Laura Kraut Re-Takes GCT Season Rankings Lead in Valkenswaard

RELEASE: August 17, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Global Champions Tour Press Release

Valkenswaard, The Netherlands - U.S. star Laura Kraut is the new ranking leader after a Grand Prix full of drama was won in triumphant style by Alvaro de Miranda on AD Rahmannshof’s Bogeno. The shake up sets the stage for a thrilling final stage of the championship series at next month’s leg in Lausanne.

The Brazilian champion set the arena on fire shaving a full four seconds off the time of Frenchman Simon Delestre. Dutch home rider Gerco Schroder had the capacity crowd on the edge of their seats and finished third on 4 faults.

With one of the largest crowd's we've seen all year and a bustling VIP, Valkesnwaard certainly proved to be one of the most exciting and highly anticipated legs of the 2013 season. Known through out the equestrian community as not only one of the most horse-oriented competitions of the season but also one of the best atmospheres on the international circuit.

The facilities here at Stal Tops are second to none and elicit international caliber wherever you look. High praise from riders such as Katie Prudent came regarding the excellent footing in the main international arena and with two beautiful days, we could not have asked for better conditions for the ninth leg of our 2013 Longines Global Champions Tour season.

The First Round

The stands were packed well ahead of the start of the first round and it seemed that half of Holland had turned out for the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Valkenswaard. A truly second-to-none atmosphere was created well before the start of the Grand Prix, which would see a total of fifty international combinations battle it out for the much-desired title. With the current season leader, Christian Ahlmann, entered with the powerful Taloubet Z, previous season leader Laura Kraut entered with Cedric and two-time season winner Edwina Tops-Alexander entered with Cevo Itot du Chateau, it was clear to all that Satyrday's title would be hard fought by everyone.

But in actual fact, we saw some of the lesser-known combinations come through to shine as well. The first round saw exactly eighteen clear combinations including Ben Maher and Tripple X III, Kamal Bahamdan and Noblesse des Tess, Beezie Madden and Simon as well as Laura Kraut and Cedric, just to name a few. It was a technical first round, not overly large but Italy's Uliano Vezzani had set a course that would certainly weed out the less experienced combinations but perhaps forgive a lucky few.

It was a course demanding decisive action from the riders, with some short bending lines and a moderate but less-then-forgiving time allowed. Young British talent Alexandra Thornton, trained by Norman dello Joio, jumped a very smooth first round with her 12 year old mare Blue Curacao. Strong clears also came from experienced riders such as Ludger Beerbaum, Marcus Ehning, and Margie Goldstein Engel. Some disappointing faults came for Penelope Leprevost and Nice Stephanie, Richard Spooner and Cristallo as well as Luciana Diniz and Lennox. Despite the fact that the first round course was not set to maximum, it clearly proved challenging enough for some of the world's very best.

The Second Round

Following a second course walk, the eighteen clear combinations began to warm up again for another challenging task. This time the fences were larger and although the course was not as technical as the first round, remarked Kamal Bahamdan, the second round would require the horses to maintain their scope and come back even bigger then before. The oxers were wider and the verticals taller, which meant it was not only demanding, serious scope but also plenty of physical condition. The winner of our London leg, Ben Maher, was first in the ring, aboard his Olympic mount Tripple X III.

But alas he would not deliver a clear for Great Britain. Instead it was France's Simon Delestre, riding Qlassic Bois Margot, who earned the first double clear. Harrie Smolders followed suit with his stunning chestnut stallion Emerald. This Belgian-bred stallion may be only 9 years old but he certainly has plenty of talent.

Despite the strong contingent of experienced combinations such as Edwina and Itot du Chateau or Laura Kraut and Cedric, none could match a double clear like Simon Delestre and Harrie Smolders. Not until Dutch rider Gert Jan Bruggink, who impressed everyone, perhaps even himself, with a fantastic double clear aboard Primeval Dejavu. Gerco Schroder and London would follow suit as the third Dutch double clear.

One could say that the best was saved for last as Doda Miranda and AD Rahmannshof's Bogeno jumped incredibly fast and earned the highly desirable last position in the jump off.  Only five riders would come back for the jump off, all men and three Dutchman.

The Jump Off

Doda Miranda would use that last position to its every advantage with four riders ahead of him. Everyone knew the leading world ranked Brazilian rider would certainly leave nothing behind in the jump off. Simon Delestre was first in and first clear with a moderate time of 44.48 seconds. It was a lovely clear but the capable Selle Francais's classic technique could possibly have used up some valuable time.

The Dutchman; Harrie Smolders, Gert Jan Bruggink and Gerco Schroder all had fences down, with a disappointing rail behind in the red double combination for Gerco  and London; a combination very capable of winning this evening's Grand Prix title.

It was all down to Doda Miranda and his Olympic mount AD Rahmannshof's Bogeno. They finished third in Madrid and they have been competitive through out the season, so a win was well overdue for the number one ranked Brazilian rider who stood eighth on the season rankings before the Grand Prix.

As soon as Doda was on course, it was if it was all over already. Clocking an incredible time, if Doda could keep all the fences, he would not only win but also take the victory with a seriously competitive time. Sure enough, clearing the last fence, Doda Miranda and AD Rahmannshof's Bogeno grabbed the Grand Prix victory with exactly 4 seconds to spare.

What a time! A well-deserved victory for one of the most well liked riders on the tour, we congratulate Doda Miranda and his team for this wonderful win.