America’s Jessica Springsteen wowed the crowds in the final CSI5* Gaston Glock’s Vienna Masters Prix with her 12 year old bay mare Davendy S. The two round competition saw the world’s top riders take centre stage one final time under the stunning setting of the Rathaus (City Hall) as crowds packed the grandstands to witness the stars of show jumping in action. Home favourite Thomas Frühmann (AUT) came a popular second place and Turkey’s Ömer Karaevli took the final podium place in an electrifying round of competition.
The opening round of the Gaston Glock’s Vienna Masters Prix was far from straightforward, with faults evenly distributed across the 12 fences. Of the 33 starters, only 7 cleared Frank Rothenberger’s typically tough 1.55m course, with the top ten going through to the jump off.
The first to give a faultless display was fourteenth to go Pius Schwizer (SUI) and the 11 year old Chap who rode a spectacular round to the delight of the crowd. Others tried, and failed, to join him until Jessica Springsteen entered the ring with Davendy S, who jumped her heart out and put them at the top of the timesheet for this tough course.
Kamal Abdullah Bahamdan (KSA) and the fantastic Noblesse des Tess and Simon Delestre (FRA) with the on-form Chesall, a winner at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Rome speed class last week, were the next to qualify for the second round with zero faults. The Viennese crowd erupted in cheers as the legendary Austrian rider Thomas Frühmann entered the purpose built arena with firm favourite, The Sixth Sense, now 19 years of age. The pair rode a faultless first round, cementing their place in the jump off and raising the bar of the competition.
Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) and Ömer Karaevli (TUR) added their names to the list in contention for this prestigious trophy, the concluding event of what has been a spectacular four days at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Vienna.
First to go in the shortened jump off course was Germany’s Daniel Deusser with his black mare Pironella. He started the course with four faults from the first round, but he picked up a further eight penalties, finishing with a combined total of 12, and showing just how tough the second round was.
Second into the arena was Glock rider Gerco Schröder (NED) and Glock’s Zaranza. They completed the first clear of the second round to finish on his first round score of four penalties with a time of 37.56s in the competition whereby a combination and faults and time across the two rounds would determine the winner. Likewise, Kevin Staut (FRA), fresh from his podium finish in last night’s Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Vienna presented by LGT Private Banking, followed with a speedy clear in a time of 37.43s, finishing on his first round score of four faults and taking the lead in the early stages of the jump off.
The first to notch up the all important double clear was Ömer Karaevli (TUR) and Dadjak Ter Puttenen, who clocked a time of 41.33s, however this lead was not to last long with local Thomas Frühmann (AUT) in a determined mood. The crowd held their breath as he and The Sixth Sense galloped their way through the course with flair to finish with a clear in 36.21s. As he crossed the line the crowd’s roar of approval resonated around the stunning City Hall architecture and he was clearly delighted with his impressive performance.
However, it was Jessica Springsteen (USA) who had the final say, as she entered the ring as the penultimate rider. With all the talent and bravery she has showcased on the Tour so far, she and Davendy S jumped a brilliant clear in an exceptional time of 35.19 to take the trophy. Only Pius Schwizer (SUI) could change the order, but an unlucky fence down meant that the young American took another win to add to her collection of speed class titles.
The Tour now looks to Doha and the final event of the 2015 season. Once again the stunning stage of Al Shaqab will witness a show jumping cliffhanger with only ten points separating the top three riders as they stake their claim on the championship title in November.