Christian Ahlmann put in a textbook double-clear to win the Longines World Cup Qualifier in Madrid today aboard Taloubet Z. The German is on a hot-streak, this being his second big win in just two weeks after taking the top spot in Stuttgart last week with Codex One.

Javier Trenor’s 12-fence course proved challenging throughout. With four 1.60m verticals and a triple combination that left no room for error, no part of the course was safe. In the field of 40, just 5 went clear – but there were an unbelievable twenty-four 4-fault rounds, which made speed a factor in the battle for World Cup points.

The day’s first clear came 10th in the line-up when Colombia’s Carlos Lopez and Prince de la Mare landed faultless at the last, the duo looking to defend their title from last year’s win. Also clear were Pieter Devos, Henrik Von Eckermann, Marco Kutscher, and Christian Ahlmann.

Carlos Lopez Nearly Defended His Title in Madrid. Photo: FEI, Herve Bonnaud

Carlos Lopez Nearly Defended His Title in Madrid. Photo: FEI, Herve Bonnaud

It was evident from the first fence that Lopez was gunning for a win, he and Prince de la Mare making hairpin turns throughout the 8-effort jump-off. Their turn to the 4th, a 1.60m FEI World Cup vertical left spectators agape as the 12 year-old Selle Francais made a massive effort to clear the rails. The pair clocked in clear and fast at 41.37 seconds.

Devos and Dream of India Greenfield went 2nd, besting Lopez’s time with 41.42 but an unfortunate 4 faults at the double combination kept them from the top podium spot. Von Eckermann and Kutscher each had 4 faults at the first fence, both riders coming in too deep to a stout, square oxer leaving their mounts unable to clear the first rail cleanly.

Christian Ahlmann and the 15 year-old stallion Taloubet Z showed their veteran status in the jump-off (the pair were champions at the 2011 World Cup Final in Leipzig) as they expertly handled the tight rollbacks and long gallops with the grace of an equitation round. They’d stop the clock .39 seconds faster than Lopez, taking home a new Longines watch and being guaranteed a spot in Gothenburg next March.

“My horses are going so well at the moment, it’s amazing – we’ve had some very, very hard days not so long ago, but now we are having some very nice days, and Taloubet was jumping fantastic this afternoon,” Ahlmann said of Codex One and Taloubet Z after his win. He added, “Taloubet has been owned by the Melchior family since he was six years old, so he has been with Zangersheide for seven or eight years now. It was Judy (Judy-Ann Melchior) who rode him originally and she brought him up, and then I got to ride him when he was nine. He has been very successful, he has done so much for me in my sporting career and he has done a lot for the sport and for breeding also. He is just a great horse!”

Back-to-back wins put Ahlmann on top of the Western European League standings with 57 points, 6 points ahead of France’s Simon Delestre.

Results:
1. Christian Ahlmann – Taloubet Z – J/O: 0,40.98
2. Carlos Lopez – Prince de la Mare – J/O: 0, 41.37
3. Pieter Devos – Dream of India Greenfield – J/O: 4, 41.12
4. Henrik Von Eckermann – Cantinero – J/O: 4, 43.21
5. Marco Kutscher – Chaccorina – J/O: 45.32

Article by Ashley Fairfield-Remeza
Sources: Louise Parkes, FEI.org