Saturday’s winner of the second round in the Longines FEI World Cup Final, Christian Ahlmann, runner-up Denis Lynch, third-placed Harrie Smolders and overall leader Steve Guerdat met the press in Gothenburg after a very exciting competition. They filled us in on what it takes to jump a World Cup Final; a Ferrari, a Land Rover, an Aston Martin or a lot of mathematics?
Christian Ahlmann on his two rounds of competition:
“The plan yesterday was a little bit different I must say, but ok – this is the sport. I tried to save Taloubet and took the risk on the first day to take another horse. For me it was not a big risk, because Colorit did very well the few last weeks – he also won some Grand Prix classes and had very good results. But it was not our best day, and in the end we had two down and ended 25th – that was a bad start. But, this is a championship and the possibility is still there. We had a very good second day, and there is still one day left.
For sure I wanted to go fast in the jump-off today. I have a really, really fast horse and he is unbelievable. To have a good result today was my only chance to get a bit forward on the ranking, I had no other option. I tried to put my colleagues under pressure and it worked out.”
On his formula to success with the now 16-year-old Taloubet Z, Ahlmann commented:
“There is nothing special. I think you need a real Ferrari like him, then it is a bit easier.”
Runner-up Denis Lynch said this about his start to the Longines FEI World Cup Finals:
“I was too slow yesterday, as my horse is not a very quick horse. I was quite lucky today to finish second, so now I just have to try and keep the fences up. All Star has been in great form since December, so I tried to keep the fences up and not over-do it.”
Third placed Harrie Smolders said this about Emerald N.O.P. and his round:
“He jumped amazing, almost too good in the first round – I was almost falling off. But, luckily I stayed on. It worked out very well for me today. I needed a top placing to stay in touch for Monday, so I was pleased with that and now we just have to wait.”
Overall leader Steve Guerdat was in a good mood after some great rounds on Corbinian:
“I am really happy. I had a lot of questions before the final started, that I really did not know the answers to. The horse has a lot of possibilities and qualities, and he is going to be a very good horse one day – but we are still looking for each other a little bit. So, I did not think it would be quite good enough yet here in the finals. But, there are still two big rounds – so at the moment I am just happy and enjoy this day.”
About the importance of the finals, the 2015 Champion said this:
“The World Cup Final is one of the biggest things in our sport. We have eighteen riders qualifying from the Western European League, and when you think about how many good riders there are in it - it is very difficult to get here. Then the final for me is a competition I really really like, and it’s always been a goal for me to be a part of it – I always watched it when I was a kid. If you are in the final, you want to be good as well. For the horse the difference between a World Cup Final and for example an European Championship, I guess it is not that big – it is a championship as hard as any other one.
On choosing to ride the jump-off with two more rounds coming up, Guerdat joked:
“I am not that good in calculating, I was not that good in math in school – so I thought that if I did not mess it up completely I would take the overall lead if I did the jump-off – but I was not exactly sure. But at this point we are here for the sport and not for the mathematics!”
Text © World of Showjumping // Pictures © Jenny Abrahamsson
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