The World Cup Jumping Final got underway this afternoon in Leipzig, Germany (7 April), and it was Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs who established himself in pole position heading into round two of the competition.
Second last to go Martin and the 15-year-old Verdi TN x Concorde stallion Chaplin pulled off a brilliant clear round in 65.11secs to steam in to the lead, more than a second ahead of Austria’s Max Kühner and Elektric Blue P.
“I had a good draw going second last. My horse is super fast and careful; I had a plan and I rode the course following this plan, and it all worked out. I did take risks to be fast but I didn’t take the last risk to go as fast as possible,” said Martin.
“It was definitely a tricky course, although not the biggest. There were some difficulties at the end with the combination coming out of the corner, the high plank and then five or six strides to the last oxer,” he explained.
Martin revealed that he will switch to his other ride, The Sinner, for round two of the competition, before bringing Chaplin back out for the final round on Sunday.
“Chaplin is a superstar and The Sinner is also a very good horse. He has been good in the past few weeks, and I have a lot of confidence in him. I have a great string of horses and I am lucky I can change horses,” he said.
Ireland’s Conor Swail finished best of the British and Irish contingent, in third riding Count Me In.
“Neither he nor I have done a World Cup before, but I’m coming in knowing that my horse is very capable and I am also an older veteran as they say,” laughed Conor. “I was super happy with how he jumped in there; he was really good and solid for me. Sometimes on the first day he can be a little nervous and it takes him a few days to get going but he has started off fantastically.
“It’s always nice when the plan goes as it should.”
World Cup Jumping Final day one: how the Brits fared
The British riders put in solid performances to all finish inside the top 20. Harry Charles leads the British charge at the moment, sitting in 13th with the 12-year-old Chacco-Blue mare Stardust. The pair had an unfortunate rail down coming into the double, but kept their pace and rhythm up to finished strongly.
“She is still quite green to the level, so she coped with it really well. I could have set her up a bit better; I ran a little bit too deep [to the double] which is my fault. But all is not lost – we’re not in bad shape, although I’d hoped to be better,” he told H&H.
Harry will switch to ride his Tokyo Olympics horse Romeo 88 for the second round of the final tomorrow.
“The plan was always to switch to Romeo. He has actually been out of the top level for a while; he’s had a long break, but he is very experienced, so I imagine he’ll come in tomorrow and be pretty good,” said Harry.
Jack Whitaker finished in 18th with a steady clear riding Equine America Valmy De La Lande. He beat his uncle, John Whitaker, by just 0.01secs, with John finishing 19th on Equine America Unick Du Francport after one fence down in his bid to capture a third World Cup title.
Ireland’s second rider, Denis Lynch, ended up 21st with Cristello.
The World Cup Showjumping Final continues tomorrow (8 April) with round two getting underway at 2pm (1pm BST).
You may also be interested in…