There’s never a bad time to visit Rome, but come autumn, the city takes on a light all its own.

This weekend under blue skies, the Longines Global Champions Tour of Rome CSI5* took full advantage of its fall setting, offering all the inducements of top-tier show jumping sport against the backdrop of one of the world’s most illustrious cities—and crowning two new champions in the process.

On Saturday, Sweden’s Evelina Tovek took home the biggest win of her career aboard the 9-year-old Westphalian gelding Castello 194 (Cristallo x Lifestyle) in the €300,000 Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Rome CSI5*. Along the way, she narrowly beat out last year’s winners, Harrie Smolders & Don VHP Z, who finished clear but behind Tovek in the jump-off on a time of 52.43s (Germany’s Marcus Ehning & Funky Fred finished third with four faults).

But Smolders had other reasons to smile. With his second-place finish on Saturday, he’d accomplished a feat no rider in the history of the LGCT has been able to do thus far: taking the LGCT Championship title ahead of the series finale in Doha, Qatar in November with an unbeatable 278 points. In a sport where consistency can be as elusive as the wind, Smolders set a new standard with his grand prix win in Chantilly; podium finishes in Paris, Hamburg and Rome; and top-10 placings in London, Shanghai and Miami Beach.

For a city that has seen its fair share of emperors, conquerors, and gladiatorial heroes over the eons, there was perhaps no better place to crown the new champion of LGCT sport.

-Photography by Lucio Landa for NF Style.