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Stephanie Holmén with sensational Longines FEI World Cup win in Zürich

Sunday, 28 January 2018
CSI5*-W Zürich 2018

Photo (c) World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen Stephanie Holmén and Flip's Little Sparrow won the Longines FEI World Cup in Zürich. Photo (c) World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen.

The 11th leg of the Longines FEI World Cup Western European League took place in Zürich, Switzerland, on Sunday afternoon and it was Sweden's Stephanie Holmén who took a phenomenal win in her second-ever World Cup start. 

With 243,000 CHF in prize money on offer, 39 of the very best horse-and-rider combinations in the world were lined up for the challenge set by the Swiss course designer Guido Balsiger. The 1.60m course counted 13 obstacles and 16 efforts in the first round, and a total of 14 pairs kept a clean score, joining the jump-off over a shortened, eight-fence track. 

Second out in the jump-off, Stephanie Holmén (SWE) on the 12-year-old mare Flip's Little Sparrow (Cardento x Robin Z) took very brave inside turns and set the standard for the rest to follow with an incredible time of 38,79 seconds. In the end, no one mastered the turns like the young Swede, who snatched her first World Cup win in her second attempt.

"Peder told me to do the inside turns," an overwhelmed winner told the press afterwards. "I said I could not do it, it looked too tight to me! At the gate Peder said again: “Do it!"”, she explained. "I am so happy that it all worked out today. Peder told me to go outside my comfort zone, and I did. This is only my second World Cup start ever."

Stephanie, who has worked at Grevlunda Stables for Lisen and Peder Fredricson for over four years now, thanked her bosses for the chances she has gotten. "I am so thankful for the opportunities they have given me. And I don't want to let them down."

The Swedish rider also took time to talk about her special ride Flip's Little Sparrow. "I fell in love with her the first day I had her. She does everything for me. In the first round, I lost my stirrup for a moment and she just jumped her heart out for me today." 

Photo (c) World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen Stephanie Holmén celebrates her Longines FEI World Cup-win in Zürich. Photo (c) World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen.

Pius Schwizer (SUI) on the 9-year-old mare About A Dream (Clinton x Indoctro) got closest to the Swedish talent, taking the runner-up position with a time of 39,90 seconds, while Kevin Staut (FRA) on the 12-year-old stallion Silver Deux de Virton HDC (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Heartbreaker) placed third after clocking a time of 40,72 seconds. 

"I am really happy with this result," Kevin said afterwards. "My horse has been improving a lot. I think it is great to have new faces pushing us, I think it is good for the sport," he continued, praising the winner: "Stephanie's jump-off was fantastic." 

Michael Whitaker (GBR) on the 12-year-old mare JB's Hot Stuff (Locarno 62 x Cavalier Royale) took the fourth place with a time of 40,85 seconds and the fifth spot went to Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) on the 12-year-old mare H&M Legend of Love (Landzauber x Corgraf), after the pair clocked a time of 40,98 seconds in the jump-off.

As this was the last time for the event in Zürich after 30 years in the jumping calendar, FEI Jumping Director John Roche thanked the organizers of the event for their long commitment and friendship: "I find it hard to say goodbye," he said. "On behalf of the FEI I want to thank the organizers for everything they have done for the sport." 

It was a good day for the team at Grevlunda, with Peder Fredricson (SWE) topping the first class of the day, VERIT Immobilien AG Trophy, a 1.50m with a jump-off. Riding his newest arrival Hansson WI (Hip Hop x Iowa), Fredricson clocked the winning time of 35,38 seconds. Michael Whitaker (GBR) on the 9-year-old stallion Valmy de la Lande (Mylord Carthago x Starter) took the runner-up position with a time of 36,19 seconds, while Marit Haar Skollerud (NOR) on the 10-year-old stallion Dublin van Overis (Darco x Kashmir van Schuttershof) took the third spot with a time of 40,91. With a pole down each, Paul Estermann (SUI) on the 10-year-old stallion Curtis Sitte (Ugano Sitte x Chellano Z) had to settle for fourth place, while Walter Gabathuler (SUI) finished fifth.

Text and pictures © World of Showjumping

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