The Longines Global Champions Tour 2016 season kicked off at a stunning beachside location in Miami, where Connolly’s RED MILLS Ambassadors were in outstanding form, winning the two biggest competitions on offer.
The event in Miami saw the exciting new Global Champions League make its debut, with Connolly’s RED MILLS Ambassador Bertram Allen scoring a knife edge victory for his team, Valkenswaard United, when paired with British legend John Whitaker.
John Whitaker and Bertram Allen from Valkenswaard United on their victory lap in Miami (Photo: Stefano Grasso – LGCT)
Against the breathtaking backdrop of the surf and turquoise waters of the Atlantic beachfront, spectators and international guests watched 12 teams go into combat. All teams are named after cities on the championship circuit, with Miami Glory (Georgina Bloomberg and Kent Farrington) and Allen’s team, (Valkenswaard United), the only pairings to jump clear in the first round.
The second round saw John Whitaker jump clear with the 12-year-old gelding Lord of Arabia. Allen and Quiet Easy 4 lowered a single rail and their typically quick pace saw them finish faster than runners-up Antwerp Diamonds (Harrie Smolders and Audrey Coulter), while Miami Glory took the third spot on the podium.
Speaking afterwards, Allen said, “It’s great, and to be with John is fantastic. It’s an honour to be on the team with him and it was nice for us to get a win so I’m delighted. [Our strategy] was fairly straightforward. We didn’t get into too much detail. We knew what we had to do and time flew today. It paid off.”
Connolly’s RED MILLS Ambassador Bertram Allen and Quiet Easy 4 (Photo: Stefano Grasso – LGCT)
Meanwhile the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix also saw a win for a Connolly’s RED MILLS Ambassador, as Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) and her 13-year-old bay mare Lintea Tequila, rode a stunning three rounds to claim the top spot.
They took the winners prize of $165,000 after a six horse jump-off, with McLain Ward finishing second aboard HH Azur and Christian Ahlmann third with Epleaser van’t Heike.
Connolly’s RED MILLS Ambassador Edwina Tops-Alexander Edwina Tops-Alexander and Lintea Tequila claimed the Grand Prix in Miami (Photo: Stefano Grasso – LGCT)
Another Connolly’s RED MILLS Ambassador, Offaly’s Darragh Kenny, grabbed a third place finish in another two-star class in Miami with Chanel, while Bertram Allen also finished third in a five-star 1m50 class on the opening day with Quiet Easy.
The Longines Global Champions Tour and Champions League now move to Mexico for the second round of action this coming weekend, where Connolly’s RED MILLS Ambassadors Bertram Allen, Edwina Tops-Alexander and Scott Brash will once again be among a star-studded line-up.