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Fuchs and the horse of his heart take the title at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2022

Sunday, 10 April 2022
Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2022

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ "Chaplin, he is just the biggest fighter and has the biggest heart," Martin Fuchs said after having won the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2022 in Leipzig, Germany. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

 

Text © World of Showjumping

 


 

Sitting third coming into today’s two deciding rounds of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2022, Martin Fuchs (SUI) was the only rider in the top three to deliver a double clear – securing himself the championship title for the first time in his career. Fuchs was Vice Champion with Clooney 51 (Cornet Obolensky x Ferragamo) in Gothenburg in 2019, the last time the World Cup™ Final took place, but today he could take the final step to the top of the podium after brilliant performances with Chaplin (Verdi TN x Concorde) – that showed incredible fighting spirit in the last round. 

Fuchs won Thursday’s first speed leg with Chaplin, then swopped to ride The Sinner (Sanvaro x Landgold 3) in Friday’s competition – but had one down, which put him third overall on the standings coming into Sunday. The Swiss rider’s plan worked out perfectly though, with the 15-year-old stallion Chaplin returning fresh and enthusiastic for Sunday’s two tough rounds – really fighting for his rider all along. 

“The plan was perfect,” Fuchs said after his victory – even though he admitted he had his doubts after Friday. “Honestly, after having a rail down on Friday, I was not so sure if it was the right plan, but I was still sitting third, so I thought ‘Ok, good, I’ll have two clear rounds with Chaplin, and we will stay on the podium’. When I came out of the ring on Friday, I was pretty upset and then Steve Guerdat came up to me and was like ‘Congratulations! Now, you must win on Sunday, after what you did today.’” 

The biggest fighter with the biggest heart 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ “He is the horse of my heart," Fuchs said about Chaplin. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“Ending up winning this prestigious and historical competition, the World Cup™ Final, it is obviously a dream come true,” Fuchs continued. “I said earlier, I looked at all the names on there and they are the best of the best riders written on this trophy and to have my name there now is fantastic. I have been second a couple of times in championships and I did obviously have in mind that I am going to be second again with two of the best riders in the world coming after me, for sure one of them is going to jump a clear round. When Harrie had a rail down, I thought usually Mclain does not make many mistakes, but when the first pole dropped – it was a huge feeling of happiness.” 

“He is the horse of my heart, I said it even when I was riding Clooney,” Fuchs said about Chaplin. “Clooney is a superstar and the most talented horse I have ever had, but Chaplin, he is just the biggest fighter and has the biggest heart – not that he has the ability Clooney has, but at the end he just always fixes everything. I decided already before this competition that Chaplin is now going to have a nice break since he is a bit older, I am going to give him some time off and start again at the end of the outdoor season.” 

Exhilarating

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Vice Champions: Harrie Smolders and Monaco. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Seven of the thirty riders qualified for today’s concluding competitions in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2022 delivered clears over Frank Rothenberger’s first-round track, and, as always, the German course designer asked some tough questions. 

“To walk, they were maybe not the biggest tracks we have ever jumped indoors, but to ride, we had faults and mistakes everywhere. I think it was beautiful to ride but still difficult enough,” Fuchs commented on Rothenbergers’ course building during the World Cup™ Final. “The second round I must say, it felt tough, it felt hard, harder than when I walked it. I guess it was also bit with the nerves, when you fight for the podium it is always harder to produce a clear round. I think Frank has done an outstanding job this year, I think he has shown how he is one of best in the history of course designers.” 

Four of the seven clears came from riders sitting in the top ten; Jens Fredricson (SWE) did a fantastic round on Markan Cosmopolit (Cohiba x Calido I), and when several of those ahead of him made mistakes, he moved himself upwards on the standings to sit 5th going in to round two. 

The top three made things really exciting. First Harry Charles (GBR), who was sitting tied with Martin Fuchs on five penalties, jumped a superb clear with Romeo 88 (Contact vd Heffinck x Orlando). Fuchs then followed, piling the pressure on to Harrie Smolders (NED) and Mclain Ward (USA) in front with a clear round. Only a single penalty separated Smolders from Charles and Fuchs coming into today’s first round, but a clear from the former world no. one and the wonderful Monaco (Cassini II x Contender) meant he still kept his tiny margin. Ward on the other hand did not have luck on his side, and was caught out by the oxer at no. five to add four faults to his overall score – tying him with Smolders. With Charles and Fuchs only a penalty behind, there was no room for error though, and sitting fifth on eight faults, Fredricson was suddenly breathing the top four in the neck. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ An incredible double clear from Jens Fredricson and Markan Cosmopolit brought them to an overall third. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

The second round was exhilarating. Sitting 7th on ten penalties, home hero David Will (GER) made the roof lift when jumping the first double clear of the class on C Vier (Cardento x Concorde) – eventually finishing off as the best German rider in 6th. The only 20-year-old Jack Whitaker (GBR) also showed off with world-class riding, when delivering a clear on Valmy de la Lande (Mylord Carthago *HN x Starter) – only adding one time penalty from Sunday’s first round to his overnight score of eight, with his stunning grey stallion not touching a pole throughout the World Cup™ Final, and slotting in ahead of Will. 

Fredricson knew exactly what had to be done and delivered. With a masterful clear round on his 11-year-old gelding, the Swedish rider – brother of world no. one Peder Fredricson – showed that excellent riding runs in the blood of the family, and with an overall score of eight penalties, mistakes would prove costly for those ahead of him. Entering with his five penalties, Harry Charles could not afford a rail, but that was exactly what happened as a pole on the oxer at 7a fell to the ground – dropping the 22-year-old down in between Fredricson and Whitaker on the result list.

As next to go, Fuchs knew he could make no mistakes. In a nail-biting ‘all-or-nothing’ moment in the approach to the plank at fence no. nine, Chaplin gave everything for his rider to clear the tall, white upright, and flying over the two last fences with all of his heart, the stallion helped Fuchs to a double clear round – putting Smolders and Ward under serious pressure. 

And when Smolders had a cheap rail on the vertical at fence no. eight, adding another four penalties to his score, Fuchs had jumped himself one step up on the podium – with only Ward standing in his way of climbing to the very top of it. It would take a clear from Ward to secure the overall win, but today that was not to be – two rails meant the 2017 World Cup™ Champion dropped dramatically on the result list, leaving Fuchs and his team to celebrate yet another championship title, with Smolders in second and Fredricson in third. 

Great expectations

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The top three in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2022: Martin Fuchs, Harrie Smolders and Jens Fredricson. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“I am very pleased with Monaco, this is actually his first championship and I wasn’t sure how he would be,” Vice Champion Smolders said. “I knew he could do it on one day, like in Geneva and Den Bosch, but over three days is a totally different story. He is coping really easy and I think this will not be his last championship. He was sold to Evergate Stables when he was nine. We have worked together for several years and I am very grateful that I have such good owners with Jennifer Gates and Nayel Nassar, who were here today. That means already a lot and it is fantastic to have such a group of people behind me.” 

“I tried to do my best,” Fredricson said about his podium finish in what has been a fabulous return to the top-level sport for the Swede. “I knew I have a very good horse and I have been in good form. I got some good competitions before coming here, so I had great expectations coming here actually – I wanted to win, but I always do. However, I am very happy to be third. I enjoyed every second here. The other ones are at home, looking at TV and I can ride and be with my horse, I just enjoy every second. I think it is fantastic to be here, doing what I love.” 

“I started riding him when he was five,” Fredricson told about his journey with the fantastic Markan Cosmopolit. “I told Henrik Ankarcrona last year that I am ready now, I want to do something more than national shows. I asked him to send me to Aachen and that was the first time my horse actually did something bigger, and he was double clear there and suddenly, the doors were open. I did Oslo and Verona and qualified for this, it has been a good start. A lot has changed since I was riding on this level last. I have had the advantage of following my brother getting to world number one, and we talk almost every day so even if I have not been at the shows, I have been there mentally and followed his thinking and his development – and I have been at home trying to do the same things. I have changed a bit in my approach to the fences. Now, I have a horse with very big scope and then I can sit a bit more still and have a better style. Before, with Lunatic, I had to throw my heart over and then we went over together – the style was maybe not the best. Now, when I look at the videos it looks quite ok, I have changed. I think I am blessed to have such a good contact with my little brother. That is one of the most fantastic things in our sport; I am 55 and I am getting better every day. If I was running 100 meter, I would be less good every day – that is the difference.” 



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