Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum claimed the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping title for the second time in her career on Sunday (27 April) with a magical performance from Shutterfly.
America’s Rich Fellers created a huge sensation when finishing second with Flexible, a horse who has achieved success against the most incredible odds, while Germany’s Heinrich-Hermann Engemann and Aboyeur W slotted into third.
Britain’s only representative, Michael Whitaker, finished ninth with Suncal Portofino.
Course designer Rolf Ludi built tracks asking huge questions about the rider’s ability to be accurate and the horse’s willingness to stretch themselves to their limit for this 30th anniversary fixture.
But Shutterfly proved more than equal to all of these questions, even when Meredith left the 15-year-old gelding with a lot to do at the triple combination in Sunday’s opening round but the horse just opened up his jump a little more to bring her home clear.
The second round track was shorter but the questions were still big with few able to master the awkward distance to the final fence. Last in to the ring, Shutterfly was like a piece of precision equipment and the crowd rewarded the German partnership with a huge roar as the horse and rider executed the last distance on a perfect four strides.
“I’m very proud to win my second world cup title,” said the rider who previously topped the line-up in Las Vegas in 2005. “Shutterfly showed he was in great form over three days and at 15 he is not young — he was super and he never had a rail down.”
American rider Rich Fellers was a surprise second with Flexible, an Irish-bred 12-year-old stallion by Cruising.
“You don’t know what they can do until you ask them, and when I asked him this week to jump higher and go wider he just kept saying ‘OK’,” the delighted American explained. Their success was all the more incredible because Flexible had previously been operated on for a blocked artery in a foreleg, as well as breaking his shoulder in a freak accident.
Don’t miss this week’s Horse & Hound for an in-depth report of all the action from the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping final
1, Shutterfly (Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum) Ger 4/0/0 – 4
2, Flexible (Rich Fellers) USA 2/4/0 – 6
3, Aboyeur W (Heinrich-Hermann Engemann) Ger 5/0/4 – 9
=4, Ideo du Thot (Beat Mandli) Sui 4/8/0 – 12
=4, All Inclusive NRW (Ludger Beerbaum) Ger 4/4/4 – 12
=4, Castle Forbes Libertina (Jessica Kuerten) Ger 0/8/4 – 12
=7, Esplanade (Peter Wylde) USA 3/12/0 – 15
=7, Tresor (Steve Guerdat) Sui 10/0/5 – 15
9, Suncal Portofino (Michael Whitaker) GBR 8/5/5 – 18
10, Ninja la Silla (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) Swe 15/0/4 – 19