I had a really good feeling already from the first fence on the warm-up on Cornet. The plan that I had in my mind worked out; I wanted to do a quick round – not too fast, but I ended up as number six which is a nice position to be in and I had a really good feeling on him. Still, he should be fresh enough for Saturday after this first round. I think it was a good day!
At the end it is difficult to say how much this first day counts. If you after the first and the second day somehow are in front in the top ten there should be a good chance, but then you have all these factors like the point difference which makes it difficult to say. Like Steve told me yesterday, he was quite far down after the first day last year - number 17 - and then he won the second day, and in the end he was vice-champion so everything is possible in this final. And Monday is an important day! I also experienced that when I rode Air Jordan in the final in Las Vegas; I was something like number 12 or 13 before the last two rounds, and then I had the only double clear – and that brought me up to second overall.
The course in this first round was nice; it was not too big – and it was long enough. You did not really have a lot of options like in a normal Table C class; it was a bit more a bit like a Table A. In the end a lot of people tried, but had one down – which is exactly what you want in a speed class like this. I think it was a nice class for the first day.
After Mechelen Cornet had one and a half month off. Then I went to Florida afterwards and I jumped him three shows over there; including another World Cup in Wellington. At every show I jumped him a small class, and then at the first two shows one or two big classes. The last show in Wellington I just jumped him one small and one big class. When Cornet came back to Europe he had two weekends off, and then I jumped him one more time outside and one more time in the indoor – and then we went here.
Going from outdoors to indoors like this is really no problem with the arena we have here in Lyon. It is so big that it feels a little bit like riding outside. Cornet is a little bit more fresh in the indoor; when he feels the atmosphere and hears the music he bucks around a little bit – but I know him so it’s ok. But today, his freshness was just right!
Who looks strong enough to win? I don’t know where to start and where to end! If you see after the first round, Ludger looks like he is in top form. Patrice Delaveau was also really good in the first round. Pius will change his horse for for Toulago on Saturday, and this horse also had good results the last couple of months. Personally, I think Cornado NRW jumped unbelievable with Marcus Ehning – if he keeps on jumping like that for three days – I think he will be strong. And then there is Steve and Nino of course; you know that the horse will jump better and better. So there are quite a few, and it will be exciting!
As told to WoSJ by Daniel Deusser
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