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Beezie Madden and Breitling LS best in Longines FEI World Cup Final opener

Thursday, 12 April 2018
Longines FEI World Cup Final Paris 2018

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Beezie Madden and Breitling LS won Thursday's first round at the Longines FEI World Cup Finals. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

USA’s Beezie Madden made Thursday’s difficult course in the opening round of the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Final look like a walk in the park, outclassing her competitors to take the victory by 0.72 seconds. The 2013 World Cup Champion looks to be a hot candidate for another title, riding a flawless round on the 12-year-old stallion Breitling LS (Quintero x Acord II) to top the standings after round one of jumping at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris.

“It is always exciting to win at the World Cup Finals, and actually just to have a good round on the first day because it’s quite tense the first day I think with how much risk you take and obviously going faster over big fences is harder than going slow so it is a little bit of a juggling act what you do,” said Madden after her victory. “So, when it all works out well it is a big relief!”

A total of 37 horse-and-rider combinations had lined up tonight, and it was not until rider no. eight in the ring – Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar – that the first clear came. The course designed by Santiago Varela claimed several victims, among them all the home riders – and faults spread out from the oxer at fence one, to the combinations at 6ab with a vertical-oxer, then the two uprights at 9ab as well as the plank at 11 and the wide oxer coming in to the penultimate combination where many riders did not get the best turn and struggled to reach the back pole. “You always have surprises, but not today,” said Varela about his course and the results after the first round of the final was done. “I think the course worked exactly as we forecasted. The most difficult part was to keep calm and keep your mind fresh, not to be in a hurry and force the horses at the start of the course. If you could not, you would have problems at the end.”

And so it turned out for many. Even reigning champions from Omaha, USA’s McLain Ward and the spectacular HH Azur (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui), had to see the back pole of 12a hit the ground tonight – but still managed to stay within the top ten with their four seconds added to the time.

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Runners-up: Daniel Deusser and Cornet d'Amour. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

As rider no. twenty in the ring, Beezie Madden was simply in a league of her own on this night in Paris. Cruising around smoothly, Madden’s round was much, much faster than it looked with the American rider and Breitling LS making light work of the parts where others struggled. Crossing the finish line, Madden has pushed the time down to an incredible 61.89 to take over the lead by nearly three seconds.   

One rider later, 2014 champions Daniel Deusser and the 15-year-old Cornet D’Amour (Cornet Obolensky x Damiani) tried to catch up and nearly succeeded, also they with a lovely, smooth round. Despite his efforts, the German rider was still behind however, slotting in behind Madden in 62.61 seconds.

“I want to be honest, when I walked the course I thought that for a speed class we did not have to many options so I had a bit mixed feelings going into it. I did not see everybody, but I have to say that in the end we had a very, very good course because nobody went really, really fast and I think all the horses are still jumping good and still have enough power for tomorrow,” reflected Deusser afterwards.

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Third position for Devin Ryan and Eddie Blue. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Coming in towards the end of the class, USA’s Devin Ryan and the 9-year-old Eddie Blue (VDL Zirocco Blue x Marlon) also gave it a good go and went into third after a clear round over the thirteen-fence track with their time of 62.84 seconds. “I know I have a really good horse, and he has been competing very well in the States at all our biggest competitions. It is sort of a dream of mine to be able to represent the States at some level, and so here we are and I am very happy to be here!” commented Ryan.

Second-last to go, three-times champion Marcus Ehning showed that the 15-year-old stallion Cornado NRW (Cornet Obolensky x Acobat) is in top form – jumping a picture perfect round to go into fourth position in 62.50 seconds.

Rounding off the top five was Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann who was hot for the win today with Tovek’s Mary Lou (Montendro x Portland L), but paid for his risks when having the Longines plank down to add four seconds to his time – finishing on 64.33.

Looking forwards to the rest of the week in Paris, leading rider Beezie Madden said: “It’s a long week, and I thought this would be a good format for my horse because he is careful and fast and rideable. Hopefully he is good for tomorrow, but we’ll see. It is a long way to go, and we will take it one day at a time. At least I put myself in a good position,” Madden concluded.  

Round two of the Longines FEI World Cup Final takes place tomorrow, at 20.30 CET. 

 


Text and pictures © World of Showjumping 



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