The colorful Israeli rider and her powerful, big-striding 13-year-old chestnut mare, Lizziemary, edged Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Balou Du Reventon by just 0.08 second in the jump-off.
Dutch veteran Jur Vrieling and VDL Glasgow v. Merelsnest finished third, 2.65 seconds back.
“This is one that everybody really wants to win,” Goldstein told LGCT television. “The money is huge here, and the crowd is unbelievable, so this is amazing. We’ve come a long way, and we’ve made it worthwhile.”
It was the second LGCT triumph for Goldstein, who also won in Estoril two years ago.
“She is like a rocketship underneath you, you have just so much raw power, she tries her heart out for me,” Goldstein said about the horse she has been riding since 2016. “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Watched by a cosmopolitan crowd at the China Art Palace in Shanghai, with many spectators donning hats and designer outfits, the lone Asian stop of the Tour saw nine riders qualify for the jump-off, on a sandy course over 1.60-meter jumps set by Uliano Vezzani.
Ireland’s Kenny had set the pace as the third rider in the jump-off, finishing in a time of 38.06 seconds as he stepped up the pace in the second part of the course to beat the previous leader, Vrieling.
The sixth rider, Belgium’s Pieter Devos, the winner of Miami Beach two weeks ago, put down the fastest time (37.49 seconds) in the jump-off, but dropped a pole at the penultimate fence.
Another Belgian, Niels Bruynseels, and his big striding horse Delux Van T&L, were equally unlucky, dropping a pole at the last fence as they finished in a time of 38.21 seconds.
With just two more riders to go, Goldstein guided Lizziemary round the course in a clear round in 37.98 seconds, as Kenny looked on from the sidelines and showed his frustration after getting beaten by such a thin margin.
Could the last rider, LGCT rookie Titouan Schumacher and Atome Z, produce a masterpiece in front of the China Art Palace?
It wasn’t meant to be for the 164th-ranked Frenchman, as his horse dropped a pole, and they finished in eighth place in a time of 39.12 seconds.
Head-to-head television pictures comparing Kenny and Goldstein’s rides showed Lizziemary won the jump-off in the final few strides.
“Today worked out,” said Goldstein. “Some days it doesn’t, but it was really our day and she jumped amazing the whole day. I didn’t nail the first line the way I would have liked, but I made it up somewhere else…I couldn’t be happier.”
Devos remains overall leader
Her victory earned Goldstein a place in the lucrative GC Prague Playoffs November 21-24, which will see all individual LGCT winners compete against each other in the season finale.
After stops in Doha, Mexico City, Miami Beach and Shanghai, Devos remained atop the overall leaderboard with 120 points, following his fifth-place finish in Shanghai. Fellow Belgian Bruynseels, who was sixth in Shanghai, is second in the overall standings with 94 points, followed by Germany’s Daniel Deusser with 83 points.
Global Champions League
The Global Champions League was re-scheduled to Saturday and Sunday after one of two specially chartered horse flights from Europe was delayed. The team event normally finishes before the start of the Longines Global Champions Tour.
“It was decided with FEI [International Equestrian Federation] approval to change the earlier team competition to ensure the horses were well rested and fresh for the weekend with horse welfare the top priority,” the GCL said on its website.
The Monaco Aces are in the lead in Shanghai after the first round, which saw five teams producing double clears on a technical course over 15 jumps, which included three sets of double combinations.
“I was super happy for today — It’s only half of the job done, but a good day for the team,” said Frenchman Julien Epaillard of Monaco Aces, after guiding Virtuose Champeix to the team’s first clear in just over 74 seconds.
His team-mate Marlon Modolo Zanotelli also had a perfect round with VDL Edgar M: “He’s a fantastic horse and just gets better and better — I’m very lucky to have him,” the Brazilian said.
“They are both super good riders so I just told them if they could do the same again tomorrow [Sunday], it would be perfect,” said Aces team-mate Jerome Guery, a Belgian who won the opening LGCT in Doha.
Epaillard said the Aces are unlikely to make any tactical horse or rider changes for the second round on Sunday, with Valkenswaard United, Prague Lions, Hamburg Giants and Paris Panthers all hot on their heels with clear score sheets but a slightly slower time.
“We’ll stick with the same horses,” Epaillard said.
It was tough day for the Shangai Swans, the winners of the first two legs and the overall leaders ahead of St Tropez Pirates and Miami Celtics.
They are lying in 12th place after the first round as Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer and About A Dream started off the Swans with four penalties, followed by Deusser and Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z, who took the team total up to 13 penalties with a refusal on the oxer followed by a fence down.
Once the GCL concludes with the second round on Sunday, the Tour heads to Europe for the next five months, with Madrid scheduled to open proceedings on May 17-19.
Other stops include London, Rome, Saint Tropez, Monaco and Paris.