Forget everything you read about the GCL Super Cup yesterday.
If Thursday was dramatic, it paled in comparison to Friday as the stakes and fences went up in the GCL Super Cup Semi Final at the Prague Playoffs.
Shanghai’s Swan Song
The evening’s most shocking elimination came from Thursday’s Quarter Final winners, Shanghai Swans, who put paid to their GCL Super Cup hopes on Friday. And it was plot twist to the last.
With Martin Fuchs and Commisar Pezi on eight, Max Kühner on Elektric Blue P delivering a clear and 2022 GCL Super Grand Prix champions Daniel Deusser and Scuderia 1918 Tobazo Z still to come, the Swans looked like a shoo-in to Sunday’s final. Then the wheels came off.
Deusser and his veteran partner—a pair that has logged 43 career podium finishes and earned some €2.67 million in prize money—wracked up an unheard of 21 faults over the 1.60m track. This from a pair that averages just 2.10 faults over 78 rounds at the height (Jumpr App.)
The team finished on 29 faults—just one fault behind the Prague Lions to fall below the top six cut line and out of Sunday’s final. Ouch!
Prague Lions live to fight another day
The crowd was on the home team’s side. The fences weren’t for Fernando Martinez Sommer and Cor Bakker. The pair got the Prague Lions off to a nerve-racking start with a 24 fault performance. Niels Brynseels with Delux van T&L turned the ship around around when they delivered the first clear of the day.
“Fernando was unlucky, I feel really sorry for him. After that we thought qualifying for the GCL Super Cup Final was not possible anymore. As I came into the ring, the crowd pushed me to an unbelievable performance,” said Bruynseels.
Pieter Devos and Mom’s Toupie de la Roque kept the momentum, collecting just a single rail to put the the team on the cusp of qualification. Lady luck decided in their favor. In a repeat of Thursday’s Quarter Final, Prague Lions scraped through to advance to the next round.
MVP goes to Mark Mcauley
The ride of the night came from Mark Mcauley and GRS Lady Amaro who kicked Madrid In Motion off to an epic start with a picture and foot perfect clear.
“It was just one of those rounds where I hit every jump the way I wanted to,” Mcauley told GCTV. “The mare was giving everything so I could ride confidently, I didn’t have to worry about Sunday. I just had to concentrate on on on my plan and stick to it.“
U25 rider Jack Whitaker with Equine America Q Pavaratti N were flawless until the final two fences, adding 8 faults to the team score. Anchor Maikel van der Vleuten and 2023 GCL Horse of the Year, Beauville Z N.O.P, delivered with a fast clear to move Madrid into the lead and pole position on Sunday.
And then there were six…
With cricket score numbers on the leaderboards for Scandivanvian Vikings, Stockholm Hearts, Istanbul Warriors, and Riyadh Blue and a team elimination for Monaco Aces, the starting field is cut in half after Friday’s Semi Final.
Madrid In Motion, Paris Panthers, St Tropez Pirates, Riesenbeck International, Valkenswaard United and St Tropez Pirates advance to Sunday’s GCL Super Cup Final.
The Prague Playoffs continue tomorrow with 1.65m Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix and culminates with Sunday’s GCL Super Cup Final. Catch all the action on GCTV.