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Pieter Devos risks all to win the Longines FEI World Cup of Bordeaux

Sunday, 04 February 2018
CSI5*-W Bordeaux 2018

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Pieter Devos and Espoir won the Longines FEI World Cup in Bordeaux. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

The 12th leg of Longines FEI World Cup in the Western European League took place in Bordeaux, France, on Saturday night. The enthusiastic crowds rode every jump with the 40 of the best horse-and-rider combinations on start, and the evening offered plenty of edge-of-the-seat action. With 180,000 Euro of prize money on offer, the Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani presented the riders with a challenging 1.60m track, that for the first round counted 13 obstacles and 16 efforts. As the action got underway, it turned out to be the triple combination at fence number ten that caused some headache, as did the final line. The penultimate oxer was filled with Vezzani’s trademark green hedges, an element often seen in his courses and it finished with a delicate plank, that a few riders unfortunately saw falling. Ten pairs cleared the first round and joined the jump-off over a shortened, seven-fence track. 

It was Pieter Devos (BEL) on the 14-year-old gelding Espoir (Surcouf de Revel x Laudanum xx) that took the maximum risk to bring home the win, braving a turn that no one before him had done to the third last fence. Without holding anything back, he then took an extremely bold canter to the final fence, stopping the clocks on 36,53 seconds.

The German mastermind Marcus Ehning (GER) on the 15-year-old stallion Cornado NRW (Cornet Obolensky x Acobat) got close, but not close enough. Crossing the finish line in 38,09 seconds, Ehning had to settle for the runner-up position. Manuel Fernandez Saro (ESP) on the 14-year-old gelding Cannavaro 9 (Cornet Obolensky x Florestan) took the third spot with a time of 38,40, while Paul Estermann (SUI) on the 12-year-old gelding Lord Pepsi (Lord Pezi x Santander H) placed fourth with a time of 39,47. As last to go in the jump-off, the always quick Carlos Enrique Lopez Lizarazo (COL) on the 13-year-old gelding Admara 2 (Padinus x Murano) looked ready to match Devos' risk taking, but with a pole on the ground in 37,79 seconds the pair had to settle for fifth position. 

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Second place went to Marcus Ehning and Cornado NRW. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

"I think for my personal feeling, the line from one to two was more risky than the last line," the happy winner told the press afterwards. "Because I took a lot of risk to number two. Then after the red oxer I did not have the best turn, so I wanted to create a bit time on the last line – but it felt the fence was just getting further and further away. It was risky, but we got there," Devos said.

"For me it is really nice, it means I have really nice horses and I am happy to have them in my stable," Devos went on to comment on the fact that during the season he has picked up points at three events, each time with a different horse.

"I tried, but I missed. By far," second-placed Marcus Ehning said. "I saw Pieter go in the jump-off, and I knew he would difficult to beat. It was a very delicate jump-off, with a few turns and some long runs. I did try," he said. Only horses that have competed in a World Cup qualifier during the season are qualified to start in the Paris final in April – and Ehning is not short of options; he has started with four different ones. To the question if Cornado will be his choice in April, Ehning's answer was short: "Maybe." 

"I think it was a nice competition, and that Pieter did a fantastic jump-off," third placed Manuel Fernandez Saro commented. "I think I lost from one to two; I took too many strides there," he said.

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Manuel Fernandez Saro and Cannavaro 9 placed third. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Text and picture © World of Showjumping

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