The talented young Belgian rider Nicola Philippaerts has pulled off a stunning second victory in the 2018 Longines Global Champions Tour series, taking the title in the grand prix of Chantilly.
It was a closely-fought contest until the very last rider, with Britain’s Ben Maher nearly knocking the Belgian rider off the top spot. However, Ben’s horse Explosion W had the last fence down, which dropped him to fifth place.
Nicola was second to go out of 10 combinations in the jump-off. His impressive stallion H&M Chilli Willi powered around the arena, jumping clear in 37.26 seconds. It was a time that proved to be beatable, but the pressure saw poles falling.
“I am very happy — I can’t believe it,” said Nicola. “Today I was very lucky, we had a quick time but Chilli Willi is not naturally super fast, so I just did my own round.”
Germany’s Daniel Deusser looked dangerous with the diminutive chestnut stallion Tobago Z. Despite their quick turns the pair couldn’t match Nicola’s time, and they broke the beam just hundredths of a second behind on 37.30 to move into second place.
Others riders were forced into making mistakes, including Ben and Jerome Guery who were both faster than Nicola, but incurred four faults.
Italy’s Alberto Zorzi was the only other rider to jump clear with Contanga, but his time of 38.63 seconds put him in third place.
As this was Nicola’s second grand prix win, his place in the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix goes to second placed Daniel.
Despite narrowly missing out on another win, Ben has extended his lead in the LGCT championship ranking and is now 38 points ahead of closest rival Edwina Tops-Alexander.
Nicola is among the elite talent to line up for the LGCT Super Grand Prix at the GC Playoffs in Prague in December. He joins a top-notch start list, which includes Peder Fredricson (SWE), Ben Maher (GBR), Scott Brash (GBR), Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) and Daniel Deusser (Germany).
Sign up to watch the action from the Chantilly leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour on Horse & Country on Saturday July 21 at 8pm EST.