Meredith Michaels Beerbaum won the Budweiser World Cup for her adopted Germany in Las Vegas with Shutterfly on Sunday (24 April, ’05).

Meredith was on song throughout the show, and although a lapse in the penultimate round raised hopes of a British win, she regrouped to jump clear once more and claim the title — the first American-born rider and first woman to win since 1987.

Michael Whitaker was second on Portofino, after making quiet progress throughout. They were the only pair to jump faultlessly over both of Sunday’s separate courses and although they had one time fault in each, they did not cost the title.

“I knew I’d get [the time faults], but I had to take the risk to jump clear,”said Michael. “The second one could have cost me if Rodrigo [Pessoa, then equal first with Meredith] hadn’t had fences down and Meredith had, because we’d have had to jump-off. But I did the best I could – it was out of my hands. After all, Meredith did beat me every day!”

There was disappointment for Nick Skelton. Arko finished the first day in 16th place, but made a respectable climb to ninth in the jump-off class and produced a mesmerizing display of precision jumping in Sunday’s first round to rise to equal fifth.

Unfortunately, the final track included a double, the “in” being an upright over a water tray. Arko, who had been a little “stary” earlier in the week, had a look and paddled through the fence, stopping at the following spread and putting Nick on the floor.

This was the third time Las Vegas hosted the show jumping final and it saw Britain’s best representation in years. Third man, Richard Davenport with Laguina, acquitted himself well and rose from 28th to 19th.

Meredith said: “This is the biggest win of my career, and one that has been very special because so many people from California who haven’t seen me for years have come to Vegas to support.

“I knew I could win, because Shutterfly is on the best form of his life. I was a little worried after the fence down in the first round, but as we jumped the first fence in the second my confidence grew and I just knew it was going to be my day.”

  • World Cup dressage winner Anky van Grunsven and her long time partner and trainer, Sjeff Jensen, took advantage of Las Vegas to finally tie the knot in the Elvis Chapel yesterday (Sunday) afternoon.
  • Don’t miss this Thursday’s Horse & Hound for reports on all the Las Vegas action.