Christian Ahlmann Wins Grand Prix as Longines Global Champions Tour and Hamburg Sign New Deal

World No. 1 Christian Ahlmann celebrated a “fantastic” victory on home turf in Hamburg today on Codex One winning a nail-biting jump off winning the second Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of the 2013 series.

Ahlmann outpaced a stunning field of the world’s best riders and horses taking the honours for the second Grand Prix of the championship series and was full of praise for his “special” stallion. With 40 points under his belt, world No1 Ahlmann looks a formidable force this season and shaved seconds off the times of runners up Daniel Deusser and Roger-Yves Bost.

The result catapulted Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer to the top of the ranking board following strong performances in both the first leg in Madrid and in Hamburg this weekend where he finished 10th in the Grand Prix. The battle for the championship will hot up again next weekend at the third leg in Wiesbaden, Germany.

The second Grand Prix of the new Title Partnership with Swiss watchmaker Longines attracted tens of thousands of spectators to the famous Hamburg Derby arena. Longines Global Champions Tour President Jan Tops and Hamburg Show Director Volker Wulff today signed a new long-term contract which will see the partnership continue until 2018. 

The high octane sporting action will be broadcast tonight on Eurosport channels. See the full Grand Prix report and Press Conference below and watch the highlights

First Round Report

In the first round of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Hamburg we saw a total of 44 horse and rider combinations Ukraine’s Olympic rider Katharina Offel was the first to jump clear in the first round on her 10-year-old Pour Le Poussage. The German-born rider performed well in the 2012 season winning the final Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi with Fiji Island. 

Local rider Janne-Friederike Meyer was the second to go clear aboard her 15-year-old stallion Cellagon Lambrasco. Fellow German rider Daniel Deusser won enthusiastic applause from the big crowd for his clear on Cornet D’Amour. 

Some of the world’s top riders were caught out by the difficult final double combination in the first round. Both Roger-Yves Bost and Germany’s Marcus Ehning finished with very quick 4 faults scores, just before World Ranking No1 rider Christian Ahlmann completed a textboox round aboard the small but capable bay stallion Codex One. Disappointing final 4 faults for talented Philipp Weishaupt who would have earned a clear round for Germany but fell victim to the tricky double at the end of the Frank Rothenberger-designed course.

Hans-Dieter Dreher, who won the Chantilly Grand Prix in 2012, jumped the fastest of the clear rounds with his competent stallion Magnus Romeo. Olympic gold medallist Steve Guerdat was going strong until the Longines triple combination and also had a dramatic foot in the water. Two-time season winner Edwina Tops-Alexander completed an efficient round but on four faults with the legendary Cevo Itot du Chateau.The strong Dutch combination Gerco Schröder and the chestnut Belgian-bred stallion London jumped a powerful clear making the big course look very easy.  Michael Whitaker, who was ranking leader after winning the first Grand Prix in Madrid last weekend on Viking, elected to retire after a few early faults GIG Amai. Swiss rider Pius Schwizer was the last clear of the first round on Verdi III with Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, who finished second overall last season, picking up 4 faults but fast enought to earn a place in the second round.

18 of the world’s best riders were through to the 2nd round with eight clear rounds – four of which were delivered by German riders.

Second Round Report

Germany’s Meredith Michael-Beerbaum had the pressure as first to go with 4 faults from the 1st round on Bella Donna and clocked up 4 faults along with Luciana Diniz, Maikel van der Vleuten and Gregory Wathelet. France’s leading rider Kevin Staut jumped an excellent round aboard Quismy des Vaux, only nine years old, followed by Qatari rider Bassem Mohammed with a super clear on Victoria.

Edwina Tops-Alexander delivered a smooth clear on Itot but carried forward 4 faults from the 1st round. Harrie Smolders and Marcus Ehning picked up more faults than they would have wanted while Rolf-Goran Bengtsson jumped clear for Sweden. Daniel Deusser was the first to deliver a double clear to the delight of tens of thousands of spectators at the Hamburg arena. Frenchman Roger-Yves Bost followed suit on Nippon d’Elle to ensure a jump off. Christian Ahlmann made sure three top riders were in the jump off. Katharina Offel was lucky at the Longines double and popular local Janne-Friederike Meyer and Lambrasco secured rounded off five combinations for the jump off. Pius Schwizer, Gerco Schröder were all disappointed clocking up 4 faults on the scoreboard.

Jump Off

First to go was Germany’s Janne Friederike Meyer who delivered the first triple clear in a time of 52.65 seconds, but would her time be fast enough to hold the lead? Thirty-year-old German talent Daniel Deusser was next in galloping to the lead with a super time. Daniel and Cornet earned a super competitive jump off time of 50.25 seconds showing great potential as a top international combination. 

France’s Roger-Yves Bost on the powerful stallion Nippon d”Elle took a more conservative approach finishing with a time of 52.25 second which would be good enough for 2nd place at that point.

Longines World No1 Christian Ahlmann looked determined to take the lead as he piloted Codex One to a tremendous triple clear in a very fast time of 49.33 second pushing them into the lead with only one rider left to go. Ukraine’s leading rider Katharina Offel had 4 faults at the far oxer next to the VIP double decker handing the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Hamburg to Christian.

Press Conference

Christian Ahlmann – Winner

It felt fantastic. I had a really great day today. Codex One did an amazing job in the three rounds. He really showed everybody how special he is. In the jump off I took a lot of risks. I was in a position to see Daniel (Deusser) and it was clear I had to take the last risk. Today was my lucky day. I will try to compete the whole season (of the Longines Global Champions Tour) as much as possible.

Daniel Deusser – Second Place

I was second to go in the jump off. I did everything possible in that moment. I new Christian Ahlmann was behind me and he is always really fast. I did my best and in the end it was just not fast enough. 

Roger-Yves Bost – Third Place

My horse is not very fast and I tried to take it faster. Nippon jumped the last three good. I will try to make it to the maximum (Longines Global Champions Tour events).

Pius Schwizer  – New Ranking Leader

I am really satisfied with my horse and the competitions in Madrid and Hamburg. Christian did the fastest round but there were a lot of fast riders. I will be going to the Longines Global Champions Tour in London and other stages.

Jan Tops, President Longines Global Champions Tour

It is fantastic to have Longines as our partner in a long-term commitment for many years. We want to grow our sport and we need sponsors like this. Longines is a great, prestige brand to be associated with and they already have a long history in our sport and in racing. Asked about the mixture of tradtional shows like Hamburg and modern new venues like London, Doha and Shanghai, Jan Tops said: “I think it is important to be diverse. For the riders and horses it means you can be good in all kinds of arenas big and small, sand and grass, day and night. We all love traditional arenas like Hamburg, very professional with big crowds and the horses jumped great here.

Volker Wulff – Hamburg Show Director

With the Longines Global Champions Tour we have the guarantee to get the best riders. We get more crowds and more TV exposure. The traditional Derby and the modern Longines Global Champions Tour. We have the right way for the future.