Casallo Z wins Grand Prix GCT Estoril!
The Italian rider Piergiorgio Bucci and Casallo Z stole the show, taking a stunning Grand Prix win, with Edwina Tops-Alexander of Australia finishing 2nd with Lintea Tequila. Ireland’s Bertram Allen placed a strong 3rd with the 9-year-old stallion Hector van d’Abdijhoeve.
Two weeks ago, Bucci placed 2nd in the LGCT Grand Prix of Monaco, and has been jumping strong rounds with the 12-year-old Zangersheide stallion (Casall x Carthago Z), with 2nd places at Treffen CSI5* and CSI4* Windsor, making this, his first five star victory, a natural next step.
“I really like the feeling to be on the podium as I was two weeks ago in Monte Carlo, and now I’m back with Casallo again. The Casall horses are amazing, Casall himself is a story – he won an unbelievable jump-off last week in Paris and I must say his sons have many great qualities,” Bucci described. “It takes time but they give you everything, the quality is amazing. This is my first CSI5* win – I was very close a few times, and starting to think it might not happen until now. It was a great jump off and a great win.”
Course designer Frank Rothenberger utilised the full length and breadth of the grass arena, allowing the horses to open up the pace, while delicate poles and full height verticals demanded accuracy and power. A double of liverpools gave the horses something to think about, and a few of the top riders fell short of the final combination, either from the pace being too fast or miscalculating the long distance in-between.
Second place two weeks ago in the LGCT Grand Prix of Monaco, Bucci and Casallo Z quickly joined him on the second round clear, ensuring that there would be a jump off for the Grand Prix of Cascais. As the shadows lengthened, Ahlmann and Caribis Z caught an unlucky pole early at the first fence, and then another on the final run, eliminating them from the jump-off and sealing the fate for Ahlmann’s ranking lead.
It would be a seven rider jump-off, and the initial two riders, Whitaker and Abdullah Al Sharbatly of Saudi Arabia each had a pole down. First to go clear was Bucci and Casallo Z, with the pair setting the time at 49.07 seconds.
So top honors went to Piergiorgio and his horse Casello Z, son of Casall ASK, taking their first LGCT Grand Prix win.