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Henrik von Eckermann entertains Gothenburg with another World Cup win

Sunday, 25 February 2018
CSI5*-W Gothenburg 2018

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
The winners: Henrik von Eckermann and Mary Lou. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Just like last year, home hero Henrik von Eckermann and the 12-year-old mare Mary Lou (Montendro x Portland L) secured the victory in the CSI5*-W Longines FEI World Cup after an electric jump-off in Scandinavium.

The weekend’s highlight in Gothenburg, Sweden, was the 1,750,000 SEK World Cup – which was the 13th and last qualifier in the Western European League before the final in April that is staged in Paris.

With some of the riders still looking to pick up the last points needed for a ticket to the final, it was a hungry starting field of 33 horse-and-rider combinations lining up. The 1.60m course set by the Swedish course designer Peter Lundström counted 13 obstacles and 16 efforts. "The course was massive, being indoors," Lundström told the press afterwards. "I am very happy with how the class turned out, and I think the riders and horses gave the audience a great show." 

A total of eleven pairs cleared the first round and joined the jump-off over a shortened, eight-fence track. When last year's winning pair, Henrik von Eckermann and Mary Lou, attacked the jump-off track you could have heard a pin drop. Crossing the finish line in 36,89 seconds, the Swede took the lead and the roof of Scandinavium was about the fly off – just like twelve months ago. 

"When I saw the plan for the jump-off, I knew it suited my horse. She has been in amazing shape lately, so I felt confident going in," Von Eckermann commented on his strategy. "But I did know I had some hungry guys coming after me, so I was definitely not sure I had gone fast enough." Heading to the final as the leader of the overall standings in the Western European league, Von Eckermann is trying to stay realistic. "It is still a really long way to Paris, and there are so many things that can go wrong. But, I was third in Omaha last year and I am hoping not do worse than that." 

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Runner-up: Olivier Philippaerts with H&M Legend of Love. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Last to go, Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) on the 12-year-old mare H&M Legend of Love (Landzauber x Corgraf) got closest to the Swede taking the runner-up position with a time of 37,42 seconds. "My last time in Gothenburg was not that pleasant," Philippaert commented afterwards referring to his injury sustained at the European Championships last year. Having done an amazing recovery, the Belgian rider was very happy with his second-place finish. "It is great to be back on top shape. Now that I am qualified for the Paris Final, I have to change my plans. I was not thinking about making it. But now that I got in, I for sure want to go and do my best." 

Michael Whitaker (GBR) on the 12-year-old mare JB's Hot Stuff (Locarno x Cavalier Royale) took the third place with a time of 37,52 seconds. "To be honest, I thought I was fast enough," he said. Having done over 20 World Cup Finals in his career, the British legend has once again secured himself a spot in Paris. "Would be about time I win there, then," Whitaker joked on his plans for the final. 

Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) on the 11-year-old gelding H&M Harley vd Bisschop (Dulf van den Bisschop x Coronado) took the fourth place, while Aldrick Cheronnet (FRA) on the 11-year-old gelding Tanael des Bonnes (Watch Me*hoy x Don Pierre) placed fifth. Marcus Ehning (GER) on the 13-year-old stallion Comme Il Faut (Cornet Obolensky x Ramiro) clocked the fastest time of the day, being only fractions faster than Von Eckermann when he stopped the clocks on 36,86 but one pole down left him in seventh place. 

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Michael Whitaker and JB's Hot Stuff finished third. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.


Text and picture © World of Showjumping



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