Lausanne, Switzerland - September 21, 2012 - It was a thrilling night for the United States as Laura Kraut and Cedric rose to the top of the leader board during the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Switzerland. Kraut left nothing to chance on Saturday night, surpassing the two forerunners of the GCT championship race, Edwina Tops-Alexander and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson. The event proved to be one of the most thrilling Grand Prix of the season.
The class was consisted of two rounds, with the second round timed, and then a demanding jump off. Only six of the 44 entrants were able to make it into the short track where they were faced with a large course designed by Rolf Ludi/Gerard Lachat SUI. The course was comprised of eight obstacles from the original two rounds of competition. It began over a large oxer, and as the timer began to tick, the horse and rider combinations had to move over a vertical and then toward the liverpool set on the inside of the arena. With a hard right rollback, they then moved forward over s single vertical and then made a left rollback to the oxer-vertical shortened combination. Having to utilize the space of the ring, riders then moved their agile mounts forward over the final two oxer obstacles to break the beam in the time allowed of 56 seconds.
It was Laura Kraut who emerged victorious with the 14-year-old grey gelding Cedric, owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, winning the first-ever Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Switzerland. Laura admitted she was "over the moon" and the jump off had a nail biting twist with Australian rider Tops-Alexander facing a tough challenge for the No.1 ranking spot from Swedish rider Rolf.
Rolf posted a smooth round in the jump off with his champion horse Casall La Silla, tripping the timers in 45.37 seconds. The pressure was on as Tops-Alexander returned for the jump off as the next in the order, and was determined to tackle the track. Although she posted an outstanding time of 44.21 seconds aboard Cevo Itot du Château, an unfortunate rail earned the pair the third place position.
Kraut was nothing short of dazzling as she erupted from the in gate in a blaze of speed. Cedric seemed to be on fire Saturday-turning so adeptly and seemingly flying over each obstacle with ease. The duo made a brilliant turn to the double combination, slicing the seconds and putting the audience into a frenzy of anticipation as they cleared each consecutive obstacle. They captured the first place finish in a time of 42.53 seconds-the fastest time of the night, as well as one of only two riders to go clear throughout all three rounds.
"I am in absolute shock," Kraut described after the victory gallop and award presentation. "My horse was fantastic tonight. I was terrified going out there, but he did great, we had the help of Richard Spooner who was on the sidelines, he sort of gave me the blueprints to go."
Kraut continued, "He feels younger than ever, which is great since he is 14 years old. He was wild today, when he's feeling good I want to take advantage of it."
Owner Margaret Duprey was able to be in attendance for the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Switzerland. It was a very exciting event for Team Cherry Knoll Farm as they watched the exhilarating victory unfold. Kraut will compete in the Global Champions Tour in Vienna, Austria this week, with competition beginning today. To stay informed about the dynamic duo's results, please visit http://www.globalchampionstour.com/events/.
Photo Credit: Laura Kraut and Cherry Knoll Farm's Cedric set a blazing time of 42.53 seconds, riding to the victory in the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Switzerland; Laura Kraut and Cedric lead the victory gallop at the GCT Grand Prix of Switzerland. Photos By: SportFot/GCT.