All of us have a fantastic life doing what we love, working with horses.

Philipp Weishaupt, Longines Global Champions Tour of Hamburg Grand Prix presented by H&M, 2nd place

Q: I suppose it’s the first times this year that you’ve ridden at the Longines Global Champions Tour event?
Yes its my first time this year at the Global Champions Tour, I’m ranked about 500 so I’m only 470 spots away from going back into the Global Champions Tour, no but it’s super fun to be here, of course with Chico it’s much easier in a big grass field here in Hamburg than it is in a small arena. He loves the grass fields anyway like Kent. I’m really really happy with how he’s gone here, I can’t ask anything more from him, he jumped three really good clear rounds, I don’t think he touched a single pole in the ring today and to be beaten by Kent Farrington on Voyeur is not total shame, so I’m actually really really happy how everything went.

Q: The owner and breeder (Madeleine Winter-Shulze) is here, did you speak to her as I know she’s been nervous?
Yes, she came after the jump off directly to the warm up ring. She tried to speak but she couldn’t really because she was crying. It’s one thing when you buy a horse and you own it, it’s great, but when you breed a horse, and have it the whole way, she has been with him from the young horse classes as a four year old and now the whole way up to be in Hamburg for the Global Champions Tour amongst these riders, for sure it’s really great for her and I’m really happy for her.

Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, Longines Global Champions Tour of Hamburg Grand Prix presented by H&M, 3rd place

Q: A lot of breeders are around, Casall Ask is a breeding stallion, did you recognise that there are lots of breeders here?
Yes there are many breeders coming her to enjoy this nice show and it is important for a breeding stallion that they do well here. Casall has got a fantastic record here, I think he has started five times and been in the second round every time. He’s an amazing horse, he just keeps doing it and he likes the place and enjoys to be here.

Q: You made the decision to concentrate on Longines Global Champions Tour shows this year?
Yes we decided with his age that we would select his shows and not do too many, resting him a little bit and I follow the Global Champions Tour as much as I can with him without doing too much, but he likes it and he’s jumping good with his age.

Q: And I think you enjoy it too?
Yes, it’s not so much the difference between the riders here, everyone tries to go as fast as they can, it’s more a difference between the super horses and to be in the top three is very good.

Jan Tops, President and Founder of the Longines Global Champions Tour

Q: 47 riders from 21 different nations competed in this class. Hamburg has been the 5th stage, Miami Beach and Shanghai were marvellous, what is unique about Hamburg?
Hamburg is unique because of the public, they are very knowledgeable people, it’s the heart of the breeding of the world, the people they relate to the horses, they have the most knowledge. It’s amazing to see, with the prizegiving, that people stay there. Also for us it’s important, not only to be in the old traditional countries, but also to be in countries like China, it’s important for the future. We haven’t been in America for 10 years, that’s why it was very important for us to be in Miami the first time after 10 years, the people really enjoyed it, it was a great show. The Global Champions Tour is known for all it’s shows being different. We have this beautiful grass arena, the big size is unique, we have also small arenas, jumping day and night and the kind of riders that win these competitions are special anyway and to win all of these will produce the real champion of the year.

Q: Are the different locations a key ideal for the development of the sport?
Of course, we have to be global, it’s important that we are also in other countries, they see that the top riders are there, I think that is very important. I want to thank Longines and also our new sponsor for the Grand Prix, H&M, it’s very important for us to have these kind of big companies involved and I want to thank them for being here with us.

Volker Wulff, Hamburg Show Organiser

Q: It was great news that H&M would come in as presenting sponsor of the Grand Prix?
Yes, it’s always good to have all the sponsors at the show but this was very special as we hadn’t had a title sponsor for the Grand Prix for years and H&M is very well known in the equestrian sport outside of Germany. It’s great and we hope we can keep them for a long time.

Q: The famous old Derby runs alongside the Longines Global Champions Tour and seems to work perfectly?
I guess it’s an almost perfect combination, I remember Jan’s first year he came and said where else in the world can you see one day the best riders jumping and the next day the most difficult class in the world in this sport and that’s it. Of course the days are still growing spectator wise, we’ve never had so many spectators over three days than we’ve had this year and I guess that’s a combination of the top sport on Saturday afternoon and specialists for the Derby on Sunday afternoon and we have very good qualifying classes that are an attractive afternoon of sport. Hopefully we can go for a few more years in this way.

Luciana Diniz, Longines Global Champions Tour ranking leader

Q: Does leading the ranking mean all the other riders put pressure on you?
First of all I want to say what Kent said before about the fantastic destination, we are very lucky to be doing what we love, we love the horses, they are our life, and I must say I want to thank my whole team, they are there, Edouard (de Rothschild), the owner of Winningmood, even my whole team from at home, my ladies team, my son, they give me support and inspiration to be here and as I said, I am in a very happy position right now, I have lovely horses, I have lovely people around me and I do what I love, so it’s just great.

Q: We saw you very happy winning the 5* class yesterday and now you top the ranking, what is the next goal?
Again, it’s a process, we are everyday in a different place, in a different city, every show is different and a fresh situation and we are going to try to do our best in all of them, that is my goal for the future.

Questions:
Q: For Jan Tops, do you have any new information about the team competition you are planning?

Jan Tops: It is still in the process and I think in the next couple of months we will know more. We are still aiming to go ahead next year.

Volker Wulff: I would appreciate if it could happen next year.




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