In a nail-biting finale to the five-round individual competition, France’s Kevin Staut won gold on his grandparents’ 11-year-old stallion Kraque Boom.
In silver was Germany’s Carsten-Otto Nagel (Corradina), while the leader coming into the final round, Albert Zoer with Okidoki, hit the first fence to finish with the bronze medal.
“We’ve had a really good season,” said Kevin of his country’s overall success in the Meydan FEI Nations Cup series. “We came here hoping for a team medal and a top-eight individual position. We were just two points off a team medal and we won individual gold.”
Kevin was one of three riders to jump double clears over Bob Ellis’s mammoth two final-day tracks, where the time allowed also proved tight.
“The course in the first round was high but I couldn’t believe how many jumped clear,” said Kevin. “I knew I couldn’t have time faults in the second round, which is difficult because my horse is not the fastest.”
The Netherlands’ Albert Zoer was philosophical about losing the gold medal with his early mistake in the final round: “I tried to ride my own round, but with the first fence down, I knew I had to stay clear to keep bronze.”
British hopes were dashed early on when Ben Maher, lying in silver medal position coming in to Sunday’s final, notched up eight faults in each round, plus a time fault, to finish 15th on the Quainton Stud’s Robin Hood W.
Don’t miss the full report, pictures, comment and analysis of the entire championships in Horse & Hound 28 August issue.