German rider Christian Ahlmann is in an exceptional good shape for the World Cup Qualifiers. Today he won the World Cup at Jumping Mechelen with Taloubet Z. Ahlmann already won in Stuttgart and Madrid so it’s his third World Cup victory. Niels Bruynseels was second with Cas de Liberté and Jerome Guery was third with Papillon Z.
With five out of ten riders heading to he jump-off the crowd was hoping it would be a Belgian victory. Jos Verlooy was the first one to ride a clear jump-off but Niels Bruynseels really rode a fast round. It looked like he was unbeatable but Christian Ahlmann was on a mission. ‘I agree that Niels rode a great round’, Christian says. ‘I tried to do almost the same. I was hoping that I would have a faster jump in the end and it worked out. I might have the best and fastest horse in the world‘, he praises Taloubet Z. ‘He hasn’t go a large stride but he’s fast and flexible. Normally if I do the same amount of strides as the others I’m always faster because of that. I can let him do one stride less only one time in the course because otherwise he gets too flat. Now I took the risk and he did it very well.’
Niels Bruynseels came very close to winning the World Cup but he’s not disappointed at all. ‘I’m happy‘, he says. ‘I have a young horse, she’s only nine years old. It was the first time she jumped a World Cup. I know I was very close but you know it’s tricky when such a great rider like Christian is behind you. Maybe I could have taken one stride less to the last vertical but maybe the rail would have fallen off then. You can always make things better but I don’t know if I would have done anything else now.’
Niels earned his first World Cup points so maybe he needs to think about trying to qualify for the World Cup Final. ‘I haven’t spoken about it with Dirk Demeersman yet. We made up a planning until now. We’ll have to sit down and discuss what we’ll do. It’s possible I’ll ride another World Cup but it’s also possible that I start training for the outdoor season.‘ Who’s already sure of being in the World Cup Final is Christian Ahlmann but the German rider doesn’t consider himself as a favourite. ‘It’s only a qualification list’, he explains. ‘It means we had a good season so far. I have enough points but in the final everyone starts from zero. We have to go forward now and make sure the horse is ready for the final. That’s important now.’
Christian Ahlmann had a special start at Jumping Mechelen. On Sunday he won the Sires of the World class organized by Zangersheide. It was the first time the prize was given the name of Léon Melchior, the founder of the studbook, who died this year. Christian is married to Léon’s daughter Judy-Ann and the couple named their son Léon. ‘It’s special‘, Christian admits. ‘Especially because I won the Leon melchior prize and it was the first we had this prize. I can only thank him for what he has done. For the sport, the shows, the horses, the breeding and for all of us. That we could start Jumping Mechelen like that was really special. It was emotional for my family and myself.’