Luciana Diniz wins in Vienna to boost her LGCT title hopes.

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This year’s final of the Longines Global Champions Tour promises to be a spectacular one after Luciana Diniz rode to victory yesterday in Vienna and blew the title race wide open.
The Austrian leg of the tour was the final chance for riders to book their place at November’s grand finale in Doha and the victory of the Portuguese horsewoman piles on the pressure on the tour leader Scott Brash.
Diniz is now just two points behind the Scottish star in the overall standings who recently wrote his name in show-jumping history books by making it a clean sweep of another prestigious event, the Rolex Grand Slam.
However, Brash wasn’t able to replicate that kind of form yesterday and his fifth place finish in Vienna means the battle for this year’s LGCT title is going to go down to the wire.
Don’t rule out Rolf-Goran Bengtsson either, who is in third place in the overall standings and just 8 points behind Diniz in second and 10 from Brash in first.
It’s worth reminding too that last season the Swedish rider won the final leg in Doha, even if it wasn’t good enough to win the overall title.
The man behind the LGCT, Jan Tops, was visibly happy with how things have played out knowing full well how the drama and suspense of these big events adds to the spectacle and excitement for the fans.
Let’s focus now back to the Vienna leg, where the course designer Frank Rothenberger put the riders to the test with lots of top stars failing to go beyond the first round.
One of these was Daniel Deusser who missed out with his 10 year-old Toulago after 4 penalties. Penelope Leprevost likewise struggled with 9 penalties on Vagabond de la Pomme.
18 horse and rider combinations progressed to the next round where more top riders encountered difficulties. Scott Brash amassed 4 penalties with Hello M’Lady for a fifth place finish and Rolf-Goran Bengtsson with Casall Ask likewise picked up 4 penalties and finished one place behind Brash and in sixth.
Just 3 riders then went through to the jump-off: Kevin Staut with the grey mare Silvana HDC (third with 8 penalties), Harrie Smolders with Don VHP Z (second with a clear in 43.19 seconds) and the winner Luciana Diniz who cleared the course with Winningmood in a time of 42.81 seconds. See here for more:
4th Simon Delestre FRA 255 PTS
5th Christian Ahlmann GER 234 PTS
6th Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani QAT 195 PTS
7th John Whitaker GBR 180 PTS
8th Penelope Leprevost FRA 169 PTS
9th Pius Schwizer SUI 162 PTS
10th Lauren Hough USA 149 PTS
The action comes to a close today and this afternoon with the CSI5* Gaston Glock’s Vienna Masters. Alberto Zorzi with AD Reflet d’Azif will be representing Italy.
photo credits: Stefano Grasso / LGCT

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