Madrid In Motion were crowned the first-ever GCL Super Cup Champions today after an epic afternoon of sporting drama, unprecedented pressure and historic prize money in one single showjumping competition.
The spectacular podium ceremony saw the three top teams parade into the arena with flaming torches on their parade route and stunning sound and lights shows as the powerful song “Legendary” blared around the arena. Madrid In Motion received beautiful crystal and the GCLSuper Cup Final trophy
On behalf of Madrid In Motion Team Owner Marta Ortega, Alvaro Arrieta Konyay said: “Congratulations for this fantastic show, the best indoor ever. It is unbelievable. We are the Champions.”
It was the ultimate goal all year for GCL teams and today Madrid In Motion faced down phenomenal pressure to emerge victorious after two of the biggest challengers crashed out in major upsets in Round 1 to widespread disbelief. Valkenswaard United finished second on the podium with Paris Panthers in third pace.
Six teams went into the GCL Super Cup Final Round 2 with €6.4 million in total at stake and a whopping €2.74 million for the winners.. It was a turbo-charged story of heartbreak and elation for the teams and their fans.
The atmosphere was electric and the stakes were truly stratospheric. Every stride, every pole, everything would count as they faced another set of power fences from Course Designer Uliano Vezzani in Round 2. Valkenswaard United, runners up all season, were in pole position as the fastest on 8 faults ahead of Madrid In Motion. Paris Panthers were on 16 faults going into Round 2 with Scandinavian Vikings on 24.
The Scandinaviand Vikings were in first and delivered three clear rounds but all with time penalty, including even Christian Ahlmann and Leopold van Asten, putting them on a final total of 27.
The Paris Panthers first man Yuri Mansur went clear with one time penalty with Team Owner Jennifer Gates watching ringside amid unbearable teams. There were hearts in mouths as Gregory Wathelet and MJT Nevados S had 4 faults at the overt the back pole of the double combination oxer. Darragh Kenny followed with another 4 faults at the same fence and a time penalty. The team finished on a total of 26 penalties only one point ahead of the Vikings.
The tension ratcheted up again as Valkenswaard United went eyeball to eyeball with Madrid In Motion both carrying forward 8 faults from Round 1. Marcus Ehning and his punchy stallion Comme Il Faut add four to the team score knocking a pole in the middle of the triple combination. Amazingly he finished bang on the time allowed of 64 seconds. Bertram Allen and his new ride Harley vd. Bisschop produced a stunning clear round. It was down to Alberto Zorzi and Contanga 3 to stay clear but he picked up a costly 4 faults at the troublesome double combination and a time penalty putting the team on a final total of 17.
It was down to Madrid In Motion, entering Round 2 on 8 faults, to seal the win – or lose the Championship.
Marc Houtzager and Sterrehof’s Calimero, ice cool under pressure, punched the air in tremendous relief after a world class clear round with only one time penalty. Maikel van der Vleuten and the 16-year-old superstar Verdi did the business with another clear round but one time penalty. Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Rokfeller stood up to unbelievable pressure with a rock solid round leaving them on a final score of 10 and GCL Super Cup Champions to massive cheers from the crowd.
Earlier in Round 1 there was shock when London Knights, who had dominated and won the 2018 season GCL Championship were eliminated when Ben Maher’s star mount Explosion refused the Longines wall twice. That drama was swiftly followed by elimination for Montreal Diamonds after Jos Verlooy was thrown by his top horse Igor who put in a highly unusual stop.
The GCL concept has attracted new fans and new investors as team owners in the sport. Before today’s final the six qualified teams, out of a total of 19 who started the 2018 season, were celebrated in the dazzling Walk of Champions ceremony in front of a sell-out crowd at the O2 Arena in Prague. On Friday the GCL Super Cup semi finals were a high adrenaline rollercoaster with six teams being relegated and six going through to today’s finals. There was no let up in pressure until the final moment of the Final.
After an amazing four days of top sport at its best and spectacular entertainment featuring special effects not seen in show jumping before, the first edition of the GC Prague Playoffs were declared a “milestone” in the history of the sport.