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And the Oscar Goes To…
Casall ASK. The legendary 18-year-old Holsteiner stallion won the LGCT Grand Prix of Hamburg to shut the book on his phenomenal career. Casall ASK has held a long and prosperous career, having in competed in numerous Olympic Games, FEI World Equestrian Games, LGCT Tours and FEI World Cup™ Finals with exceptional placings and no shortage of wins under his girth.
“It can’t be a better end, that’s for sure. Today, the feeling was the same as if he was 11 years old or 18 years old. The more public there is in the ring, the more he likes it even better,” said Casall’s rider, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson. “To make the retirement of a horse like Casall ASK and to pick the show at our home ground in front of his home crowd is a dream come true, and the horse more than deserves this and many will remember him for many years, including me!”
Spectators waved flags embossed with Casall ASK’s image as he entered the ring, and the stallion received a well-deserved standing ovation in respect and admiration. Emotions were high and tears were rolling later in the evening during his farewell tribute, a celebration of a unique horse that matured into a rare vintage.
Jan Tops, President of LGCT and former trainer of Bengtsson, said, “Casall ASK is an amazing horse, and they are an amazing couple. This is great horsemanship. One of the things I really respect is the way the horse has been looked after. Ten years like that at this level is very rare and won’t happen again.”
That’s a Hollywood ending if I’ve ever seen one.
You Go, Glenn Coco
It’s hard to top a story like that, but Harrie Smolders deserves a nod for snagging the 2nd place position right behind Rolf and Casall ASK. Stallions appeared to be the key to success in this Grand Prix, as Smolders (NED) and Zangersheide stallion Don VHP Z took the second podium position and a solid 66 000€. Smolders upped the pace of 3rd place finisher Christian Ahlmann, and briefly took the lead in 45.13 seconds before being nudged into 2nd.
At least getting pushed out of 1st is a little less heartbreaking when it’s done by Casall ASK in his last Grand Prix. Bittersweet.
Some LGCT fan favourites had a rough go of the course. A surprise eight faults came from Scott Brash (GBR) and Ursula XII, fresh off their Miami Glory victory in the Global Champions League final. Brash’s winning teammate Denis Lynch (IRE) retired RMF Echo after a foot in the water and a rail. Ales Opatrny (CZE) made the sensible decision to retire after his mount Balguero decided the water jump was unnecessary and the USA’s beloved pair Lauren Hough and Ohlala also tipped their hat to save it for another day after an uncharacteristic 3 rails and a foot in the water. Guten Tag!
Miami Gets the Glory in Global Champions League Hamburg Win
In the Global Champions League of Hamburg, it was Team Miami Glory of Scott Brash and Denis Lynch that topped the podium with a fault-free performance. The Chantilly Pegasus of Martin Fuchs and Lauren Hough were close behind to take the 2nd place position and it was Team Doha Fursan Qatar of Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani and Bassem Hassan who took 3rd.
The Hamburg Diamonds, Audrey Coulter and Harrie Smolders, were 5th in Hamburg on home soil but it was enough to nudge Team Valkenswaard United out of the 1st place overall ranking. The Hamburg Diamonds now stand at the top of the rankings, followed by Valkenswaard United and then the St Tropez Pirates. Home court advantage strikes again!
LGCT’s next stop: Cannes, France.