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Wathelet wins the Longines FEI World Cup in Leipzig

Sunday, 22 January 2017
CSI5*-W Leipzig 2017

Photos (c) Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping Gregory Wathelet and Coree won the 10th leg of the Longines FEI World Cup in the Western European League in Leipzig. Photos (c) Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping.

The 10th leg of the Longines FEI World Cup in the Western European League took place in Leipzig (GER) on Sunday afternoon, and it was Gregory Wathelet (BEL) that went to the top on the 11-year-old mare Coree (Cornet Obolensky x Liberty Life) after a marathon jump-off that counted no less than sixteen riders.

German course designer Frank Rothenberger had designed a track of 13 obstacles and 16 efforts, with a time allowed of 71 seconds. The starting field of 40 horse and rider combinations showed amazing shape, and 16 of them rode a clear round. Six of the clear riders represented the younger generation, like the Norwegian talent Johan-Sebastian Gulliksen on the 10-year-old Charleville (Quasimodo Z x Lancelot) – who did his World Cup debut in Leipzig. 

First to go in the jump-off was the 21-year-old Guido Klatte (GER) on the 10-year-old gelding Qinghai (Quidam de Revel x Cordalme). The pair rode another great clear round, and set the time to beat to 44,90 seconds. Soon after him, last year's winner – 23-year-old Niklas Krieg (GER) – on the 13-year-old mare Carella (Clearway x Concerto 4) did a beautiful, quick round and took over the lead with a time of 43,76 seconds.

Krieg’s lead lasted pretty long, but then came French rider Kevin Staut (FRA) on the 16-year-old gelding Reveur de Hurtebise HDC (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Capricieuz Des 6 Censes) who clocked a time of 41,94 seconds. The hero of the home crowds, Ludger Beerbaum, on the 14-year-old gelding Casello (Casall x Carolus) also rode a clear round and their time of 44,22 seconds put the pair in fourth place in the end. 

Photo (c) Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping The top three in Leipzig: Gregory Wathelet, Kevin Staut and Niklas Krieg.

Gregory Wathelet (BEL) on the lovely Coree was the third last to go, and went to the top of the score board with a time of 41,77 seconds. When second last-to-go Simon Delestre (FRA) on the 12-year-old gelding Chesall Zimequest (Casall x Concerto 4) had a surprising refusal in the jump-off, and last in the ring Max Kühner (AUT) on the 10-year-old Chardonnay 79 (Clarimo x Corrado I) rode a safe and slow clear round – the first prize of 40,000 euros belonged to Wathelet with Staut following in second and Krieg in third.

The winner did not believe he would win until the last rider had crossed the finish line: "I knew I had two fast riders coming after me," Wathelet said after the class. "I did not get a chance to do so many World Cups before Christmas, but I hope to get to Zürich and Bordeaux to collect more points," he detailed about his plans for the next few weeks.

Last year's winner Krieg – third this time around – praised the show in Leipzig: "I think my horses really like it here. I hope I can come back next year also. I knew after my round that it would not be fast enough to win, though."

Second placed Staut, who is the leader of the overall standings in the Western European League, was happy with his result: "I am really happy. The World Cup is important for me." Staut's only explanation on the avalanche of clear rounds was the high level of the sport: "The fences, the footing – it is a top facility here. When I walked the course, I did not expect so many clear rounds. Today the level in the sport is really high, it is getting really difficult to build courses – it is a job that I for sure don't want to have!" 

 


Text and pictures © World of Showjumping by Nanna Niemien

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