Linda Algotsson retained her World Cup title in brilliant style with one of the best show jumping rounds over a highly influential and up-to-height course.
At 1.30m, the track was the same height as the second round in Athens — some said bigger. British team jumping trainer Ken Clawson, described it as “probably the biggest seen all year”.
It caused havoc, but Algotsson retained an admirably cool head on the beautiful mare My Fair Lady and just hit the one fence, gaining an ecstatic reaction from a noisy and appreciative French crowd. It is an appropriate victory, as the 2005 World Cup final will be held in her home country, Sweden, at Malmo (11-14 August).
The home side hero Jean Teulere rose two places to second with one of only three clears, though he picked up three time faults around the tightly measured track. Germany’s Malte Dohm on Cayenne, 10th, was the only rider clear inside time, while Bruno Bouvier (22nd) had four time faults.
Karin Donckers had two rails down in a rather hairy performance, but the way things were going it was good enough for third place. Piia Pantsu suffered wholesale disaster when Karuso refused the third fence, which faced right into an excitable crowd, some of whom were taking flash photographs. A total of 19 faults plummeted her down to ninth. However, she was second and third in the CIC** by way of consolation.
Eric Vigeanel, 32, who had earlier won the CIC**, scored his most high-profile result ever, fourth on Coronado Prior. This put him ahead of Australian farmer Sonja Johnson, whose astonishing meteoric rise continued to fifth place, just 0.2 ahead of her compatriot Clayton Fredericks on the rising star Ben Along Time.
France’s Thierry Meysonnier was seventh on Helicine ahead of the New Zealand dairy farmer Matthew Grayling on Revo, who has been back home to milk his cows in between Athens and Pau.
Leslie Law benefited from the withdrawal of Benoit Parent and Marie Christine Duroy before the trot-up, and managed to move up to 11th (from 15th after cross-country) despite two fences down and four time faults. Linda Algotsson’s younger sister, Sara, scraped into the prizes in 12th.
Full results on www.event-pau.fr