Britain’s Robert Smith scored an emphatic victory in the second leg of the FEI World Cup series in Oslo, Norway on Sunday while Holland’s Eric Van der Vleuten, who finished fourth with Audi’s Jikke, cemented his league-table advantage.
Robert had thrown down the gauntlet when topping Friday’s World Cup Preliminary competition and capitalised on his last-to-go starting position in the qualifier with a superb jump-off round from the stallion Marius Claudius.
With 14 through to the jump-off it was always going to be a tough and the Yorkshireman was chasing the target-time of 34.29secs set by Jos Lansink and AK Zandor Z.
“There were so many clears that it was very fast and I knew that I must take a really difficult turn to the penultimate fence if I was to be in with a chance to win, so I did it and it worked.” said a delighted Robert.
Jos Lansink slotted into second ahead of Richard Davenport riding Luc while fourth place for Eric Van der Vleuten, winner in the opening round in Helsinki last weekend, puts him in an even stronger position at the head of the league table with 33pts.
Robert Whitaker was the fastest of the four-faulters in the jump off to secure 10th place with Qualite.
World Cup qualifier results
1, Marius Claudius (Robert Smith) GBR 0/0 32.34;
2, AK Caridor Z (Jos Lansink) BEL 0/0 34.29;
3, Luc (Richard Davenport) GBR 34.65;
4, Audi’s Jikke (Eric Van der Vleuten) NED 0/0 34.72;
5, Cinderella (Maria Gretzer) SWE 0/0 34.96;
6, Verelst Goliath (Ludo Philippaerts) BEL 0/0 35.12;
7, LB Lacorrado (Beat Mandli) SUI 0/0 35.26;
8, H&M Butterfly Flip (Malin Baryard) SWE 35.40;
9, Controe (Marco Kutscher) GER 0/0 36.28;
10, Qualite (Robert Whitaker) GBR 0/4 35.41.
FEI World Cup Jumping leaderboard after round 2
1, Eric van der Vleuten 33pts;
2, Robert Smith 21;
3, Malin Baryard 18;
=4, Jos Lansink/Helena Weinberg 17;
=6, Richard Davenport/Bruno Broucqsault 15;
=8, Jeroen Dubbeldam/Michel Hecart 13;
=10, Marco Kutscher/Maria Gretzer 12.