Britain will have one rider at the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Gothenburg in March after Laura Renwick secured her spot with a strong performance in the final qualifier tonight (6 February) in Bordeaux, France.
Laura and Bintang II (pictured top) were among 17 pairs who jumped clear in the first round over Uliano Vezzani’s track. They were second in for the jump-off and put in a tight clear to stop the clock in 42.35 seconds, which eventually left them sixth.
“To do a double clear in this class is fantastic, although it’s a shame there were so many clears — my horse is really careful and scopey, but he’s not the fastest,” said Laura.
Nonetheless, the points she gained for sixth were valuable and 13th place in the Western European League rankings guarantees Laura a spot at the Gothenburg showdown.
Michael Whitaker and Scott Brash were also within reach of qualification going into this class, but neither of them were able to add significantly to their points tally and they finished up out of the qualification zone.
Michael went clear in the first round on his Olympia grand prix winner Viking, but had down both parts of the double at fence nine in the jump-off. Scott and Hello Forever hit the yellow planks at fence seven in the first round.
For Ireland, Denis Lynch started the night in a strong position and he took fifth place in the qualifier with All Star 5 to secure his place at the World Cup final. Bertram Allen — third in last year’s final — started the night well down the rankings, so he would have needed a top placing tonight to shoot up the list and qualify. But when Molly Malone V knocked the first part of the treble at six in the first round, it was certain he would not be able to contest the final.
The class was won by the home side’s Kevin Staut (Haras Des Coudrettes’ Reveur De Hurtebise HDC), who was the only person to record a sub 40-second clear in the jump-off.
“Last season wasn’t really good, so I’m very happy to start 2016 with this win, especially in France with all my team here and the owners who have always been behind me,” he said.
Simon Delestre made it a one-two for France by taking the runner-up spot on Qlassic Bois Margot, while Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander squeaked into the final by lifting third place on Caretina De Joter.
“My plan was to keep everything fast and smooth,” said Edwina. “My horse spends a lot of time in the air so that’s where we lost time, but I’m very happy with her.”
Full report from Bordeaux in Horse & Hound next week (11 February).