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Rome Gladiators Fight to 1st Place Finish at GCL Miami

©Stefano Grasso/LGCT

“I think somebody had an idea this might happen. It wasn’t me,” smiled Laura Kraut (USA) in the winners’ interview for the Global Champions League Miami.

Kraut’s team, the Rome Gladiators, finished on a team score of 8 to take the win in the second leg of the 2024 GCL season. No one was more surprised than Kraut.

“I didn’t expect that result. We had 8 faults heading into the second round, I’m on a young horse,” she continued. “We thought maybe we would finish in the top six.”

Kraut had every reason to have doubts. Her mount, Bisquetta, has jumped just 14 rounds at 1.60m in competition—ever. The promising 10-year-old mare has 29% clear round and 4.7 fault averages at the height (Jumpr).

If an inexperienced mount wasn’t reason enough, three teams finished the first round on a clean sheet—New York Empire, Prague Lions and last year’s champions Riesenbeck International. Rome Gladiators, on the other hand, were tied in ninth spot and starring down a long climb after a clear from Michael Duffy (IRL) and Claptonn Mouche and an 8 on the score board from Lorenzo de Luca (ITL) and Denver de Talma in Round 1.

Strategy reigns supreme in the Global Champions League. Fourteen teams compete with two riders each over two 1.60m rounds. Teams have the option of bringing in fresh riders and horses for the second round or sticking with the same pairs throughout.

Rome Gladiators swapped Duffy for Kraut for the second half and she delivered, leading the team off with a clear. de Luca did double duty, returning with a fresh mount in Cappuccino 194 and also left all the poles in place. His inspiration: his American counterpart.

“I mean I looked at Laura and when you see Laura riding, it’s just amazing. She gives you so much energy,” said de Luca, prompting a slap to the chest by a disbelieving Kraut.

“It’s true!” he retorted.

“And Cappuccino jumped amazing as always.”

After an agonizing eight-team weight, Rome Gladiators proved to be the only team find a double clear in the Round 2.

Prague Lions took the runners up spot. Stockholm Hearts took third.

With their win in Miami, Rome Gladiators are now tied in the GCL team leaderboard with Doha’s winners Cannes Stars on 44 points. Mexico Amigos drop down one place to third on 42 points while Prague Lions and Stockholm Hearts are fourth and fifth both on 40 points.

The GCL next heads to Mexico City April 11–14.

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