Ireland’s Jessica Kürten stormed to victory in convincing fashion on Castle Forbes Libertina at the seventh IJRC Top-10 Final sponsored by Rolex in Geneva (Sunday 9 December).
Defending World Cup champion Beat Mandli from Switzerland slotted into second ahead of Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum in third.
It was a night of surprises, including elimination for Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum riding Checkmate, who twice ducked out at the wall during the first round of the competition.
Britain’s sole representative Michael Whitaker set off in determined mood after narrowly missing out last year due to a single time fault, but two down on Insul Tech Mozart des Hayettes dropped him out of contention.
Only Ludger Beerbaum on Couleur Rubin and Jessica Kürten managed to keep a clean sheet going into the second round.
Castle Forbes Libertina never looked like making a mistake in round two and galloped through the finish clear in 59.13sec to ensure her rider took home the €30,000 winners prize and a new Rolex watch.
A delighted Jessica said: “There is a lot of pressure in these type of competitions because you are competing against the best in the world but when you go into the final round you can’t think about making a mistake.
“I know my horse is good enough, although I sometimes wonder if I’m good enough, but she tries every time!”
After picking up four faults with Ideo du Thot in the opening round, Beat Mandli’s stallion was much sharper when he returned to the arena and soared home clear in 56.95 sec, which was good enough for second place.
Beat Mandli blamed himself for his first-round error and said he was “super-happy with my horse” despite Ideo du Thot being a bit nervous going into the electric atmosphere in the packed Palexpo Arena.
After surviving a spectacular hind-leg paddle in round one, Ludger Beerbaum’s Couleur Rubin rolled the top pole off the vertical three from home in the second round to finish third.
IJRC Top-10 FINAL presented by ROLEX
1, Castle Forbes Libertina (Jessica Kürten) 0/0 59.13;
2, Ideo du Thot (Beat Mandli) Sui 4/0 56.95;
3, Couleur Rubin (Ludger Beerbaum) Ger 0/4 61.49;
4, Coster (Christian Ahlmann) Ger 4/4 56.44;
5, Gitania (Marcus Ehning) Ger 4/4 57.60;
6, Insul Tech Mozart des Hayettes (Michael Whitaker) GBR 8/0 60.03;
7, Sam (Albert Zoer) Ned 4/8 51.85;
8, Judgement (Beezie Madden) USA 4/8 56.65;
9, Eurocommerce Acapulco (Gerco Schroder) Ned 4/8 60.07;
10, Checkmate (Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum) Ger 4/8 60.07.