Photo: GCL / Stefano Grasso
It is all to play for in the inaugural Global Champions League of London, as two of the series leading teams made big tactical changes ahead of the final at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in front of a sell-out crowd.
Valkenswaard United, currently in second place in the League, will be bringing Bertram Allen (IRE) off the bench to join Alberto Zorzi (ITA). The two have proved to be a formidable pair with three podium finishes attributed to the duo this season, including top spot at last weekend’s battle in Berlin. The team is currently in seventh place after day one with Zorzi and Cornetto K picking up an unlucky time fault to add to Janika Spruner and Aris CMS’ four penalties.
Miami Glory will welcome back Scott Brash (GBR) with Hello Forever, who will join Denis Lynch (IRE) and new horse RMS Echo in Round Two. The team is in eighth place after the first day and in in the League overall, so with only three events remaining they need a good result to move up the table. Yesterday first round rider Paris Sellon (USA) picked up five penalites, so the pair will be looking to recreate the magic of Hamburg when they stormed to victory with a clean sheet.
The heroes of day one were the Berlin Lions. Anna Kellerova (CZE) and Max Kühner (AUT) were foot-perfect around the technical London-themed course and the only team to secure a double clear in the first round. Both will take to the ring again on their stallions Classic and Chardonnay 79, as they have clearly found a formula that works. Although they are currently in prime position, The Lions are second from bottom in the League so a win would mark a remarkable change of fortune and push them significantly up the table.
London Knights were hoping for a fairy-tale victory on home soil and got a rousing welcoming from the crowd, but it did not go to plan for World Number One Kent Farrington and Team GB Olympic gold medallist Ben Maher. They picked up nine penalities and a frustrating four faults respectively to find themselves in thirteenth place going into the final day. They will be hoping for a faultless second round to avoid dropping down the League and Farrington will swap Dublin for his big-hearted, little chestnut Creedance.
Other notable changes from the 18 teams include Jack Towell (USA) joining Darragh Kenny (IRE) for the Paris Panthers and Abdel Saïd (EGY) alongside Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) for Rome Gladiators.