Patrice Delaveau, joint leader of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final, has withdrawn from the event as Lacrimoso HDC is lame.

The French rider finished 2nd in Friday night’s opening speed leg and 5th last night. These results put him in equal 1st with Steve Guerdat heading into tomorrow’s final showdown. But he has just announced his competition is over.

“It’s nothing dramatic, but I felt Lacrimoso wasn’t as good as normal in the jump-off yesterday,” he said. “When I went out of the arena, I felt something wasn’t right. This morning I warmed him up and he was a bit lame.”

The horse failed a vet check and, while Patrice had the option to re-present him tomorrow, he made the decision with connections to retire at this stage.

“He’s very sensitive today and it could be a sprain or it could be other things  When he’s walking it’s not particularly obviously. We will do further examinations,” added Patrice, who said it was an injury to a forefoot.

French team chef d’equipe Philippe Guerdat said: “It’s sad for Patrice as he was in a position to win, but that’s the sport.”

Philippe also paid tribute to Lacrimoso’s owners, Mrs and Mr Perron-Pette of Haras des Coudrettes.

“Other owners might have said you will go tomorrow no matter what, but they thought of the well-being of the horse and not just of victory,” he said.

Patrice added: “He’s only 10, he’s a very good horse and hopefully there will be other times for him.”

The withdrawal of the leading home side rider will be a blow to the crowd.

“It’s very disappointing as a lot of people were behind me, everyone in France wanted to see a home rider win this World Cup and for the organisers it would have been great for a French rider to win it. But that’s life,” said Patrice.

Several other riders in leading positions have 2 horses at the final, so could have continued in the face of injury, but Patrice only brought 1 due to the fact Orient Express HDC is injured and Corinjo HDC “was fed up of indoor shows” and he said he had no regrets about that. 

Full report on the FEI World Cup finals in H&H this week, out Thursday, 24 April.