Switzerland’s Beat Mandli was crowned FEI World Cup Jumping champion in Las Vegas at the weekend.
Riding Ideo du Thot, he took the title ahead of Germany’s Daniel Deusser, who rocketed up from 14th overnight with two clear rounds to finish second.
Fellow German Markus Beerbaum and Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat took joint-third, while defending champion Marcus Ehning had to settle for fifth.
A shocked Mandli could hardy believe he had won: “I’ve never had this feeling before. I’ve never won a championship and I don’t think I am taking it in just yet but I’m very happy.”
Previously overshadowed by Mandli’s other top horses Principal and Indigo, Ideo du Thot wowed the crowds throughout the World Cup final.
“Ideo is now my number one horse,” Mandli said, who is only the second Swiss rider to win the World Cup final. “He’s very careful and good in his mind — he’s a great horse.”
Hot favourite Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum was knocked out of contention by a freak fall at the end of the first round in the final competition. As Shutterfly put in a huge effort at fence 11, a big oxer with a water tray underneath, Meredith was fired out of the saddle to the right.
“It happened so fast she didn’t really know what happened,” her husband Markus Beerbaum explained later. “She wanted to go a little left to get an inside turn but he just seemed to disappear from under her — these things happen in our sport and you just have to accept them.”
Britain’s Michael Whitaker suffered an early set back when he was eliminated in the opening round of the competition with his top ride Suncal Portofino.
Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s full report of all the show jumping action in Las Vegas, including Michael Whitaker’s grand prix win, in this Thursday’s magazine