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Guerdat goes into the history books with third Longines FEI World Cup-title

Sunday, 07 April 2019
Longines FEI World Cup Final 2019

Photo © World of Showjumping by Jenny Abrahamsson. Steve Guerdat celebrates his third World Cup title, this time with the 10-year-old gelding Alamo. Photo © World of Showjumping by Jenny Abrahamsson.

 

Text by World of Showjumping 

 


 

Steve Guerdat (SUI) wrote himself into the history books of showjumping today when winning his third World Cup-title, joining the legendary three-timers Hugo Simon (AUT), Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) and Marcus Ehning (GER).

Sitting third coming into Sunday, after having won Thursday’s opener and then having one pole down in Friday’s competition, Guerdat took back the lead after jumping clear in today’s first round – and made sure to not give it away when following up with a second clear in round two. With his victory, the Swiss 36-year-old – who also won in Las Vegas in 2015 with Albführen’s Paille and in Gothenburg in 2016 with Corbinian and was twice second with Nino des Buissonnets in 2012 and 2013 – joined the World Cup-circuit’s Hall of Fame in Gothenburg today. 

It was very tight on top of the overall classification as Sunday’s two decisive rounds approached. Less than a rail separated the four riders tied in rank four on a score of three penalties, from leading rider Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (ESP). As the competition got underway there was no room for error. 

Santiago Varela (ESP) had again build two master-pieces for the final rounds in Gothenburg, and his courses made it a nail-biting afternoon in Scandinavium. 

Photo © World of Showjumping by Jenny Abrahamsson So close: Just one penalty separated vice-champion Martin Fuchs and Clooney 51 from Guerdat and Alamo. Photo © World of Showjumping by Jenny Abrahamsson.

Entering the top ten, both Max Kühner (AUT) on Chardonnay 79 (Clarimo x Corrado I) as well as Daniel Deusser (GER) on Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z (Tangelo vd Zuuthoeve x Mr. Blue) showed their strength to go clear in the first round – and sitting on only six penalties each the heat was on the remaining riders. Four riders later, Martin Fuchs (SUI) and Clooney 51 (Cornet Obolensky x Ferragamo) proved why they are considered one of the best pairs in the world when jumping a clear round to take the lead on their overnight score of three penalties. 

Taking only two penalties into Sunday’s rounds, Guerdat added nothing to his score when producing a masterful round on Alamo (Ukato x Equador) – and the pressure was on Peder Fredricson (SWE) and Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (ESP) as next to go. Like many other, Fredricson’s Catch Me Not S (Cardento x Ramiro’s Son) had the upright at fence no. ten down – where many of the horses seemed to drag themselves in deep and knocking the top rail out of the cups. Adding four penalties to his score making it five in total, the home hero was suddenly behind both Guerdat and Fuchs. For Alvarez Aznar, it was not to be. Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot had two rails down, putting them on eight penalties. 

As the second round got underway, only one rail separated Guerdat on top from Deusser and Kühner sitting tied in 4th. Any mistakes within the top five would turn out costly. Coming from behind, it was only Oliver Philippaerts (BEL) and H&M Legend of Love (Landzauber x Corgraf) that had managed to produce a clear in round two – those following him all had to see one or two poles fall. This was unfortunately also the case for Kühner who had the two last jumps down, dropping on the scoreboard. 

Photo © World of Showjumping by Jenny Abrahamsson Home hero Peder Fredricson and Catch Me Not S finished third overall. Photo © World of Showjumping by Jenny Abrahamsson.

Deusser however delivered the first double clear round of the competition, finishing on an overall score of six penalties – breathing in the necks of the three riders in front of him. But, as next to go Fredricson kept his cool and when he crossed the finish line with a clear round Scandinavium erupted into a standing ovation celebrating their hero who had secured himself a place on the podium.

As Fuchs entered the ring, there was tension in the air in Scandinavium – the spectators at the edge of their seats as Clooney cleared jump by jump by jump. Despite the pressure, the 26-year-old rider kept it together and delivered the second double clear of the class – taking the lead on his penalty score of three. 

It was almost unbearable to watch as Guerdat set Alamo in canter. With one penalty separating him from Fuchs, the only option was a clear round. Focused as few can be, Guerdat however seemed untouched by the silence that suddenly sunk over a fully-seated Scandinavium. Keeping any nerves that might have been there safely stored away, Guerdat yet again demonstrated why he is world no. one and has list of titles most would dream of when piloting Alamo to another clear round. For a few moments it was as if Guerdat could not grasp what had just happened, a third World Cup title – and a place in the history books, where legends belong.

 

 


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