Uma O’Neill with Clockwise of Greenhill Z. (FEI/Cara Grimshaw)
It only took one round of jumping to determine the winner of the $145,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver (CAN). Uma O’Neill (USA) jumped the only clear round aboard Clockwise of Greenhill Z to win the class without a jump-off.
Second to jump the Alan Wade (IRL) designed track, O’Neill’s round held sway as the only faultless performance throughout the remainder of the 29-strong field. Defending champion Conor Swail (IRL) and Rubens La Silla finished second with the fastest 4-fault round (74.26 seconds), knocking only a careful plank vertical that fell often throughout the afternoon. Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (MEX) and Tino la Chapelle (4, 75.87) finished third. O’Neill’s win was her first in a World Cup qualifier.
“I am ecstatic. I just went out and gave it everything I could today and asked a little bit extra of myself and my horse, and it really paid off!” — Uma O’Neill (USA)
Wade challenged the riders with numerous technical nuances on course. The course designer from the 2018 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Paris (FRA) said he never designs with a number of clear rounds in mind.
“There were a lot of little tests out there,” he said. “[The course] was solved very early on — second horse in — so we knew it was solvable. There were a lot of riders with 4 faults that, I believe, felt that if they had a second chance, they would have gone clear. But that’s one of the great things about show jumping: You get one chance, and you have to take it. We got a lot of excitement and anxiety from people knocking polls late [in the class]. It doesn’t all have to be about speed [in a jump-off]. It is showjumping after all. I think it was good sport.”
The competition at Vancouver was the first of the 2018-2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League, which will send seven east coast U.S. riders, three west coast U.S. riders, two Canadian riders, two Mexican riders and defending World Cup Champion Beezie Madden (USA) to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg (SWE) in April 2019. O’Neill, 23, now leads the standings of the west coast sub league with 20 points.
Swail declared for the east coast sub league, so he takes over those standings with 17 points. Salgado, meanwhile, will move into the runner-up slot in the west coast with 15 points.
By Catie Staszak
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