Beezie Madden won the first leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final riding Simon (pictured) yesterday, while defending title-holder Rich Fellers and 2011 winner Christian Ahlmann both crashed out of contention.
In this opening speed round, where faults were converted to time added, Beezie finished a clear 0.61sec ahead of Switerland’s Pius Schwizer (Verdi III), with Rolf-Goran Bengtsson third for Sweden on Casall La Silla.
“I didn’t plan to win today, but I thought I would go as fast as I could for my horse while thinking ahead to the rest of the competition,” said Beezie, who plans to ride the 14-year-old gelding in all three legs. “It was a clever course and it worked out in my favour.”
However, both Rich Fellers’ ride Flexible and Christian Ahlmann’s Taloubet Z uncharacteristically ground to a halt at the final double and — short of a miracle — with that went their chances of repeat World Cup glory.
There are no British riders contesting the Gothenburg final but, for Ireland, Shane Sweetnam goes through to the next round in 28th position, Denis Lynch in 31st, both having had one down on Thursday night.
The second of the three stages takes place on Friday evening.
With riders allowed to compete two different horses during the competition and placings from round one converted to points, there’s plenty still to play for.
Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final standings after one round
1, Beezie Madden, USA (Simon) 40 points
2, Pius Schwizer, SUI (Verdi III) 38
3, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, SWE (Casall La Silla) 37
4, Luciana Diniz, POR (Lenox) 36
5, Sergio Alvarez Moya, ESP (Carlo 273) 35
6, Kevin Staut, FRA (Silvana HDC) 34
7, Jens Fredricson, SWE (Lunatic) 33
8, Penelope Leprevost, FRA (Nayana) 32
9, Katherine Dinan, USA (Nougat Du Vallet) 31
10, McLain Ward, USA (Super Trooper De Ness) 30
28, Shane Sweetnam, IRL (Amaretto D’Arco) 12
31, Denis Lynch, IRL (All Star 5) 9