Swiss Olympic champion Steve Guerdat held onto his lead to win the Longines FEI World Cup jumping final this afternoon in Las Vegas.
After his clear in round one on the chestnut mare Albfuehren’s Paille, Steve had the crowd on the edge of their seats in round two when he had two fences (5a and 12) down and finished within 1sec of the tight time allowed.
“It was an awful feeling coming to the last ,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to have the first mistake as I thought the four-stride distance [to the double at 5ab] was good for me, but it rode long. Then I was a bit worried because the triple [9abc] was not a good triple for my horse, so after that I thought I could not relax, but just not get any time-faults.
“I knew I could have the last fence down as long as I didn’t get any time-faults, so I just wanted to get to the finish line as fast as possible, regardless of the big fence in the way.”
Steve finished one penalty ahead of France’s Penelope Leprovost, who started the day in fourth but moved up with a first round clear and just the upright at fence 10 down in round two. Her ride was Vagabond De La Pomme, a 10-year-old stallion
Ireland’s Bertram Allen took third. After four faults in the first round, he hit fence two in round two. He then managed to leave all the other fences intact with the grey mare Molly Malone V, although he had fences six, eight and 10 bouncing in their cups, leaving supporters’ nerves in tatters.
Beezie Madden of the USA took fourth with Simon, another to match a first round clear with fence 10 down in the second round today.
“I’m so happy with the way my horse went,” said Beezie. “One rub today cost me quite a bit, but overall I’m pleased with the result.”
Jos Verlooy — who like Bertram is 19 years old — landed fifth place for Belgium. He too went clear in the first round today, then had fence 12b down in the second barrage.
Rich Fellers’ great veteran Flexible had two down in each round today and finished seventh, behind the Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten.
There were no penalty-free performances in the second round today, although Gerco Schroder had a jumping clear with one time-fault on Glock’s Cognac Champblanc.
Full reports from the dressage and jumping World Cup finals in Las Vegas in H&H this Thursday (23 April).