Samantha McIntosh has had the best of starts in Rome for the Longines Global Championship Tour. Riding Lady Gaga 18, she has finished third in the CSI5* 1.45m class.
Fresh from the Rio Olympic Games, Maikel van der Vleuten (Netherlands) delivered a perfect round to take the win with the scopey VDL Groep Quatro in the two-phase competition which saw many of the world’s best flex their muscles for the first time this weekend.
Young Dutch talent Kevin Jochems riding Quppydam des Horts, crossing the line in 27.43s, then David Will and his fiery chestnut Mic Mac du Tillard galloped round, stopping the clock almost a full second faster.
Sam and Lady Gaga 18 put in a strong performance, though were unable to better David’s time, but it was Maikel and Quatro who stole the opening show, finishing just tenths of a second faster.
In the day’s other class (1.50-1.55), world Number 3 Simon Delestre (FRA) repeated history with a stunning win on his super-sensitive chestnut gelding, Chesall Zimequest, against a field of 44. The pair won the same class last year, and triumphed this time in an eight-horse jump-off.
Uliano Vezzani’s course was fair but thought-provoking and time was a big factor in the overall results. Denis Lynch (IRL) lulled spectators and fellow competitors into a false sense of security, with his long-striding All Star 5 eating up the track.
Samantha, riding Check In 2, had nine faults in this round, but seven riders joined Denis in the jump-off including local heroes, Piergiorgio Bucci with Cuarta and Juan Carlos Garcia with Cocodrillo.
But it was Simon Delestre and Chesall Zimequest who were lightning-fast against the clock, the feisty Chesall living up to his reputation as being one of the speediest jump-off horses in the world and stopping the clock in 35.35s.