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Switzerland’s Guerdat and Is-Minka steal the show in Bordeaux

Sunday, 04 February 2024
CSI5*-W Jumping International de Bordeaux 2024

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Steve Guerdat and Is-Minka, winners of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2023/2024 Western European League in Bordeaux. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Edited press release from FEI written by Louise Parkes



In the dramatic penultimate leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2023/2024 Western European League in Bordeaux (FRA) on Saturday evening, Swiss superstar Steve Guerdat steered his own exciting mare Is-Minka (Mylord Carthago x Flyinge Quite Easy, bred by G.J. Kappert) into pole position with a brilliant jump-off performance.

The three-time FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion and the 11-year-old grey have been knocking on the door in recent months, and it seemed only a matter of time before they put it all together and came up with a big result. The 2012 individual Olympic gold medallist, whose consistency in the World Cup series is second to none, said: "It’s so exciting, I’m really, really happy! We had a bit of bad luck with a lot of four faults in our first five-star Grand Prixs, but today she showed what she’s capable of and I think it’s only the beginning of a very successful story with her!"

The French crowd had plenty to cheer about when their own young star, 22-year-old Jeanne Sadran, slotted into second with Dexter de Kerglenn (Mylord Carthago x Diamant de Semilly, bred by E.A.R.L. Alain Richard) ahead of Great Britain’s Harry Charles and Sherlock (Bisquet Balou C x Malito de Reve, bred by Gustaaf Quintelier) in third. Fourth spot went to Belgium’s Pieter Devos with Casual DV Z (Cornet Obolensky x Cicero Z, bred by Devos Stables) while home hero Roger Yves Bost slotted into fifth with Ballerine du Vilpion (Baloubet du Rouet x Quidam de Revel, bred by Christophe Legros) and Israel’s Isabella Russekoff and C Vier 2 (Cardento x Concorde, bred by W. Wolters) finished last of the six who qualified for the jump-off.

No easy day

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Steve Guerdat and Is-Minka delivered the first clear in the first round. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

This was no easy day at the office, French course designer Jean-Francois Morand setting a 14-fence first-round track that championship veteran Guerdat described as “pretty tough - it started with two big jumps and that really backed up the horses, and then the triple combination (fence 6) was very difficult but she (Is-Minka) is a very good combination jumper and she showed that today." 

The back bar of the oxer at fence 10 also claimed multiple victims, and with five retirements there were just 27 finishers from the 36 starters, but the second-round jump-off against the clock kept the 6,000 spectators on the edges of their seats.


Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. "He is a genius for sure," the second placed Jeanne Sadran said about her horse Dexter de Kerglenn. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

In the jump-off, Guerdat and Is-Minka threw down the gauntlet with a fast, smooth pathfinding round that stopped the clock on 40.34 seconds and it was up to the rest to better that. In her first-ever World Cup jump-off, Russekoff was clear to the very last with the wonderful C Vier 2 who carried Germany’s David Will to European team silver in 2021 and who joined the Florida-based Israeli rider’s string 12 months ago. Then Bosty set the home crowd alight with a great clear that just wasn’t quite quick enough when the clock showed 44.39 seconds, and although Charles shaved almost two seconds off that, Guerdat was still well out in front with two left to go. 

The French had another reason to get excited when Sadran rode into the electrified Bordeaux ring, producing a fabulous run with the 11-year-old stallion Dexter whose partnership with his 22-year-old rider is a joy to behold. The crowd gave the pair a standing ovation even though they crossed the line 1.41 seconds slower than the Swiss rider’s target time to squeeze ahead of Charles into second place, because they knew they’d witnessed something special. Last to go, Devos was clear but a little cautious with his nine-year-old home-bred mare Casual DV Z to push Bost down to fourth. 

For Guerdat there was the satisfaction of victory and for runner-up Sadran, who has enjoyed a tremendous winter season with Dexter, there was affirmation of their place amongst the stars. For third-placed Charles there was a sense of the cementing of his partnership with Sherlock who won the seventh leg of the Western European League at La Coruna (ESP) in December but who looked even more solid today in both rounds.


Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. "He did everything I asked him so I’m very happy and very proud of him," third placed Harry Charles said about his horse Sherlock. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Charles, who described the first round track as “relentless”, said he was very happy with Sherlock: “He should have been clear in the World Cup last week in Amsterdam, just had a small mistake at the last jump, but I’m happy to have put it right this week and I’m very proud of him. He’s still very new at this level and he felt pretty at ease around there so I have good hopes for the future”, he pointed out. 

He said his third-place finish was “one better than last year, we were fourth here last year so if I keep coming for the next two years I could be at the top sometime soon!” He stuck to his plan in the jump-off: “I saw Steve and he made it look a lot easier than it was. I thought maybe I could get him but then I realised quickly after the first three jumps I don’t think I’m actually close so just try to leave the jumps up. He (Sherlock) needs another few rounds at this height going at that speed to really get it. But I couldn’t have asked for more, he did everything I asked him so I’m very happy and very proud of him," the British rider said.


Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. "I’m so proud of my mare and my whole team and it’s a very nice day to remember," Guerdat said. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Talking about her jump-off ride, Sadran said: "I knew I was quick but not to touch Steve. My horse needs to learn to turn a little bit more smooth - but next time!” Jumping in front of her home crowd was a real treat. “It’s something special, especially because I need to pick up points for the Final and normally after today I will qualify for the Final in Riyadh and it’s super-nice for me tonight," she pointed out. "I’m more proud of my horse because he’s 11 years old and still young but he is a genius for sure! He can do everything, he is so confident, and today he proved that he is one of the best horses in the world for sure." 

Meanwhile Guerdat, who also won in Bordeaux four years ago riding Victorio des Frotard, said: "The first time I won the World Cup here felt unbelievable and this is the second time. I’m so proud of my mare and my whole team and it’s a very nice day to remember!” Asked if he is excited about going to the Final in April he replied: “Yes! But right now I just want to enjoy this victory especially for my mare. She should have left me last year after she won a Grand Prix, but thanks to my father-in-law he secured her for me so she could stay and go the whole way with me." 

Guerdat has an incredible record at the World Cup Final, with 12 top-10 places along with his three wins. Saturday's result has moved him up to fifth place on the league leaderboard behind fourth-place Kevin Staut from France, Britain’s Ben Maher and Harry Charles in third and second and Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann who remains in pole position ahead of the defence of the title he won with King Edward in 2023.

The 14th and final leg of the Western European League will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden, in three weeks’ time. 


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