Reigning Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat did an out-of-this-world performance at day two of the Rolex FEI World Cup Final aboard the incredible Nino des Buissonnets (Kannan x Narcos II), making it a Swiss win. It was all about amazing jumping, breathtaking performances, goose bumps and a few tears of joy today in Gothenburg – as the world’s top riders kept delivering one fantastic round after the other. Luciana Diniz – one of the most stylish riders in the world – delivered yet again to finish third on Lennox (Lifestyle x Grannus), with only Marc Houtzager between her and Steve. With another top result, the Portuguese rider went up in the lead overall in the World Cup after two rounds have been ridden. Following Luciana in the overall standings is yesterday’s winner Beezie Madden in second, and Kevin Staut who is overall third after another great day in the ring.
The class was all you could expect when there is a World Cup Final going on, and maybe even a little bit more. Today was all about Steve Guerdat – vice champion from the World Cup Finals last year – and his extremely talented and clever partner Nino. Steve delivered one of fifteen clears in the 38 rider class, and it was pure quality. Just like yesterday, the 12 year old gelding jumped a convincing first round – flexing muscles to his competitors. Before Steve there had been six clears. One of them came from World Cup hat trick-winner Marcus Ehning on Copin van de Broy (Darco x Brownboy) who showed some real power around the thirteen fence track set by Uliano Vezzani. Course wise it wasn’t that technical or difficult, but it was a fair course which was big enough – and with riders of this caliber a lot of clears are expected.
After Steve, another eight riders went clear. The next came from Marc Houtzager who rode a super round on Sterrehof’s Tamino (Numero Uno x Farmer). The Dutch rider was followed by the 18 year old Reed Kessler who keeps delivering on the power house Cylana (Skippy II x Darco), and she in her turn was followed by her compatriot McLain Ward on Super Trooper de Ness (Vigo d’Arsouilles x Polydor). Kevin Staut showed more consistency on Silvana HDC (Corland x Widor) and went clear for a second day in a row, leaving the arena with a huge smile on his face. The top four from yesterday were the last four to go, and all delivered clear rounds; first Luciana Diniz, then Rolf-Göran Bengtsson – who got a standing ovation that electrified Scandinavium Arena, as well as Pius Schwizer and Beezie Madden.
As yesterday some riders were really unlucky, such as title-defender Rich Fellers who had one down, world number one Christian Ahlmann who had two down – as well as Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Hans-Dieter Dreher, Penelope Leprevost and Sergio Alvarez Moya who all had a single rail punishing them.
With fifteen riders moving on to the jump-off, it was always going to be fast – but nobody could really have been prepared for how fast it actually ended up being. Edwina Tops-Alexander and Kristaps Nerentnieks both opened with nice and steady clears around the shortened seven fence track, that was all about short turns until the two last fences where there were stretches to speed up. Both Denis Lynch on the impressive ten year old All Star 5 (Argentinus x Alme) and Marcus Ehning on Copin van de Broy had the a-element into the combination down, while the incredibly fast Bosty left the breaks by the entrance and raced around the track on Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois (Dollar du Murier x Grand Veneur) to cross the finish line clear on the time of 37.92 seconds. It looked hard to beat, especially knowing that the time came from the super fast French man. Ludo Philippaerts was next, and was the first rider to dare go inside in between the second and the penultimate oxer to the FEI vertical – although the turn came on the expense of the rail falling to the ground.
Steve was next, and what the 20 443 crowd witnessed might be said to be history in the making come Sunday. Nino is so quick off the ground, and knows exactly where he has his legs – and when Steve made two perfect turns inside to the FEI vertical and then to the following Rolex vertical before racing to the two final oxers it all looked like a demonstration of power from the Swiss rider who shaved off an unbelievable 3.83 seconds of Bosty’s time. There was no doubt who was going to be the winner when Steve left the ring. Although Marc Houtzager gave an outstanding performance, who on any other given Friday would have been enough to take the win – it was not enough today and he slotted into 2.71 seconds behind Steve, a position he held throughout the class. Reed and McLain were unlucky to have one down, while Kevin and Silvana were clear again, showing some real promise for Sunday, to eventually finish fifth.
Luciana and Lennox were next to go, and yet again they delivered a brilliant clear. Although they went outside the penultimate oxer to the FEI vertical, Lennox’s ground covering gallop secured a super time at 37.22 seconds to give them third place – and the lead overall in the Rolex FEI World Cup Final. Rolf and Quintero La Silla (Quantum x Chamonix), Pius on Picsou du Chene (Le Tot de Semilly x Caloubet du Bois) and Beezie aboard Simon (Mr. Blue x Polydox) all tried to catch Steve, Marc and Luciana – but failed in the effort as poles fell.
The win definitely went to the man they all have to watch in Sunday; Steve Guerdat. If Nino keeps jumping as today, more history will be written by this super pair.No reproduction without permission/copyright worldofshowjumping.com
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