STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Gregory Wathelet secures win in Shanghai

Belgian's Gregory Wathelet won his first Longines Global Champions Tour title in three years with a dominant performa...

Posted: Apr 22, 2018 5:57 PM
Updated: Apr 22, 2018 5:57 PM

Belgian's Gregory Wathelet won his first Longines Global Champions Tour title in three years with a dominant performance in Shanghai.

Starting in third place in a 12-horse jump-off, Wathelet knew he had to gamble if he wanted to have a shot at winning.

Gregory Wathelet and mare Coree win lone Asian leg of 16-stop circuit

The Belgian last won a LGCT title in 2015

The London Knights triumph in the Global Champions League

"I knew I had to take all the risks and she jumped amazing," Wathelet said after clinching the jump-off on his 12-year-old grey Westphalian mare, Coree, with a clear round in 37.91 seconds.

Britain's Ben Maher and Explosion W finished second in 38.55 seconds, followed by Germany's Daniel Beusser with Tobago Z in 39.11 seconds, in front of a fashionable sellout crowd at the China Art Palace.

READ: Why equestrian sports are booming in China

Short turn

Head-to-head television pictures showing both Maher and Wathelet's rounds showed the 37-year-old Belgian took the lead with a sharp, short turn into the third fence.

"The turn to No. 3, I had a really good turn," said Wathelet, who started riding on his father's farm when he was eight years old.

Although he competed in his first regional show at the age of 16, he initially didn't want to take up riding professionally because he thought it would be too expensive. After it proved too hard to combine school with competing, he decided to give full-time riding a go when he 19, and has never looked back.

Wathelet's previous victory on the LGCT came at Chantilly in 2015 with Conrad de Hus.

His victory in Shanghai has earned him a spot in the inaugural Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix, which will see the winners of each Tour leg competing against each other in Prague in December.

Smolders returns

The lone Asian stop of the 16-leg LGCT also marked the return to competition of defending overall champion Harrie Smolders and his stallion Don VHP Z.

It was solid start for the Dutchman, who finished sixth in the jump-off, almost two seconds slower than Wathelet as he took no risk with his tall stallion.

After events in Mexico City, Miami Beach and Shanghai, Britain's Scott Brash is leading the overall standings with 99 points, while Edwina Tops-Alexander of Australia and Deusser are both lying in second place with 72 points.

Brash and Tops-Alexander are both trying to become the first rider to win the overall title three times.

READ: Tops-Alexander returns from maternity leave with a win in Miami Beach

London Knights win team event

The third leg of the team competition was a nail-biter, with British riders Emily Moffitt and Ben Maher claiming the first win for London Knights by the tiniest of margins.

The Knights, who had been in the lead after the first round earlier in the week, won the Global Champions League event by 27 hundredths of a second ahead of Simon Delestre and Jerome Guery of the Monaco Aces. Roger-Yves Bost and Dayro Arroyave of the Chantilly Pegasus finished in third place.

"I'm feeling pretty awesome," Under-25 rider Moffit told the GCL website. "It's my first GCL this year and it's really exciting. I think it's even better as I'm [in a team] with my trainer, which brings extra excitement. The U25 riders are not expected to win, so this is really cool!"

Maher, who brought home the win as he raced across the finish line with his chestnut Explosion W, said: "We had a lead from round one -- I knew we had to jump clear and we managed to do it today."

Their win in Shanghai also handed the London Knights the joint lead in the overall standings alongside Valkenswaard United, with both teams tied at 62 points. Prague Lions are third with 52 points.

Asked about the inaugural $3 million GC Prague Play Offs in December, Maher said: "the prize money is huge this year, and there are a lot of good riders and horses, so we're trying to keep up with our ranking -- it's very important for us to make it to Prague."

He added: "It's a long season -- we have great horses, Emily is riding amazing so hopefully we have a good season."

After the first three legs took place in North America and Asia, the Global Champions circuit moves to Europe next month. The first of 12 European events will be hosted by Madrid between May 4 and 6. Other stops along the way include Paris, Monaco, Cannes, London and Rome.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 296154

Reported Deaths: 6764
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19700230
Hinds18851392
Harrison16736281
Rankin12757265
Jackson12623228
Lee9694161
Madison9480203
Jones7990147
Forrest7234138
Lauderdale6837226
Lowndes6032140
Lamar589680
Lafayette5740113
Washington5220130
Bolivar4616124
Oktibbeha441593
Panola431995
Pearl River4178131
Warren4134115
Pontotoc410571
Marshall403592
Monroe3990127
Union396174
Neshoba3817169
Lincoln3552104
Hancock348975
Leflore3380118
Sunflower318986
Tate303174
Pike301296
Scott294570
Alcorn292263
Yazoo290565
Itawamba290175
Coahoma281169
Tippah279265
Copiah278758
Simpson276280
Prentiss270258
Wayne254341
Leake252871
Marion252778
Covington249580
Grenada247878
Adams234678
George232145
Newton230852
Winston221877
Jasper213645
Tishomingo212665
Attala206669
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182370
Clay179251
Stone172429
Tallahatchie171239
Clarke169371
Calhoun158028
Smith153033
Yalobusha145036
Greene127833
Walthall124340
Noxubee122831
Montgomery122639
Perry122135
Lawrence120321
Carroll118625
Amite111734
Webster110832
Jefferson Davis102231
Tunica99323
Claiborne98829
Benton93824
Humphreys92927
Kemper90323
Quitman77414
Franklin76119
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62727
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 497154

Reported Deaths: 10029
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson714001387
Mobile36252736
Madison32573462
Tuscaloosa24289414
Montgomery22708519
Shelby22112215
Baldwin19856285
Lee15021155
Calhoun13755288
Morgan13742252
Etowah13379320
Marshall11439210
Houston10110262
Elmore9451185
Limestone9413136
St. Clair9003225
Cullman8979182
Lauderdale8610212
DeKalb8486175
Talladega7582165
Walker6571259
Jackson6542103
Autauga631391
Blount6229127
Colbert5998120
Coffee5259103
Dale4657107
Russell406433
Franklin399778
Covington3989106
Chilton3891100
Escambia378772
Tallapoosa3613143
Clarke343953
Chambers3423111
Dallas3419142
Pike293372
Marion288895
Lawrence284683
Winston258668
Bibb245960
Geneva240270
Marengo238357
Pickens225055
Barbour212951
Hale211969
Fayette201357
Butler201166
Henry182941
Cherokee177739
Monroe166639
Randolph164640
Washington156635
Macon147243
Crenshaw146254
Clay145554
Cleburne139741
Lamar133733
Lowndes132551
Wilcox122525
Bullock117236
Conecuh107024
Perry105927
Sumter99432
Coosa89624
Greene88532
Choctaw55123
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 62°
Columbus
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 60°
Oxford
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 55°
Starkville
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 54°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather