The Longines FEI World Cup showjumping final trophy will once again have the Swiss rider Steve Guerdat‘s name engraved on it as he retained his 2015 Las Vegas title in the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg, Sweden today (28 March).
Last to go as he carried forward no penalties after strong performances during the first two rounds of competition, Steve had no fences in hand as Harrie Smolders and Daniel Deusser had both just jumped faultless clears over Spanish course designer Santiago Varela’s testing track.
Steve’s horse Corbinian, a 10-year-old gelding by Cornet Obolensky x Pilot, gave him a dream ride and they finished on a zero penalties score.
“I was ready to give it a go and give it everything, but I didn’t think I’d stand here in front of you as a winner,” said Steve. “And I didn’t ride well in the final last year — even though I won — so that was my aim for today. My horse was really fighting for me.”
The much-decorated Swiss rider is also the defending Olympic champion, so all eyes will be on Rio to see whether he can do the double double.
“History is made through shows like these and I love the crowd,” said Steve in front of the 11,000 screaming spectators.
Second place went to the Dutch rider Harrie Smolders, who stepped on to a championship podium for the first time in his career. He carried three penalties into the final round as did Daniel Deusser, but Harrie’s round was faster, so he secured second and Daniel slotted in to third.
“I was thrilled with my horse; he really convinced me today. This was a great show and a really good showcase for our sport — just how it should be.”
Ireland’s Denis Lynch jumped a double clear on the final day of competition so added no penalties to his and All Star 5’s score of eight. He finished the championship in equal fifth, scooping €52,500 (which is more than the winner of the world cup dressage final).
This was the 38th edition of the FEI World Cup jumping final and the 14th time it was held in the impressive Scandinavium, which was the venue for the inaugural running in 1979. This season, over 800 riders from every continent have competed via 15 regional leagues. Eventually, 36 combinations contested the final, representing 17 nations.
For a full report, plus guest column and analysis, be sure to pick up a copy of Horse & Hound magazine on Thursday 31 March.