Meredith Michaels Beerbaum showed why she is the first woman to be ranked world number one when authoritatively winning the second leg of the World Cup show jumping final in Las Vegas last night (Friday).

Meredith and Shutterfly had the crowd on gasping in awe as the last of nine in the jump-off, negotiating Guillherme Jorge’s challenging track with almost disdainful ease to push the on-form Alois Schweckhorst and Candy into second place.

Meredith now leads the overall standings with 78 points. Disarmingly she commented that, with Shutterfly to ride, she “didn’t have any fears about what the course-builder will do on Sunday.”

Schweckhorst and Steve Guerdat are tied for second with 71, and Rodrigo Pessoa and Ludo Philappaets go into the finale on 70 each. Sadly, having won yesterday’s speed leg, Ludo once again was unable to keep it together and lost his grasp on the overall lead with Parco’s first round fault.

It was a case of so near and yet so far for Michael Whitaker (Portofino) and Nick Skelton (Arko), who both jumped immaculate first round clears but faulted in the jump-off to finish eighth and ninth. Arko lowered a wide white parallel while Portofino exasperatingly hit the final fence.

Britain’s third man Richard Davenport was thrilled with the relatively inexperienced Laguina, who had four faults in the first round but finished overall equal 10th.

Initially, the course looked impossible as the first three were eliminated. However, designer Guillherme Jorge was conscious that it was run in reverse order of merit. “I am pleased with the outcome. The class started a little scary, but I knew the best were coming,” he said.

  • Ann-Kathrin Linsenhoff and Renoir-Unicef won the consolation class for those not through to tomorrow (Saturday’s) dressage Kur final, scoring 76.150%.