Tag Archives: Steve Guerdat

Guerdat Gallops to Second Longines Victory at Last Western European League Leg in Gothenburg

Steve Guerdat, pictured with Casper Gebeke, Longines Sweden country manager. (FEI/Roland Thunholm)

Gothenburg (SWE), 1 March 2015 – Olympic champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, produced a brilliant performance from the 12-year-old mare, Albfuehren’s Paille, to record his second victory of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League at the final qualifying round in Gothenburg, Sweden today. In a desperate battle for those chasing the last remaining points that would earn them a place at the Longines Final in Las Vegas, USA in April, it was Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson who lined up second with Casall Ask while Germany’s Marco Kutscher clinched third with Cornet’s Cristallo ahead of The Netherlands’ Jur Vrieling and Zirocco Blue NOP in fourth place.

Guerdat had no fears about qualification when earning his place in the 13-horse jump-off, as he was already lying third on the league leaderboard as the day began. However, his result today has boosted him to the top of the Western European League table, demoting young Irishman, Bertram Allen, to second place.

Found the key

Course designer, Spain’s Santiago Varela, set them a tough first track, but 13 of the 39 starters found the key.

The triple combination took its toll, as did the oxer at fence eight and the vertical at fence 11 which was three from home. The final two fences, however, proved particularly interesting as riders had to negotiate the Longines double, a 1.80m-wide triple bar followed by a vertical, and then take a careful left-bending line to the final oxer which often came up on a difficult stride.

It was Italy’s Francesco Franco who led the way against the clock with Banca Popolare Bari Cassandra, but it was third to go, Belgium’s Judy-Ann Melchior and her lovely grey mare, As Cold as Ice Z, who set the early target with the calmest of clear rounds in 47.62 seconds. This time always looked beatable, but Varela’s jump-off track was inviting to those prepared to take more risk, and Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer was almost two seconds faster when faulting at the very last with Toulago when next into the ring.

Olympic silver medallist, The Netherlands’ Gerco Schroder, looked set to go well out in front until also lowering the final fence with Glock’s London, but Guerdat and Paille made no mistake. There’s always excitement in the air when the Swiss rider sets off against the clock, and this 12-year-old chestnut mare seems to relish the pressure, lowering her head as she picks up speed and galloping home to really put it up to the rest of them when breaking the beam in 43.13 seconds.

Couldn’t better that

And try as they would, the remaining seven couldn’t better that. Home-side hero, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, came closest when next to go with his great stallion Casall Ask who crossed the line in 43.49, and although Kutscher’s turn to the penultimate oxer was superb, the talented 12-year-old Cristallo was fractionally slower when clear in 43.89 seconds.

Vrieling also left all the fences intact as did Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (Cantinero), but with their times not challenging for the lead only last man in, Kevin Staut from France, looked like threatening Guerdat. Staut’s great 16-year-old mare, Silvana, has competed at five FEI World Cup™ Jumping finals during her long and sparkling career, but when the penultimate oxer hit the floor they would have to settle for seventh place today.

After another extraordinary Longines season, however, the Frenchman sits third on the Western European League table which he has continuously dominated in recent years, and he is well on the road to Las Vegas.

Winning horse

About his winning horse, Guerdat said this evening, “She arrived at my stables 10 months ago having already jumped quite successfully with another Swiss rider, Alexandra Fricker. It took a while to get to know her, but she jumped clear in her very first Grand Prix and this is her first very big win with me.”

Looking ahead to Las Vegas, he said, “I’m not exactly sure which horse I will take, but Paille would be my first choice because she’s been very good during the entire indoor season and I’d like to save Nino for the Championships this year. Nino would be my second choice for Las Vegas though.”

His Longines season has certainly been a spectacular one. From nine starts he earned a massive 77 points, but it wasn’t all plain sailing as he only collected points from five events beginning with third place in Oslo (NOR), victory in Helsinki (FIN), third again in Stuttgart (GER) – all with Nino – a 10th place with Paille in Verona (ITA) and then his win today with the same chestnut mare.

Make the cut

A total of 18 riders qualify for the final from the Western European League, and one to lose out today was The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders who collected 56 points on the US circuit but needed to add some Western European League points today if he was to make the cut.

As defending champion, Germany’s Daniel Deusser is automatically qualified even though he has finished in tenth place, while the results for America’s Lucy Davis and Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander, who finished fourth and sixth respectively in the WEL series, are transferred to their own regional leagues. Bengtsson today confirmed that he will not travel, so that opens the door of opportunity for Belgium’s Jos Verlooy who currently lies in 24th position.

For further information on the 12th leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series in Gothenburg, Sweden, check out website www.gothenburghorseshow.com or contact Press Officer Mayvor Thorin, Email mayvor.thorin@gotevent.se, Tel +46 31 368 4349.

The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2014/2015 will take place in Las Vegas, USA from 15 to 19 April. For details of the event, visit www.worldcuplasvegas.com or contact Press Officer Marty Baumann, Email marty@classic-communications.com, Tel +1 508 698 6810.

Full result here.

Facts and Figures:

The Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg, Sweden hosted the 12th and last qualifying leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League today.

Course designer was Spain’s Santiago Varela.

13 fences on today’s course, time-allowed 75 seconds in first round.

7 of the top 10 riders in the Longines rankings participated.

13 horse-and-rider combinations qualified for the jump-off, including three from the host nation.

Winner was London 2012 Olympic champion Steve Guerdat from Switzerland riding the 12-year-old mare Albfuehren’s Paille.

Gothenburg has a long link with the FEI World Cup™ Jumping series. The first Final was staged in the Swedish city in 1979 when Austria’s Hugo Simon came out on top.

The FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final has been staged in Gothenburg 13 times during the 37-year history of the event.

The Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg stretches 69 metres in length but only 39 metres in width.

18 riders from the Western European League qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 which will take place in Las Vegas, USA from 15-19 April.

Quotes:

Steve Guerdat SUI: “This is only my third time to compete in Gothenburg, and both of the other times I was competing in World Cup finals. My last time to be here was in 2013 when I finished second in the Final.”

Henrik von Eckermann SWE: “I knew I couldn’t catch Steve but I wanted to do my best for the crowd, in the end I had to stay realistic for my horse and I’m very happy to finish sixth!”

Rolf-Goran Bengtsson SWE: “My horse has been very consistent and I’m very proud of him today. It would have been very nice to win in front of the home crowd today – it was a very good course.”

Marco Kutscher GER: “I was lucky in the first round because we touched a few rails but they stayed up! In the jump-off I wanted to do one stride less between the first two fences, but I had to change my mind after we started.”

Full standings here.

FEI YouTube here.

Longines Live Timing Jumping application: available free for download from The App Store (iPhone) & Android Markets. Combining precision and performance, this is a detailed and exclusive application designed especially for Jumping fans – follow live results, see latest Longines Rankings, view competition schedules, obtain exclusive information and alerts on your favorite riders and get all the latest FEI news.

Rider biographies: view online and download from http://www.fei.org/bios.

Longines has been based at Saint-Imier (SUI) since 1832. Its watchmaking expertise reflects a strong devotion to tradition, elegance and performance. It has generations of experience as the official timekeeper at world championships and as a partner of international sports federations.

Longines’ passion for equestrian sports began in 1878, when it produced a chronograph engraved with a jockey and its mount. Over the years, the brand has built strong and long-lasting links with equestrian sports. In 1912, Longines was proud to partner with its first Jumping event, the Grande Concurso Hippico Internacional, in Portugal.

Today, Longines’ involvement in equestrianism includes Jumping, Endurance and flat racing.

Longines is a member of The Swatch Group S.A., the world’s leading manufacturer of horological products. With an excellent reputation for creating refined timepieces, the brand, whose emblem is the winged hourglass, has outlets in over 130 countries.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Gothenburg:

Mayvor Thorin
Press Officer
mayvor.thorin@gotevent.se
+46 31 368 4349

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Guerdat Leads Swiss Victory Roll at Second Leg in Helsinki

Swiss riders filled the top three placings at today’s leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series at Helsinki in Finland led by Olympic champions Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets. (FEI/Tapio Maenpaa)

Helsinki (FIN), 26 October 2014 – Olympic champion, Steve Guerdat, led a Swiss victory gallop at the second leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League in Helsinki, Finland today. A new venue presented a real challenge for both horses and riders due to restricted space. But the 32-year-old, and the gelding with which he claimed individual gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games, the enigmatic Nino des Buissonnets, used that to their advantage and left the result beyond doubt with a superb run when second-last to go against the clock.

Last man in was Martin Fuchs, and the 22-year-old steered PSG Future into runner-up spot ahead of Pius Schwizer in third. The Swiss were understandably buoyant at the end of the day. “We Swiss are in good shape right now!” said Schwizer this evening.

New venue

As the 30th Helsinki Horse Show moved to the Helsingin Jäähalli, the city’s oldest indoor ice rink, course designer, Frenchman Frederic Cottier, had to be at his creative best. Guerdat explained, “The arena is quite tight, the length is okay but if it was three or four metres wider then it would be easier. The fences came up really quickly for the horses and riders, but the courses got better every day and we got more used to it. Today’s was the best course of the weekend, and this was definitely the best class,” said the man who is now heading the Western European League leaderboard, and well on the way to qualification for the series Final in Las Vegas, USA next April.

Making the cut into the jump-off was not an easy task as there was no room for adjusting stride patterns throughout the 12-fence track. Once riders committed themselves to going on a certain distance they had to stick to their decision even if the fences didn’t come up right, and Italy’s Franco Francesco was eliminated for a fall when the line he took to the penultimate oxer left him too far away, and his grey mare, Banco Popalare Bari Cassandra, decided to slam on the brakes.

With 15 through to the timed round, however, the 7,000 spectators were guaranteed an exciting battle, and it more than lived up to expectations.

Copybook tour

Great Britain’s Yasmin Pinchen had produced a copybook tour when posting the first clear of the competition with her bay mare Ashkari, but it all went wrong for the 21-year-old Londoner at the second fence on the jump-off track. Riders needed to make a sharp turn to this vertical if they were to be in with any chance of a good placing, but the British pair met it all wrong and racked up a total of 23 faults.

Going later in the draw was an advantage as riders could work out where time could be saved as they moved on to the oxer at fence three and swung left-handed to the planks at five which had taken a significant toll in the first round. From there it was on to the water-tray oxer at six which had also proven influential before a roll-back to the first two elements of the former triple combination. Once that was behind them there was only the final Longines fence, changed from an oxer to a vertical this time around.

Third to go, it was young Brazilian star, Marlon Zanotelli, who set the early target with a great round from Extra van Essene in 36.18 seconds. And his lead wasn’t threatened by a nice, but cautious, clear from Finland’s Anna-Julia Kontio and the elegant grey, Fardon, or by French 23-year-old, Alexandre Fontanelle, who, however, was most impressive with breaking the beam in 39.27 seconds with Prime Time des Vagues.

Five-stride distance

Norwegian veteran, Geir Gulliksen, was the first to attempt a five-stride distance instead of six from the second to the third fence with the hard-pulling Edesa S Banjan, but his time of 37.66 seconds still left Zanotelli out in front. However, when, four horses later, Schwizer did the same he swept way into the lead with his stunning eight-year-old Sixtine de Vains who stopped the clock on 35.33. Now it was a matter of who could beat that, and although Frenchman Kevin Staut, with another eight-year-old Ayade de Septon et HDC, gave it his best shot as did Germany’s Christian Ahlmann with Cornado ll, it took last week’s winners, Jur Vrieling and Zirocco Blue, to oust the Brazilian from pole position when crossing the line in 35.78 seconds.

The Dutchman’s chances of doing a back-to-back double were instantly dashed, however, by Guerdat’s super-smooth run with Nino who was in his element as he soared home in 34.96 seconds. And when fellow-countryman, Fuchs, gave chase with PSG Future and sealed runner-up spot when crossing the line in 35.10, there were big smiles all round in the Swiss camp.

Very happy

“I’m very happy! When I saw Pius I knew we would have a Swiss win and I did what I could but I’m very happy with second place!” said Fuchs afterwards.

Talking about the challenge of riding in today’s relatively small arena, Guerdat joked, “Switzerland is a small country so we are used to small things!” And discussing the jump-off, he pointed out that his ride was more difficult than it appeared. “When I saw Pius go, I thought I can go faster than that if I don’t fall asleep! But when I was riding it then it seemed quite far from fence to fence and it felt quite slow. But Nino is so quick, there were not too many options and I could still add a stride from 2 to 3 and be quick enough,” he explained.

With 35 points already on the Western European League leaderboard, the Olympic gold medallist has only a little more to do in order to guarantee his place in the Las Vegas start-list next April. He intends to pick the last few points he needs over the next few weeks.

“Next week I will take Concetto Son to Lyon (FRA) and I will change horse for Verona (ITA) the following week. I’ll go back on Nino for Stuttgart (GER) but I won’t be taking him to the Final. I want to save him for one more championship,” he explained.

For further information on the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014 leg at Helsinki, Finland, go to website http://www.helsinkihorseshow.fi/ or contact Press Officer Kati Hurme-Leikkonen, Email kati.hurme@helsinkihorseshow.fi, Tel +358 40 514 4753.

The next leg takes place in Lyon, France on Sunday 2 November. For all information on the French fixture, visit website www.equitalyon.com or contact Press Officer Veronique Gauthier, Email veronique-gauthier@club-internet.fr, Tel +33 967 073 729.

Full result here.

Facts and Figures:

Helsinki, Finland presented the second leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League today.

The event took place at a new venue, Helsingin Jäähalli, Helsinki’s oldest indoor ice rink.

The city of Helsinki has hosted the FEI World Cup™ Jumping series for 29 years.

The show this year celebrated its 30th anniversary.

The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series takes place over 12 rounds, with riders counting their best six results.

The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Final will be held in Las Vegas, USA from15-19 April 2015.

Today’s course designer was Frenchman Frederic Cottier who also designed the tracks for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 at Normandy, France.

40 horse-and-rider combinations competed.

1 elimination – for Italy’s Francesco Franco for a fall from Banca Popolare Bari Cassandra at the penultimate fence in the first round.

15 qualified for the second-round jump-off against the clock.

The winner was Switzerand’s Steve Guerdat partnering Nino des Buissonnets, the horse with which he won individual gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Swiss riders filled the top three places – Martin Fuchs lined up second with the 10-year-old PSG Future and Pius Schwizer finished third with Sixtine de Vains.

The youngest horses in today’s competition were both 8-year-olds and both qualified for the jump-off.

Schwizer’s third-placed Sixtine de Vains is only 8 years old.

Fourth place went to The Netherlands’ Jur Vrieling and VDL Zirocco Blue who won the opening leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League at Oslo, Norway last Sunday.

After two rounds of the Western European League, today’s winner Steve Guerdat, who finished third last weekend in Oslo, now heads the Western European League leader board with a total of 35 points.

In the Western European League, a total of 40 points is usually sufficient to qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final.

Quotes:

Steve Guerdat SUI, talking about the Swiss working as a team in Helsinki – “It’s great to be able to talk together and train together, and it’s great to have a team on site and not to be on your own.”

Anna-Julia Kontio FIN – “I was very happy with both of my rounds. My target was to finish in the top 10 and I made it! Yesterday in the Grand Prix my horse got nervous in the jump-off and we had two fences down. Today I wanted two clear rounds and I’m happy. I’m also happy that Martin (Fuchs) got something to bring home!”

Steve Guerdat SUI – “It was a fantastic course and a great arena. The Organising Committee did a great job, and the atmosphere was even better than it used to be.”

Full standings here.

FEI YouTube: http://goo.gl/lHRNM7

Longines Live Timing Jumping application: available free for download from The App Store (iPhone) & Android Markets. Combining precision and performance, this is a detailed and exclusive application designed especially for Jumping fans – follow live results, see latest Longines Rankings, view competition schedules, obtain exclusive information and alerts on your favorite riders and get all the latest FEI news.

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping press kit: download all the details from www.feipresskits.org (contains series calendar, competition schedule, online media tools and history).

Rider biographies: view online and download from http://www.fei.org/bios.

Longines has been based at Saint-Imier (SUI) since 1832. Its watchmaking expertise reflects a strong devotion to tradition, elegance and performance. It has generations of experience as the official timekeeper at world championships and as a partner of international sports federations.

Longines’ passion for equestrian sports began in 1878, when it produced a chronograph engraved with a jockey and its mount. Over the years, the brand has built strong and long-lasting links with equestrian sports. In 1912, Longines was proud to partner with its first Jumping event, the Grande Concurso Hippico Internacional, in Portugal.

Today, Longines’ involvement in equestrianism includes Jumping, Endurance and flat racing.

Longines is a member of The Swatch Group S.A., the world’s leading manufacturer of horological products. With an excellent reputation for creating refined timepieces, the brand, whose emblem is the winged hourglass, has outlets in over 130 countries.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Helsinki:

Kati Hurme-Leikkonen
Press Officer
kati.hurme@helsinkihorseshow.fi
+358 40514 4753

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Steve Guerdat Wins the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva

Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Nino des Buissonnets, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix, Geneva 2013 © Rolex/Kit Houghton.

New Live Contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

Geneva, Switzerland 15 December 2013, In front of a huge crowd of over 9,500 fans, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat riding the great Nino des Buissonnets, today won the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHI Geneva, and becomes the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

Each time he entered the arena, the Swiss crowd greeted Rolex Testimonee Guerdat with wave after wave of cheers, which at one stage seemed to rock the foundations of the huge Palexpo Arena. He was one of 10 riders to make it through to the jump-off and, fourth to go, his time of 43.26 seconds was only briefly threatened by the World No. 1 Scott Brash (GBR), who produced a second clear round just 0.32 seconds behind Guerdat.

“I get a little scared sometimes on what is going to be next and how I am ever going to be able to give to the fans who have already had so much success with me here over the years. But every year I come back and something new happens and some bigger wins and it just feels amazing!” said a delighted Guerdat.

“Nino has won so much already since the Olympics – he is not jumping a lot but every time he goes out he is in the top and again today. He is just in a class of his own,” continued Guerdat.

At one stage it looked as though Belgium’s Peter Devos, riding Candy, could make it a ‘double’ by winning a second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – he was the ‘live’ contender having won the CN International presented by Rolex, at Spruce Meadows in September. Having gone clear in the first round he went into the jump-off showing good form, but two poles down and eight faults put paid to his chances of taking the Rolex Grand Prix title.

It was a truly exciting Rolex Grand Prix, with 10 superb spectacular clears around the 14 fence course. The first clear came from the Rolex Grand Prix winner at Calgary – Pieter Devos and Candy. Athina Onassis Miranda (GRE) rode a brilliant round, but was very unlucky to get one time fault on AD Camille Z. Her husband Alvaro de Miranda (BRA) was next into the arena and rode a great clear, followed by Hans-Dieter Dreher (GER) who also left the ring on a clean sheet on the stunning Embassy II. Then followed seven more riders with clear rounds; Luciana Diniz (POR), Gerco Schröder (NED), Simon Delestre (FRA), Scott Brash, Kevin Staut (FRA) and Patrice Delaveau (FRA).

The 2013 CHI Geneva has been the most successful in the show’s long history with over 40,000 spectators packing into the Palexpo over the four days to watch the some of the world’s best riders including Rolex Testimonees Kevin Staut, Eric Lamaze, Meredith Michaesl-Beerbaum and Rodrigo Pessoa compete at the highest level of the sport.

Alban Poudret, Sports Director for CHI Geneva, commented: “It is like a dream; we are flying at the Palexpo Arena. For us, always when Steve wins, it’s a big gift, because he is the rider of the show. But this year it was something special you know with the Rolex Grand Slam and more pressure for us, more pressure for Steve, for everybody. To have him winning, it’s really a dream come true, but I think he is even better when he has big pressure. He has won eight major Grands Prix in Geneva in nine years; it’s incredible. Nobody did that. The bigger the pressure, the better he is!”

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping now takes a break until CHIO Aachen from 11-20 July 2014, but Rolex continues to support the sport at the highest level and will be the Official Timepiece at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida from 9 January to 31 March 2014, and also at Indoor Brabant from 20 to 23 March 2014.

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping features three of the world’s greatest equestrian shows – the CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament and CHI Geneva – and is the first global initiative to reward the outstanding rider who wins the Grand Prix at each show in succession. The winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping will be rewarded with a €1 million bonus prize.

For details of the final placings in the CHI Geneva Rolex Grand Prix, please click: http://results.scgvisual.com/2013/geneve/r21.html.

Websites:
www.rolex.com
www.rolexgrandslam.com

Rolex Equestrianism Press Room:
equestrianismpressroom.rolex.com

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – The Rules

The rules of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping are simple: any rider that wins the Grand Prix at each of the three shows consecutively will receive €1m on top of the prize-money for each show’s Grand Prix. Moreover, any rider that wins two out of the three show’s Grands Prix will also receive a bonus.

If the Grands Prix at two shows are won in succession, the bonus will be €500,000. If a rider is successful in qualifying for the “two out of three mode”, but doesn’t claim the victories at two consecutive shows’ Grands Prix, the bonus will be €250,000. It is only the rider that counts, not the horse i.e. it is possible to claim the bonus riding different horses. This system is infinite; it is not limited to a calendar year.

Three wins in a row – €1,000,000
Two wins in a row – €500,000
Two wins out of three (not consecutively) – €250,000

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Rod Kohler
rod@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 7770 647 662

Niels Knippertz
press@rolexgrandslam.com
+49 241 9171 180

Olympic Champion Guerdat Wins, but Diniz Tops the Leaderboard after Second-Day Rolex Thriller

Steven Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets jumped into contention when winning tonight’s second leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final. Photo: FEI/Kit Houghton.

Gothenburg (SWE), 26 April 2013 – Olympic champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, won tonight’s second leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final with a spectacular performance from his London 2012 ride, Nino des Buissonnets.  But it is Portugal’s Luciana Diniz and Lennox who hold the lead going into Sunday’s deciding competition after the three riders lying ahead of her on the leaderboard all faulted today.

In a competition that bristled with excitement from the outset, Guerdat produced a devastating turn of speed in the 15-horse jump-off to clinch it, while The Netherlands’ Marc Houtzager slotted into second place.  Diniz’s third place finish was confirmed when Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (Quintero la Silla), Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer (Picsou du Chene) and America’s Beezie Madden (Simon) all followed her into the ring but failed to leave the course intact.  It was deep disappointment for Madden after her opening-day triumph, but she trails Diniz by just a single penalty point going into Sunday’s third and final leg.

Withdrawal

There were 38 starters following the withdrawal of Hong Kong’s Raena Leung, and a generous 15 clears were recorded over Uliano Vezzani’s first-round track.  The double of vertical to oxer at fence eight proved the most testing of the 13 obstacles, and continued to play its part as the jump-off unfolded.

Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander and Ego van Orti led the way against the clock with a clear in 42.10 seconds and Latvia’s Kristaps Neretnieks shaved two seconds off that with Monte Bellini before Ireland’s Denis Lynch lowered the first element of the double at eight, now the third fence on the track, in a very speedy 38.33 seconds with All Star.  The turn from the oxer at fence five, now second on the new course, to that first element of the double would prove crucial to the result and Germany’s Marcus Ehning was the next victim here with Copin van de Broy.

It was Frenchman Roger-Yves Bost who recorded the next clear with one of his trademark thrillers from the equally-electrified Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois who broke the beam in 37.92 seconds to take the lead.  Belgium’s Ludo Philippaerts and Challenge V Begijnakker were almost a half-second quicker, but a stumble after the second element of the double left this pair off balance and even though they established a shorter route by turning between the second fence and the second element of the former triple combination – now the penultimate fence – he hit the vertical after the double for four faults in 37.42 seconds.

Plan Was to Win

Guerdat was next into the ring and, as he said afterwards, “My plan was to win. I knew if my horse was clear he would be difficult to beat. The turn before the double wasn’t so good so that made it easy to decide to do the turn after it.” His breath-taking run to the penultimate oxer and his racing gallop to the final Rolex oxer brought gasps from the crowd as the clock showed 34.09 seconds.

Try as they would, the rest just couldn’t match that, although the next rider into the ring, Dutchman Marc Houtzager, came closest when breaking the beam in 36.80 with Sterrehof’s Tamino.  America’s Reed Kessler (Cylana) and McLain Ward (Super Trooper de Ness) both had a fence down but, with just five left to go, Frenchman Kevin Staut was clear with Silvana HDC in 39.23 seconds and then Diniz followed suit with Lennox in 37.22.

The crowd went wild as home hero and reigning FEI European champion, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, set sail with Quintero la Silla, but they fell afoul of the tricky turn to the first element of the double, while Pius Schwizer momentarily lost his line of communication with Picsou du Chene, and it cost him dearly when the gelding faltered after the first fence and then demolished the second. They also brought down the vertical third-last, and their nine faults in total saw the Swiss man who has been so consistent in the Rolex series in recent seasons slip dramatically down the leaderboard.

Cool as Cucumbers

First-day winners, Beezie Madden and Simon, looked cool as cucumbers over the early part of the track, but it suddenly fell apart coming down to the second-last and although they cleared that, their frenzied run to the last resulted in a very expensive four faults that saw them finish ninth in this competition and slip down the overall standings to second place.

There is so little in it going into the final day however, with Diniz holding just a single-point advantage over Madden and Kevin Staut stalking the leading ladies another point further in arrears. They had better all look out for Staut.  He is a man on a mission, and his delight at another fault-free performance from his much-loved mare made his big smile even wider tonight. Bengtsson lies fourth ahead of Houtzager in fifth, and if Guerdat’s form today is anything to go by then he will be a force to be seriously reckoned with as he holds sixth spot.

Guerdat said tonight, “I needed to win today to have any chance of moving up the ranking.  My horse was good yesterday; the mistake was unlucky; sometimes you touch the poles and they stay up and sometimes they don’t.”

Route to the Final

Guerdat talked about his route to the 2013 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final.  “I messed up the timing a little bit.  After the Olympics I decided to rest Nino as much as possible but maybe I did it too much.  I took him to Bordeaux, Den Bosch and Lanaken, but unfortunately he lived up to his character and he wasn’t listening at all and started stopping on me.  There was panic in the house at this stage, but we decided to take him to Paris where he wasn’t too good either, so then I started riding him twice a day to get his confidence again before coming here to Sweden.  Yesterday he wasn’t perfect but he was really good today.  I’m hoping that we are not coming right one day too late.”

Diniz congratulated course-designer Vezzani. “The course design has been wonderful for me – I love him!” she said.  Talking about her lead-up to Gothenburg, she said, “I had two big victories in January, the Grand Prix at Basel and Zurich, and they have given me confidence; they gave me motivation and to finish in the top three on Sunday is my plan now. I’m happy and enjoying every round; I’m in the best phase of my life.  The goal is always to enjoy my horse; top five would have been good enough for me today!” she added.

Big Pressure

Guerdat teased Rolf-Goran Bengtsson by interjecting, when the Swede was asked if he felt big pressure in front of his home crowd, “He’s so old it’s no problem for him!”

Rolf laughed and agreed – “Steve is a little bit right; I’ve been here so many times but jumping in front of the home crowd gives me even more motivation.” Talking about Quintero la Silla, he said, “I’m pleased with him.  He was a little strong between one and two in the first round but ended up good and clear.  In the jump-off I wanted to go fast. I saw Steve so I knew I couldn’t beat such a perfect round.  We were too deep to the first and then I rode too aggressive to the double and had one down, that’s the way it goes!”

He will ride Quintero again on Sunday.  “He maybe has more scope than Casall; he always wants to go clear even though he has a very special way of getting over his fences!” Bengtsson explained.

Scope will be in big demand as Vezzani throws down one final challenge for Sunday’s last two-round competition which will decide the fate of the 2013 Rolex FEI World Cup title.

Results:

Result of Second Final Competition : 1, Nino des Buissonnets (Steve Guerdat) SUI 0/0 34.09; 2, Sterrehof’s Tamino (Marc Houtzager) NED 0/0 36.80; 3, Lennox (Luciana Diniz) POR 0/0 37.22; 4, Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois (Roger-Yves Bost) FRA 0/0 37.92; 5, Silvana HDC (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/0 39.23; 6, Conte Bellini (Kristaps Neretnieks) LAT 0/0 40.23; 7, Ego Van Orti (Edwina Tops-Alexander) AUS 0/0 42.10; 8, Super Trooper de Ness (McLain Ward) USA 0/4 35.98; 9, Simon (Beezie Madden) USA 0/4 36.62; 10, Quintero La Silla (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) SWE 0/4 36.81; 11, Challenge VD Begijnakker (Ludo Philippaerts) BEL 0/4 36.81; 12, Cylana (Reed Kessler) USA 0/4 37.83; 13, All Star (Denis Lynch) IRL 0/4 38.33; 14, Copin van de Broy (Marcus Ehning) GER 0/4 40.19; 15, Picsou du Chene (Pius Schwizer) SUI 0/8 43.53.

Full result here.

Standings going into Sunday’s Final Competition: 1, Lennox (Luciana Diniz) POR 0; 2, Simon (Beezie Madden) USA 1; 3, Silvana HDC (Kevin Staut) FRA 2; 4, Quintero la Silla/Casall la Silla (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) SWE 3; 5, Sterrehof’s Tamino/Sterrehof’s Uppity (Marc Houtzager) NED 4; 6, Nino des Buissonnets (Steve Guerdat) SUI 5; 6, Picsou du Chene/Verdi III (Pius Schwizer) SUI 5; 6, Super Trooper de Ness (McLain Ward) USA 5; 9, Carlo (Sergio Alvarez Moya) ESP 8; 10, Cylana (Reed Kessler) USA 9.

Standings after the second of the three Final competitions here.

Audio Links:

Luciana Diniz

http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Rolex_diniz_por.mp3   Portuguese
http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Rolex_diniz_eng.mp3  English

Steve Guerdat

http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Rolex_guerdat_day2_eng.mp3  English
http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Rolex_guerdat_day2_french.mp3   French

Marc Houtzager

http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Rolex_houtzager.mp3

Facts and Figures:

38 starters after the withdrawal of Hong Kong’s Raena Leung (Orphee du Granit).

15 first-round clears.

7 clear in the second-round jump-off.

There was a full house of 12,000 spectators in the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg, Sweden tonight.

With points now turned into penalties, Portugal’s Luciana Diniz heads the leaderboard going into Sunday’s deciding competition ahead of first-day winner Beezie Madden from the USA.

13 fences on the first-round course designed by Uliano Vezzani.

The double at fence eight proved influential in both the first round and jump-off against the clock.

Quotes:

Houtzager -”I didn’t see Steve going and I didn’t take all the risks but when I came to the finish three seconds slower than him I felt he must have been flying because my horse isn’t that slow!”

Uliano Vezzani – “My target was for 10 into the jump-off, but I was happy because all horses jumped very well.  Sunday is the last day over two rounds and the horses should be good for that.  I had my plan ready for Sunday already but got more information today so I may change it just a little.”

For further information on the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final 2012/2013 in Gothenburg, Sweden (24-28 April), check out www.gothenburghorseshow.com.

By Louise Parkes

Gothenburg Media Contacts:

Mayvor Thorin
+46 31 368 43 49
mayvor.thorin@gotevent.se

Lotta Amnestal
+46 709 795635
lotta.amnestal@ridsport.se

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Olympic Champion Takes Over World Number One Slot on Rolex Rankings

Steve Guerdat competing with Nino des Buissonnets at the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping qualifier in Stuttgart. © Karl Heinz Frieler/FEI

Lausanne (SUI), 6 November 2012 – Steve Guerdat (SUI), the newly-crowned Olympic champion, has taken over as World Number One on the Rolex Rankings list published today. With 2,525 points, Guerdat takes over from European champion Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE), who drops down to fourth place (2378).

Olympic team gold medallist Nick Skelton (GBR) is in second place, just three points ahead of Germany’s Christian Ahlmann.

It has been a historic season for Guerdat, who turned 30 in June, and for Swiss equestrianism. Guerdat became the first Swiss rider to be crowned Olympic Jumping champion since 1928 when he steered the talented 11-year old Selle Français Nino des Buissonnets to individual gold at London 2012. In the last 12 months he has picked up Rolex Ranking points in no less than 89 competitions.

Continue reading Olympic Champion Takes Over World Number One Slot on Rolex Rankings

New Olympic Medallists Line Out at FEI Nations Cup 2012 Series Finale in Dublin

Steve Guerdat, pictured with Nino des Buissonnets on his way to taking individual jumping gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games, will be a member of the Swiss team in the last leg of the FEI Nations Cup 2012 series. Photo: FEI/Kit Houghton.

Dublin (IRL), 14 August 2012 – With the roars of the crowd at Greenwich Park still ringing in their ears, five medallists from the London 2012 Olympic Games will be in action as the last leg of the FEI Nations Cup 2012 gets underway at the Royal Dublin Society showgrounds in Dublin (IRL) next Friday afternoon.  And it promises to be a real battle, because just 3.5 points separate the bottom six teams as the premier eight-leg, eight-nation contest draws to a close.

The defending series champions from Germany hold a strong 10-point lead over France at the head of affairs, but Great Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ireland and Belgium are all bunched closely together, and none of them want to finish up at the bottom of the pile.

The Swiss side boasts the new Olympic individual jumping champion, Steve Guerdat, while Olympic team gold medallist, Nick Skelton, is included in the British selection.  Team silver medallists, Jur Vrieling and Marc Houtzager, will be lining out for The Netherlands and the Irish crowd will be celebrating the return of Cian O’Connor who clinched individual Olympic bronze.

Continue reading New Olympic Medallists Line Out at FEI Nations Cup 2012 Series Finale in Dublin

Guerdat Takes Individual Olympic Gold for Switzerland

(L to R) Gerco Schroder (NED) silver, gold medallist Steve Guerdat (SUI) and bronze medallist Cian O'Connor (IRL). Photo: FEI/Kit Houghton.

London (GBR), 8 August 2012 – Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat claimed individual jumping gold at the London 2012 Olympic venue at Greenwich Park today when he was the only rider in the final competition to maintain a completely clean sheet in the two rounds. And in a thrilling two-way third-round jump off, The Netherlands’ Gerco Schroder pipped Ireland’s Cian O’Connor for silver.

Hopes had been high for a fairytale British ending to a week of fantastic jumping sport, but it wasn’t to be. And it was a very last-minute affair for O’Connor who only made the cut when Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson’s stallion, Casall, was withdrawn after being sent to the holding box at this morning’s final veterinary inspection. This allowed the three riders sharing reserve spot to take their chance, and the Irishman grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

Bengtsson, silver medallist at the 2008 Beijing Games, was disappointed when he couldn’t compete. “I’ve been working towards this since Hong Kong, but the horse has to be my first priority,” he said. Swedish team vet Jonas Tornell explained, “Casall got a small injury on his left front leg during the second round of the team competition.”

Continue reading Guerdat Takes Individual Olympic Gold for Switzerland

Steve Guerdat Celebrates the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, Lake Geneva

Steve Guerdat celebrates winning the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final with the Trophy in front of Lake Geneva, the morning after having won the competition in the Geneva Palexpo on Friday 10th December 2010.

Riding Jalisca Solier, Guerdat won the two-round event featuring the World’s Top 10 riders as based on the Rolex Rankings, ahead of 2nd place Denis Lynch (IRL) riding Lantinus and 3rd place Eric Lamaze (CAN) riding Hickstead.

The results of the 10th Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final:

1. Steve Guerdat (SUI), Jalisca Solier
2. Denis Lynch (IRL), Lantinus
3. Eric Lamaze (CAN), Hickstead
4. Marcus Ehning (GER), Plot Bleu
5. Penelope Leprevost (FRA), Mylord Carthago
6. McLain Ward (USA), Sapphire
7. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (SWE), Casall La Silla
8. Kevin Staut (FRA), Silvana de Hus
9. Edwina Alexander (AUS), Cevo Itot du Chateau
10. Pius Schwizer (SUI), Ulysse

Guerdat Wins Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final

The riders competing in the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final are Kevin Staut, Denis Lynch, Pius Schwizer, Edwina Alexander, Steve Guerdat, McLain Ward, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, Penelope Leprevost, Marcus Ehning, and Eric Lamaze.

Steve Guerdat (SUI) today, Friday 10th December 2010, won the 10th Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final in Geneva, Switzerland.

Riding Jalisca Solier, Guerdat won the two-round event featuring the World’s Top 10 riders as based on the Rolex Rankings, ahead of 2nd place Denis Lynch (IRL) riding Lantinus and 3rd place Eric Lamaze (CAN) riding Hickstead.

The results of the 10th Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final:

1. Steve Guerdat (SUI), Jalisca Solier
2. Denis Lynch (IRL), Lantinus
3. Eric Lamaze (CAN), Hickstead
4. Marcus Ehning (GER), Plot Bleu
5. Penelope Leprevost (FRA), Mylord Carthago
6. McLain Ward (USA), Sapphire
7. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (SWE), Casall La Silla
8. Kevin Staut (FRA), Silvana de Hus
9. Edwina Alexander (AUS), Cevo Itot du Chateau
10. Pius Schwizer (SUI), Ulysse