Tag Archives: FEI World Cup

Smolders Is the Master at Mechelen

Harrie Smolders and Zinius pictured with FEI President Ingmar de Vos.

Dutchman Harrie Smolders (37) out-paced all comers to win the ninth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League at Mechelen in Belgium. Riding the 13-year-old gelding Zinius, he set an unbeatable target with a fearless run when fourth to go in a seven-horse jump-off. Runner-up spot went to Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (36) who has now soared to the top of the league table while Italy’s Luca de Lorenzo (30) lined up third. Smolders was a man with a plan.

“I never won before at Mechelen and I really wanted to do it, so I was totally focused. When I got into the jump-off I just wanted to win. I was never riding for second place so I took the risk by taking a stride out to the last. And this is very special because I came here with all my family – my kids, my wife and my parents – it was an unforgettable moment and I’m very thankful to the crowd. The atmosphere here is always really intense and it gives us even more of a push to show what we can do!” — Harrie Smolders (NED)

This result with Zinius was particularly rewarding because this is a horse that is stepping up to the plate.

“He is still developing, but now that Emerald and Don (his other two top horses) are having a break he gets a chance to show in the biggest classes and he has picked it up very quickly. I’m a bit surprised that he makes it look so easy!” Smolders added.

It was no walk in the park either, with Eddy Geysemans’ tough first-round track getting the better of many of the best in the sport. The time-allowed of 67 seconds saw three miss the cut into the jump-off when picking up just one annoying time penalty, but German ace, Ludger Beerbaum, already had four on the board with Chacon before getting four more for an awkward jump at the last and then hitting the deck when Chacon mistakenly took on part of the double at fence five in the wrong direction. The man who claimed Germany’s first-ever FEI World Cup™ title back in 1993 is under medical care with an open shoulder fracture, and the horse world is wishing him a very swift recovery.

Two more former World Cup champions, Beerbaum’s fellow-countrymen Christian Ahlmann with Taloubet Z and Daniel Deusser with Cornet d’Amour, led the way against the clock with Deusser setting the standard when clear in 40.51 seconds. But Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann and Mary Lou were almost two seconds quicker when breaking the beam in 38.74 to put it up to the rest of them. Smolders wasn’t intimidated, however, stopping the clock on 38.19, so when de Luca and Halifax van het Kluizebos were clear in 39.97 seconds and Frenchman Roger Yves Bost posed no challenge in 42.17 seconds it was game over.

As 2018 begins and with just four of the 13 Western European league qualifiers remaining, the next taking place in Leipzig (GER) on 21 January, Smolders has 25 points on the board and may re-think his new year agenda.

“I wasn’t planning to go to the Final in Paris but now we might have a meeting and set some new goals,” he said. “I will do a few qualifiers anyway and I want to get Emerald out to a few shows, maybe get him ready by Gothenburg (in February) if I can. We will see, but this win is the perfect end to a great year for me!” said the delighted winner.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Super Sunday at Olympia

Photo: Julien Epaillard aboard Toupie de la Roque.

The Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Leg provided an afternoon of exhilarating sport in the Olympia Grand Hall, with only four of the 36 starters jumping a clear in the first round. As the penultimate to go in the jump-off, Britain’s Scott Brash set the packed crowd alight, jumping clear in a time which looked like it could be the winning round. However, the notoriously speedy Julien Epaillard, riding Toupie de la Roque, knocked Scott off the pole position to take the victory by 0.43 seconds.

The day kicked off with The Pony Club Mini-Major, which went to 11-year-old Poppy Deakin and the in-form Laura Renwick, with ponies also taking to the fore in the opening class of the evening session, The Mistletoe Mini Stakes, which was won by Rachel Proudley.

The evening CSI5* class, The Ivy Stakes, proved to be another challenging content, with just six clears through to the jump-off; however, a speed masterclass from John Whitaker secured the victory, ahead of Ben Maher and Laura Renwick, to make a British one-two-three.

Away from the world class sporting action, The Kennel Club Large Novice Dog Agility Final was won by Sara Bacon with Tynevermoor Torque, and the two Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand Nationals of the day went to Madeline Reeder Smith and Zak Kent.

John Whitaker’s assiduous scrutinising of the jump-off course for The Ivy Stakes paid off in spades as he found the most audacious turn which had the crowd roaring their appreciation.

The cheers became deafening as his winning time of 33.17 seconds flashed up, signalling the 62-year-old’s second victory of the week on his own and wife Clare’s 15-year-old stallion Argento.

It was a thrilling end to a great day’s sport with a British one-two-three, Ben Maher second on Madame X and Laura Renwick third on MHS Washington, with the younger riders all quick to acknowledge a genius ride.

“I studied the course carefully because I knew Kevin [Staut, eventual fourth on S&L Through the Looking Glas] was last to go and I had to do something,” explained John, who has been competing here for four decades.

“It shows what a good horse he is because when we did the sharp turn the crowd gave a big cheer and that could have put him off. This show is special, with the crowds and Christmas and everything. It’s a great feeling and I feel lucky to still be in the sport.”

Poppy Deakin, 11, secured the win in The Pony Club Mini-Major relay that had previous escaped both of her sisters, Daisy and Kirsten.

“I wanted to come here and do better than them,” said Olympia first-timer Poppy with a cheeky smirk.

Riding 16-year-old Munsboro Plunkett, and partnering Britain’s leading lady rider Laura Renwick (Shiraz II), the Tynedale Pony Club branch member perfectly executed a tight turn back to the penultimate fence to take the class by more than one second.

“Poppy knew what she was doing,” said Laura. “I gave her hardly any advice. She was telling me how she was going to ride the course and she did what she said she would.”

Later on, North Yorkshire’s Rachel Proudley finally claimed her dream of winning The Mistletoe Mini Stakes with Painted Lady IV at the fourth attempt. “It’s my favourite show and it’s my last year riding her,” said Rachel, 12. “She’ll be staying in the family though, as she’ll now be ridden by my sister, Sarah.”

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Julien Epaillard Is Roque Solid in Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Leg

Julien Epaillard, riding Toupie de la Roque, became only the second Frenchman in history to win the Olympia leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping, thanks to a spectacular burst of speed in the jump-off which relegated last year’s winner, Scott Brash, to second place.

“It is a great honour for me to win at Olympia,” said the 40-year-old, who was 0.43 seconds faster than Scott. “It was a very difficult course, very technical – you needed scope but also great control.”

Course-designer Guillaume Jorge, who officiated at the Rio Olympics last year, set the high-quality field, which included six of the world’s top 10 riders, quite a challenge, and it wasn’t until the 21st to go, European Champion Peder Fredricson on H&M Christian K, that there was a clear round.

Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander, a wild card entry, followed with another clear on Inca Boy van T Vianahof, a nine-year-old produced in Britain by Tim Wilkes, in only her sixth competition on the horse. The winner here in 2008, she now heads the Longines FEI World Cup™ rankings joint with France’s Kevin Staut, who finished fifth today with just four faults.

Scott, who pronounced the course “challenging, but well thought out and jumpable”, raised the roof with his clear round on the 16-year-old Ursula Xll and hopes were high that he might score the first back-to-back win since Nick Skelton in 1984. However, despite the fantastic jump-off speed of 37.34 seconds, it wasn’t to be.

“I know Julien well and I knew how fast he would go, so fair play to him,” said Scott sportingly afterwards. “Ursula was fantastic and, although I would love to breed a foal from her, while she’s jumping like this, she certainly isn’t ready to retire.”

Scott is now 28th on the Longines FEI World Cup™ Rankings with five legs to go before the final in Paris in April.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Patrik Kittel Wins FEI World Cup Dressage Freestyle to Music

The world’s greatest dressage riders took to the arena for another night of thrilling competition which saw Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Delaunay OLD clinch the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound title with the smallest of margins ahead of Great Britain’s Emile Faurie.

Alongside the world-class dressage, spectators were treated to a jam-packed programme including performances from the Chilean Huasos and the Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police, a breath-taking dressage masterclass with Olympic stars Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin and speedy Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, which saw Beth Casasola riding Clothie Night Idiot finish in first place. The first show jumping class of the week took to the arena, with Staff Sgt Moore of the Defence Animal Training Regiment and his partner, Lucas, riding to victory in the Services Jumping Championship as the only horse and rider combination to finish clear in the time of 53.95 seconds.

A close competition was promised and the riders did not disappoint but it was Patrik Kittel and Delaunay OLD (Dude) (80.560%) that rocked the auditorium with a strong, rhythmic and faultless routine to win the FEI World Cup™ Freestyle to Music, supported by Horse & Hound, at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

The Swedish combination displayed a high degree of difficulty in the programme set to a medley by the rock group Guns and Roses that opened with a zig-zag of passage and piaffe, showed controlled double pirouettes to tempi changes and was on the beat throughout.

“The sport was really good and the standard was amazing tonight so I am just really happy to secure this win,” said Kittel, whose previous visit to Olympia was 13 years ago – when he then came last.

“I just loved how easy Dude found this test which has a high degree of difficulty – he just felt like he was cruising.”

The win takes Kittel to the top of the Western European World Cup™ League and he now looks certain for a place in the FEI World Cup™ final in Paris in April.

“I really love Paris and Dude is now qualified for the final so I hope nothing stops me going,” said Kittel.

It might have seemed a hard act to follow for British rider Emile Faurie and his new ride Delatio (80.405%) but the final combination of the night put in an impressive performance in their first competitive freestyle that made the most of the 13-year-old’s expressive paces, to come within a whisker – 0.155% – of the winner’s score. He is now just the fourth British rider to score over 80% at this venue.

“I just feel so lucky that after so many years without a really top horse, I now have a whole string,” said Emile who is now based part-time in Germany.

“Delatio does not have a lot of competitive experience but he is an awesome horse, such a trier and his ability to concentrate incredible.”

Grand Prix winners Edward Gal and Glock’s Zonik (79.340%) were close behind in third place. The Dutch Olympian was third last year and has been in the top three here on no less than four occasions since his last win at Olympia in 2009.

“We made a few mistakes tonight and Zonik was a little tense as he is not used to such a crowd, and you don’t get this atmosphere anywhere else but the crowd really appreciates the riders and it was good experience for Zonik,” said Gal.

British riders Lara Butler (Rubin Al Asad), Hayley Watson-Greaves (Rubins Nite) and Richard Davison (Bubblingh) all put in strong performances to finish in 5th, 6th and 7th place respectively and within 1.33% of each other.

Carl Hester once again took to the Olympia Grand Hall to put Charlotte Dujardin through her paces as part of his ‘the making of a Grand Prix horse’ masterclass. Charlotte was riding Carl’s Hawtins Delicato, a nine-year-old future prospect for which Carl has high hopes.

The session provided an exclusive insight into the transition required for a horse to step up to Grand Prix level, from perfecting the piaffe to mastering the mentality. Making his debut at Olympia, Hawtins Delicato took the ambiance in his stride, demonstrating the huge potential he has to be a star of the future.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Edward Gal Dominates on Opening Night of Olympia

The World’s best Dressage riders were out in force on the opening night of Olympia, The London International Horse Show, where Edward Gal (NED) was crowned winner of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound.

In addition to the top-class competition, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester took centre stage to give a dressage masterclass showcasing the training routine of a champion and performances from The Chilean Huasos and the Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch gave the crowd a night to remember. The Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National got off to a flying start with Ollie Proctor and Holydell Sensation passing the post in front to take the first victory of the week.

Popular Dutch dressage rider Edward Gal and the young stallion Glock’s Zonik (76.68%) claimed the FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

The win made a cold, slow journey from The Netherlands, that was beset by delays caused by the wintery weather, worthwhile. It was also an impressive display of horsemanship from Gal and talent from the expressive and elegant nine-year-old Glock’s Zonik, who was competing in just his third ever Grand Prix, and now has two wins and a second place on his CV. Highlights of the test include ground covering half-passes and particularly impressive elastic piaffe and passage.

“The journey here was really no fun at all,” said Gal, a winner of the FEI World Cup qualifier at Olympia in 2009 with the record breaking Totilas, before going on to win the FEI World Cup Final later that season. “We left home at 6am on Sunday and finally arrived in London at 6pm on Monday evening, but this win makes up for all that. I was really happy with Zonik especially as it was his first time in such a big atmospheric arena – this is really promising for the future.”

Swedish Olympian Patrik Kittel, who also endured a marathon journey to London, came a close second with the Oldenburg gelding Delaunay (75.10%). The pair performed a well presented and confident error free test. “I am very happy to be here for the second time,” said Kittel. “London is such a great show.”

Olympia debutant Madeleine Witte-Vrees from The Netherlands was third with the bright chestnut Cennin (73.72%), with whom she made her senior championship team debut in this year’s Europeans, while Emile Faurie and Delatio (72.86%) were the highest placed British combination. It was an impressive competitive Grand Prix debut for the pair, who has only been together for two months.

“Tonight’s Grand Prix was quite a challenge for the judges,” said Stephen Clarke, President of the Ground Jury. “They were many good combinations, some exciting expressive horses and scores that were close together.”

Charlotte Dujardin took to the Olympia Grand Hall for the first time since the retirement of her triple Olympic gold medal winning partner, Valegro, this time last year. Riding Mount St John Freestyle, Charlotte was put through her paces by mentor and Olympic team mate, Carl Hester, to display the key attributes and training methods for producing a champion.

Mount St John Freestyle, an eight-year-old Hanoverian mare, nick-named “Mrs Valegro” by Carl during the demonstration, is looking to step up to Grand Prix level next year, with the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games as the target. The composed performance showcased the exceptional talents of both horse and rider, who have already attained several titles together, including the recent Future Elite Championship and the Summer British Dressage National Championship.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Edwina Tops-Alexander Is the Queen of La Coruna

Photo: Edwina Tops-Alexander celebrating victory with her lovely mare, California. (FEI/Manuel Queimadelos)

Australian wonderwoman, Edwina Tops-Alexander (43), scorched to victory with the lovely mare California in the seventh leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League at La Coruna, Spain. In an eight-rider, eight-nation jump-off against the clock the three-time Olympian simply out-raced all the others who managed to leave Santiago Varela’s track intact, and the result leaves her within a few points of qualification for the Longines Final in Paris, France next April.

Austria’s Max Kuhner lined up second with Chardonnay while the home crowd-pleaser was third-placed Manuel Fernandez Saro with Cuidam. Tops-Alexander was filled with her trademark determination.

“California has been jumping great, but here and there we kept having stupid faults and I was getting a bit mad! I was determined to have a good class here yesterday, but it didn’t work. Today I did my best and it DID work, so now I’m really happy!” — Edwina Tops-Alexander (Australia)

Fernandez Saro produced the first clear of the jump-off when third to go, but his time of 43.89 seconds always looked beatable. Two horses later, Ireland’s Denis Lynch was also fault-free, but he didn’t pressure All Star who broke the beam in 45.77 seconds so eventually slotted into fourth place.

Tops-Alexander was taking no prisoners, however, galloping from the start and resetting the target at 40.08 seconds as she flew through the finish. She wasn’t entirely satisfied with her own performance: “I did one too many strides from (fence) 1 to (fence) 2, but that just made me go faster the rest of the way! I wasn’t convinced I was quick enough to win, I thought maybe I’d be second if I was lucky!” she pointed out afterwards. But Austria’s Max Kuhner trailed her by more than two seconds when second-last to go with his fabulous grey stallion who clinched runner-up spot.

Tops-Alexander said her 10-year-old mare had “a nice break” while the Australian star, who only stopped competing in March, waited for daughter Chloe to be born at the end of July. The horse-and-rider partnership returned to the ring in early September. “She’s an amazing horse, and when we both went back to work I came strong and she did too!” said the amazing athlete.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Schneider and Sammy Scoop the Honours in Salzburg

Dorothee Schneider and Sammy Davis Jr. (FEI/Daniel Kaiser)

It takes two to tango as every top-class Dressage rider knows, and Dorothee Schneider (48) and her lovely 11-year-old gelding Sammy Davis Jr. nailed it with the harmony they showed in their tango-themed test that won the fourth leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017/2018 Western European League at Salzburg in Austria.

“Sammy wants to present himself and he loves to dance, so he’s the perfect Freestyle horse! He’s good-looking with a character to match, and today was our best score so far – it’s exciting because we are coming together as a pair more and more!” — Dorothee Schneider (GER)

In a start-list of 12 combinations from seven countries, Frenchman Ludovic Henry took the lead when posting 75.673 percent with After You when seventh to go, but Schneider and Sammy blew the class wide open when next in, putting 83.415 on the board. “I could feel in the warm-up that he was in really good shape – he’s been doing an amazing job over the last month!” Schneider said of the horse who helped her claim individual 11th spot at this summer’s Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.

It was never going to be easy to better that, and although the popular duo of Agnete Kirk Thinggaard and Jojo Az were in sparkling form they didn’t threaten when following with a score of 76.405. Their Danish counterparts, Daniel Bachmann-Andersen and Blue Hors Zack, came a lot closer, however, the talented 27-year-old rider and the 13-year-old KWPN stallion oozing promise of even better to come as they strutted their way to a mark of 80.375.

That moved them into runner-up spot, but they would have to settle for third when the penultimate partnership of Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (31) and Unee BB stormed in to post 81.565. This pair has a wonderful record in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage series, and has twice finished third at the Finals, in Lyon (FRA) in 2014 and Las Vegas (USA) in 2015. At 16 years of age, Unee is still flying, and von Bredow-Werndl is very much hoping to make the cut with him to the 2018 Final in Paris, France next April. Each national federation can only send a maximum of three riders, however, and with defending champion, Germany’s Isabell Werth, guaranteed a place once she completes the qualification criteria of two qualifying scores with her chosen horse, the competition between the Germans themselves is intense.

“I’m really fighting for our place at the Final. Even though Unee turns 17 next year, he’s still in top form, so I want us to be there!” von Bredow-Werndl said.

Schneider also has Paris in her sights with Sammy Davis Jr. who only stepped up to Grand Prix level in March of this year and who is clearly coming along in leaps and bounds. However, although she has moved to the top of the leaderboard after the win, she’s not taking qualification for granted. She knows von Bredow-Werndl and Fabienne Lutkemeier are snapping at her heels and that it’s far from done and dusted yet. “Sammy is going to have a rest over Christmas and then maybe we will go to Neumunster (GER) because I want to get Paris too, but it’s not going to be easy!” she said.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Brilliant Bosty and Super Sydney Turn On Their Magic in Madrid

Photo: Roger Yves Bost and Sydney Une Prince. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

Roger Yves Bost (52) posted the second French win of the season at the sixth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League in Madrid, Spain. Riding the brilliant chestnut mare Sydney Une Prince, who he partnered to clinch team gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the enigmatic horseman set a super-hot target time when eighth to go in an epic 18-horse jump-off and couldn’t be caught.

Breaking the beam in 42.23 seconds he was a half-second quicker than Belgian runner-up Niels Bruynseels (33) who was second-last into the arena with Cas de Liberte and who pinned new Irish star Mark McAuley (30) and the grey gelding Miebello into third place by a tiny margin of just 0.01 seconds. McAuley has rocketed up to fourth on the league table, and with 37 points to his credit it seems a place at the Longines Final in Paris next April is now well within the Irishman’s grasp.

Bosty, as the Frenchman is better known, is always guaranteed to keep spectators on the edges of their seats with his unorthodox riding style, and this was no exception. He wasn’t quite convinced he was quick enough to take the win when he left the arena for the second time, however.

“I thought maybe it was good enough for third or fourth place, but I tried my best and Sydney always gives me 100 percent! I lost one stride in the middle of the course, but she is so fast over the fences and I think that’s why we won – she is so brave and so consistent!” — Roger Yves Bost (FRA)

He is determined to qualify for the Final on home turf, particularly because the venue holds some happy memories. “I won the Grand Prix in Paris Bercy in 1996 and that was special, so getting to the Final is my first goal right now,” he said. Lying eighth on the leaderboard and carrying 30 points he looks well on his way, and with seven more qualifying opportunities yet to go in the 13-leg series he still has plenty of time.

The top-18 will make the cut from the Western European League and Bruynseels holds that 18th spot going into the next round as the series moves to La Coruna in Spain’s north-west in two weeks’ time.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Guerdat Gallops Them All into the Ground at Stuttgart

Photo: Steve Guerdat and Hannah. (FEI/Cara Grimshaw)

On a day when a host nation win seemed all but a given, Swiss superman Steve Guerdat (35) and his flying machine Hannah galloped the opposition into total submission with a whirlwind jump-off round at the fifth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League at Stuttgart, Germany. Never a man to flinch against the clock, the 2012 Olympic champion and winner of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping title in both 2015 and 2016 was third-last to go of the 16 that made the cut into the deciding second round. And to the disbelief of almost everyone including long-time leader Philipp Weishaupt, he shaved more than a half-second off the German rider’s scorching-fast target time to clinch it.

“You have to really believe you have a chance, especially when you are going at the end of a jump-off. I’ve been five times second in the Grand Prix here in Stuttgart and I really wanted to win it one day. I would have preferred to have one down in the fastest time than not to be fast enough today, so I really went for it!” — Steve Guerdat SUI (1st)

There were 11 German contenders on the 40-strong start-list so the result seemed heavily weighted in favour of a home victory. But in the end the best they could do was line up behind the speedy Swiss partnership, Weishaupt in runner-up spot with Asathir ahead of Christian Ahlmann with Epleaser van’t Heike in third and Simone Blum and DSP Alice in fourth.

Guerdat is delighted with his 10-year-old mare. “Hannah has been amazing all season. She never jumped indoors before we went to the first World Cup leg in Oslo last month and she wasn’t perfect there, but she was much better in the next round at Helsinki, and here in the big Stuttgart arena it’s more like jumping outdoors so she was very happy with that,” he explained.

“She feels like she really loves her job – as soon as she sees a fence she really wants to jump it and it’s lovely to compete with a horse that loves so much what she does. I think she has fantastic times ahead!” — Steve Guerdat SUI (1st)

Guerdat now tops the Western European League table and, with 43 points, is already qualified for the Longines 2018 Final in Paris next April.

Next stop in this thrilling series is Madrid, Spain on Saturday 25 November.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Richard Spooner and Chatinus Claim Longines Victory

Photo: Richard Spooner and Chatinus (FEI/Amy McCool)

The old adage claims that “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” but it will be hard to keep secret the talent of Richard Spooner’s (USA) new equine star, Chatinus. Spooner piloted the 10-year-old Hanoverian to the gelding’s first World Cup qualifier victory in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Las Vegas (USA).

“I’m just very optimistic for the future with this horse. It’s just absolutely blowing my mind!” — Richard Spooner (USA)

Spooner defeated Alison Robitaille (USA) and Serise du Bidou to claim the top check, outpacing that duo’s time by nearly three seconds. First to go in a select jump-off field of three, Robitaille and her mount crossed the timers in 40.20 seconds; Spooner and Chatinus finished in 37.30 seconds. Karrie Rufer (USA) and Georgie d’Auvray EC, the only other combination to advance to the shortened track, finished in the third position. Last to go and Spooner to catch, Rufer elected to retire after her mount pulled a rail, but it was still a career-best finish for the amateur rider, who was competing in just the second World Cup qualifying competition of her career.

The course designed by Oscar Soberón (MEX) made for great show jumping, as the crowd on hand was on the edge of their seats waiting for a clear round. They did not get one until 21 horse and rider pairs had competed, but they did not have to wait much longer for a second: The west coast audience showed their appreciation when fan favorite Spooner, 24th to go, guaranteed a jump-off. A total of 29 competitors jumped in Round 1.

“I stuck with my plan. I walked the course and just did what my original plan was, and it worked out!” — Richard Spooner (USA)

Spooner now sits atop the standings of the west coast sub league of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League with 58 points. Robitaille leads the east coast sub league standings; she has 52 points.

“For me, it’s unfamiliar ground to have a horse that just kind of goes in the ring and is just like an ATM machine at this point!” Spooner said of Chatinus, whom he has only had since the summer. Chatinus also posted top five finishes in World Cup qualifiers at Sacramento (USA) and Del Mar (USA) this season.

The next event on the North American League will take place in Guadalajara (MEX) on Saturday, 27 January 2018.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46