Today the first Global Champions League competition took place on European ground. It was a nail biting final because none of the teams were free of penalties so it was all about the time. It was a home win for Jos Verlooy and Audrey Coulter of the Antwerp Diamonds. Bertram Allen and John Whitaker (Valkenswaard United) were second and Riley Schuyler and Damien Bluman (Monaco Aces) were third.
Jos and Audrey both rode a clear round in the first round but so did the Monaco Aces and Rome Gladiators (Laura Kraut and Marlon Modolo Zanotelli). In the second round Audrey had four penalties with Domino which added some suspense because John Whitaker and Bertram Allen (who had 4 penalties in the first round) were both clear. ‘My first round was great‘, Audrey says. ‘We jumped clear, Domino felt amazing. He jumped great in the schooling area going into the second round. I wanted to go fast because I knew there were three fast riders coming up. I knew I had to go fast to put pressure on those riders behind us. I went for it because Domino is a naturally fast horse but I had an unlucky rail. Sometimes you get unlucky.’ But luckily for Audrey she had her team mate Jos Verlooy to count on. Jos rode Caracas and the stallion proved to be in great shape. ‘Ride superfast and let’s hope the others make a mistake‘ was the advice Jos’ dad Axel was shouting to him before he went in and it sure worked out. Jos’ time was unbeatable so he knew he was in front of Valkenswaard United but there were still two teams coming up. But Daniel Bluman got 4 penalties and so did Marlon Modolo Zanotelli who was in the lead. So all of the sudden Jos and Audrey were the winners of the team competition.
A dream victory for the Antwerp based riders Jos Verlooy and Audrey Coulter. ‘It feels amazing to be the winner on our home turf’, says Audrey. ‘We came here with our top horses so we really wanted to win.’ Also Jos was very happy because he knows a lot of people in Antwerp so he really felt at home. Also Caracas proved to be a reliable horse. After finishing second in the LGCT Grand Prix of Mexico last week he finished double clear again in Antwerp. ‘I think we finally made the connection‘, Jos explains. ‘He has proven to be a very good horse. I started in the middle of the indoor season very quietly and now he’s ready for the big work. Now he’ll get some rest for two weeks and then we’re off to La Baule.’
It’s also special for Jos and Audrey to be in a team with their other Euro Horse colleague Harrie Smolders. A true advantage according to the young riders. ‘It’s an advantage because we are already used to work together as a team‘, Audrey says. ‘We walk the course together, we discuss the course together. So in this format it gives us a little advantage. Everyone helps out within Eurohorse. It’s a close team. Riding is an individual sport but to be together in a team, that’s just great.’ Audrey bought Domino in September 2015 from Eurohorse. Domino was Jos’ top horse for many years but he’s still around to help her. ‘It’s great to be in the same team as Domino. I help Audrey, I give her some advice because I know Domino very well. It just feels great that we won together.’ And Audrey is also very happy with Domino. ‘I’ve always liked Domino and from the first time I rode him we really clicked together’, she says. ‘We have a good connection and then to have Jos around for advice made us even click faster. Domino and I are really a good team now.’