The final class of the show, the CSI5* Longines Global Champions Tour Vienna Masters, was won by Championship Leader Ludger Beerbaum (GER) and Chaman, who are on sparkling form following one of the best Longines GCT seasons of Ludger’s career. Second went to fellow German Hans-Dieter Dreher with Embassy II and 3rd to Ludger’s Championship rival Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) with Clarimo ASK. The World No2 was once again all smiles as he accepted his prize and took his lap of honour. With a win in the Longines GCT Lausanne Grand Prix last weekend and two other podium finishes to his name, the four-time Olympic Gold medallist is firm favourite to take this year’s Championship title.
The first round was another tricky course from Frank Rothenberger with difficult distances and awkward lines, but of the 44 starters, 15 jumped clear. Stefan Eder (AUT) set the pace early on in the jump-off with a fast clear in 45.42s to eventually finishing up 4th. In-form Simon Delestre came close to catching Eder, but it was Hans-Dieter Dreher and Embassy that smashed the time finishing in 43.75s to take the lead. However, Ludger Beerbaum is untouchable at the moment, riding a confident, deceptively fast round with Chaman to take the lead in a time of 42.90s. Second last to go, Bengtsson gave it his best shot, but had to settle for third with his bouncy grey stallion finishing in 44.84s.
As we say ‘Goodnight’ to Vienna and look ahead to Doha in November, there are exciting prospects ahead with three top names all in contention for the 2014 Championship title – reigning Champ and World No1 Scott Brash (GBR), German legend Ludger Beerbaum and 2012 Championship runner-up Rolf-Göran Bengtsson. Once again the race for the lion’s share of the €1million bonus prize fund will come right down to the wire. Join us in Doha to find out who will be crowned king.