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Fuchs first in round one of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2022

Thursday, 07 April 2022
Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2022

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs finished first in the opening round of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2022 in Leipzig, Germany, riding the 15-year-old stallion Chaplin. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

 

Text © World of Showjumping

 


 

Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs finished first in the opening round of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2022 in Leipzig, Germany, riding the 15-year-old stallion Chaplin (Verdi TN x Concorde).

Jumped as a Table C competition set at 1.60m, where three seconds were added per fault made, the riders had the opportunity to take risk today as the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2022 got underway, two years after its last edition. Frank Rothenberger and Christian Wiegand’s thirteen-fence track proved more than tricky enough, and it was the last line that caused the most trouble – with the neutral-coloured plank at fence 12, coming off three short strides from the triple bar, followed by five following or six short strides to the last oxer, falling again and again. Many riders also had to add three seconds to their time due to the first element of the combination at 9ab – a red upright – falling. 

“It was definitely tricky, but I don’t think it was the biggest course that we rode in the past few weeks or months,” Martin Fuchs commented after the first round. “It was a very nicely built course with some difficulties at the end, with the combination out of the corner and the last line with a very short three strides to a high plank with an option of five or six strides to the last oxer.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Martin Fuchs and Chaplin on the way to victory in Leipzig. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

The first rider to post a clear round was Geir Gulliksen (NOR) on his veteran VDL Groep Quatro (Quaprice Bois Margot x Caletto I), who as number three to go answered all the questions asked to stop the clock at 69.23 seconds. However, today’s competition was not only about keeping the fences up, but also about being fast, and Gulliksen was quickly passed by Gerrit Nieberg (GER) on Ben (Sylvain x Quincy Jones), who despite having 9a down took over the lead with a total time of 68.36 seconds.

Mclain Ward (USA) is without doubt one of the fastest riders in the world and showed how it was possible to shave off seconds on the leading time. Aboard the 13-year-old Contagious (Contagio x For Keeps), Ward produced the quickest, and perhaps the most beautiful, round of the day – crossing the finish line in 64.94 seconds, unfortunately having to add three seconds for having the oxer at seven down which put him temporarily first on the score board with a total of 67.94. “I thought Contagious performed brilliant, he was right there for me,” Ward said about his round. “I got a better jump into that line that I had the fault in and I tried to be a little careful not to get to the next fence too early and added a stride, which was a foolish mistake. But we are still in the mix and I am happy with his performance. I thought the course was very fair, not the biggest first leg I have ever seen. And there was no real gimmick fence, sometimes in the speed leg you see a gimmicky kind of joker fence, you did not see that today, which certainly took that spook factor out of it. But it was still a challenge, and it is a championship, so you got to perform. Obviously the courses will get bigger and harder, I hope that we stay close with that mistake and I think Contagious will continue to perform well.” 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Austria's Max Kühner and Elektric Blue P finished second in round one of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2022. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

As first in the ring after the break, home hero David Will (GER) entered fully focused with the 14-year-old C Vier (Cardento x Concorde), riding a great round with neat and tight rollbacks and turns, finishing on a clean sheet in 67.48 seconds – pushing Ward down to rank two. 

However, Will’s lead only lasted six riders, as Max Kühner (AUT) and the lovely 11-year-old Elektric Blue P (Eldorado v. Zeshoek x For Pleasure) cruised around effortlessly in 66.19 seconds – the new leading time. Not long after, Conor Swail (IRL) pushed in between Kühner and Will with a brilliant clear round on the 15-year-old Count Me In (Count Grannus x Sherlock Holmes) in a time of 67.06 seconds.

Defending champion Steve Guerdat (SUI) did not have the best day aboard Victorio Des Frotards (Barbarian x Prince Ig’Or), with three rails down, two of which came on the last line, and finished 25th out of the 35 in the class. 

Coming in straight after, Guerdat’s compatriot and friend Martin Fuchs (SUI) delivered though – as he has on so many big occasions over the last years. Vice Champion in Gothenburg in 2019, Fuchs had partnered up with the 15-year-old Chaplin for this first round, and piloted the stallion perfectly around the track to cross the finish line clear in 65.11 seconds – taking over the lead from Kühner with only one competitor remaining. Jens Fredricson (SWE) could do nothing about the leading time though, but delivered a solid clear to go into 7th place with Markan Cosmopolit (Cohiba x Calido I) in 68.41 seconds. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Third place went to Ireland's Conor Swail and Count Me In. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“I had a good draw going in second last, so I got to see most of the other riders,” Fuchs said. “I knew my horse is very fast and super careful, so I had an exact plan and rode the course following this plan. It all worked out; I did take risk to go fast but I did not take the last risk to go as fast as possible. Mclain Ward was faster than I was today, but he had a rail down. My plan was actually to be a little bit quicker than Mclain so that in case I had a rail down I would still be placed in the top five.” 

With his first place, Fuchs now tops the standings overnight on 36 points, while Kühner sits second on 34 points, Swail third on 33 points, Will fourth on 32 points and Ward fifth on 31 points. 

“Tomorrow will be another round, a very big one and I will be riding The Sinner,” Fuchs said about his plan moving forwards. “Since Chaplin is already a bit older, I did not want to do the whole championship just on him. The Sinner has been in good shape over the last few weeks and normally on Sunday I will be riding Chaplin again for the final.” 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ "It all worked out; I did take risk to go fast but I did not take the last risk to go as fast as possible," Fuchs said after his win. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“This is just the start – and I am very happy with ours,” Max Kühner said after placing second with Elektric Blue P. “We still have to jump two more days and it won’t get easier, so it is not done yet, we keep going. I am very lucky with my horse, he can jump a lot and only gets better. I look forward to the next days, but there are also some other very good horses in the field.” 

“This is my first World Cup Final,” third placed Conor Swail commented. “I have qualified a few times before, but never felt like I had the horse to do it. This time, the horse I have is extremely careful and he’s got a big heart. We got a good start today, he jumped beautifully. I have had him since May last year. He has so much quality and does not make many mistakes – it is easier to ride when you have so much quality. He has such a great temperament, he is careful and fast, he is such a great horse, we have a great relationship going. If there will be mistakes in the coming days, they are more likely to be mine. Today, I think the course was not the biggest course but there were a lot of tight turns and you had to be agile and quick doing a few of those rollbacks.” 

“I am very happy with the result and my horse today,” David Will said after taking the fourth place in his first World Cup Final start – being the best of the home riders. “We did not have a great warm-up, C Vier lost a shoe, but in the ring he was really focused, which makes me really happy also ahead of the coming days. Even with everything leading up to our round not being perfect, he was great inside. In the ring, everything worked out pretty much according to plan, of course C Vier did his part, I am very happy with the way it was today. He is an absolutely outstanding horse. I did a lot of ‘firsts’ with him; I did my first European Championship with him; he was also very good there and now this is my first World Cup Final. And we are in Germany, which makes it even more special. I really believe that C Vier helps me to put my sporting career to the next level. He has endless scope and always gives me the feeling that the fences could be three holes bigger, so that will not be a problem here I think. I feel confident going forward, he is coping so well with the atmosphere here.” 



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