Home hero Ahlmann dominates in Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Hamburg
Christian Ahlmann today secured his place in the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix after a spectacular home win in Hamburg, Germany with his top stallion Dominator 2000 Z. Packed grandstands witnessed the local hero finish just ahead of young talent Michael Pender with HHS Calais and Andre Thieme on DSP Chakaria meaning for the second time this season riders finished joint second after stopping the clock in the exact same time of 51.33s.
The German master declared he achieved ‘One of the biggest goals of the year’ by winning his golden ticket to the LGCT Super Grand Prix. Ahlmann also takes over as ranking leader in the 2022 Championship race with 119 points while Pieter Devos drops to second place on the same number of points as Ahlmann but fewer podiums this year. Niels Bruynseels jumps up to third on 110 points and Gilles Thomas clings on to fourth with 101.
Christian Ahlmann told GCTV: "It’s an amazing win in front of a home crowd. It is a full house even without not so perfect weather, it was an unbelievable feeling today. I know the ring very well and I know Dominator very well, we had our difficulties at the start of this show but today he jumped amazing and he gave everything so we had a perfect day. I was hoping for this golden ticket but I didn’t expect it today."
Thousands of passionate and knowledgeable spectators withstood the rain to watch the world's best perform. The expansive grass arena provided the perfect backdrop for the thrilling finish to the LGCT Hamburg weekend, with families and fans treated to a sensational showdown featuring the very best horses and riders for the sixth leg of the Championship race.
Eight combinations jumped clear around the Frank Rothenberger-designed course to qualify through to the jump-off, five of which were German.
First to tackle the jump-off track was Andre Thieme whose mount DSP Chakaria, put major pressure on the rest of the field as they delivered a smooth clear but Thieme was shaking his head as he walked out of the arena to a standing ovation knowing he hadn’t done quite enough with a time of 51.33s.
Mario Stevens actually looked faster across the ground than Thieme but taking a check to the final fence to play it safe for the double clear cost him a podium position as he stopped the clock in 52s exactly.
Ahlmann’s ride, the 12-year-old Dominator 2000 Z, has been a regular podium placer and is arguably one of most well known showjumping horses in the world and today he was unbeatable. Once Dominator 2000 Z was safely over the tricky Longines double, Ahlmann galloped the rest of the course, trusting the horse to clear the enormous fences at top speed in 50.51s, with the incredible round watched by a delighted home crowd.
The last two German hopes Gerrit Nieberg on Blues D'Aveline CH and the famous Marcus Ehning and his speedy Stargold both had an early pole but neither of them would have made the time to beat.
U25 rider for the St Tropez Pirates, Michael Pender secured his first LGCT Grand Prix podium and the best result of his career with the super HHS Calais. With the owners stood watching on the kiss and cry Pender did everything he could to squeeze all the speed out of the big scopey horse. He crossed the finish line in the exact same time as Thieme to share the second place spot on the podium.
It wasn’t to be for Johnny Pals on Charley or Niels Bruynseels with Cristel who were the last two combinations to tackle the testing track both picking up faults and finishing outside of the top 5 today but picking up valuable ranking points for the hot Championship race.
So it would be Ahlmann’s day, with the flying German sealing the victory and a golden ticket to the GC Prague Playoffs where he will contest the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix. Alongside him is an already stellar line-up of Ludger Beerbaum, Katrin Eckermann, Denis Lynch, Sanne Thijssen and Malin Baryard-Johnsson, with all eyes looking to Round 7 of the Championship race in Cannes next week.