Australia's Edwina Alexander and her diminutive Itot du Chateau have finished third at the Global Champions Tour Valencia (ESP) Grand Prix last Sunday 10 May. The performance elevates Alexander to third position on the Tour leader board.
Valencia was the second leg of the prestigious Global Champions Tour (GCT) for 2009. The GCT consists of nine elite competitions around the world and invites only the leading Jumping riders.
The lucrative GCT offers the largest prize money of any equestrian series in the world. Last year's final in Sao Paulo presented a total of 1.8 million Euro.
In Valencia the Course Designer Frank Rothenburger sorted "the men from the boys". From fifty starters there were only seven clear rounds in Round 1 and another ten combinations had a total of four faults.
In the second round Edwina Alexander with Itot du Chateau put pressure on the top seven with a clear round. John Whitaker (GBR) with Peppermill repeated his brilliant first clear round with a second faultless performance in Round 2. Sweden's Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Ninja la Silla who had jumped so well in Arezzo did leave every fence intact but Rolf-Göran had slightly misjudged the time and the clock stopped showing one time penalty.
The remaining five riders who were clear in round one failed to go clear in Round 2. So the title then went to John Whitaker with Rolf-Göran second. Our own Edwina Alexander making a spectacular rise from ninth to third by virtue of her very fast clear on Itot du Chateau.
John Whitaker: "The horse was perfect. Peppermill likes a really big track, it makes him concentrate and he couldn't have been better today. He was a bit too playful in Arezzo as he has not competed much since the Olympics, this is only his third show. We are jumping the Nations Cup in La Baule next, then we will see. I must say that I didn't expect to be the only double clear and I did have to sweat it out while all the others jumped but I am happy now."
Rolf-Göran Bengtsson: "My horse has jumped two super rounds but I slightly mis-judged the time. I was maybe a bit easy coming into the last. But I am happy being second today and I do plan to go to the next round in Hamburg, so maybe I can go one better there!"
Edwina Alexander: "I was very frustrated when I finished my first round as I had been a bit too excited and I didn't need to ride with such pressure. Itot did not want to have a fence down! But once we had faulted I had to ride fast there were plenty of others on the same score and again in the second round. It did pay off, but I wasn't expecting to rise quite so many places!"
GCT leader board after two shows Arezzo (ITA) and Valencia (ESP)
=1 Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) 33
=1 Michel Robert (FRA) 33
3 Edwina Alexander (AUS) 26
4 Robert Whitaker (GBR) 23
=5 John Whitaker (GBR) 20
=5 Marco Kutscher (GER) 20
For more information please see www.globalchampionstour.com