America had success in the first leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup jumping final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands yesterday (19 April).

Rich Fellers (pictured) won the first round with the oldest horse in the competition – the 16-year-old Irish-bred Flexible.

He will now go into tonight’s second leg (20 April) with a two-point advantage at the top of the leaderboard.

“He’s a tough horse and so lucky for me,” said the American.

“He continues to learn and improve every year. He’s a better horse now than he was five years ago.”

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets were second and Rik Hemeryck finished third for Belgium with Quarco de Kerambars.

Thirty-seven competitors from 19 nations started in yesterday’s class but only 10 partnerships went clear over designer Louis Konickx’s course.

Guerdat said: “[The course was] very good for the start of the final, and not stupid – there was nothing to confuse the horses.”

The 2011/2012 Rolex champion will be crowned on Sunday afternoon (22 April).

No British riders are taking part in the competition because they are saving their horses for the Olympics.

Result:
1, Flexible (Rich Fellers) USA 60.26;
2, Nino des Buissonnets (Steve Guerdat) SUI 61.94;
3, Quarco de Kerambars (Rik Hemeryck) BEL 62.66;
4, Ulysse (Pius Schwizer) SUI 62.84;
5, Silvana HDC (Kevin Staut) FRA 63.07;
6, Casall la Silla (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) SWE 63.60;
7, Regina Z (Harrie Smolders) NED 63.67;
8, Baronez (Kirsten Coe) USA 65.76;
9, Sabrina (Marcus Ehning) GER 65.87;
10, Coriana van Klapscheut (Eric Lamaze) can 65.97
21, Abbervail van het Dingeshof (Denis Lynch) IRL 71.98
34, Hallmark Elite (Dermott Lennon) IRL 94.00