Swiss rider Steve Guerdat secured his second victory of the current FEI World Cup Jumping series in Vigo, Spain this weekend. An audience of 8000 watched the 24-year-old steer Jalisca Solier pass the finish line in a remarkable 43.40 sec to secure the €28,000 first prize and a place in the FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Las Vegas. Britain’s Michael Whitaker finished in eighth position, pushing him into fourth position on the FEI World Cup leader board.
The Vigo contest was the 13th leg of the 2006/7 series. A total of 14 contenders made it into the jump-off but Guerdat and mare Jalisca Solier, who won the Geneva leg in December, proved unbeatable. “She’s [Jalisca Solier] just wonderful – I’m so very lucky to have her,” Guerdat said afterwards.
Holland’s Leopold Van Asten finished second ahead of Italy’s Juan Carlos Garcia in third. Frenchman Michel Robert, winner of last weekend’s FEI contest in Bordeaux, took fourth place and is close to qualifying for the final.
Last to jump against the clock, Britain’s Michael Whitaker made a gallant effort to trump Guerdat’s score. But despite producing a lightening-quick round on Insultech Portofino, his 43.46 sec score was not good enough – and as the final fence fell he was relegated to eighth place. Tim Stockdale and Fresh Direct Corlato also clocked up four penalties to take ninth position.
“It was a very fast jump-off and maybe my mare’s round was not as smooth as it was when we won in Geneva but she was brilliant,” Guerdat said. Their result makes up for a disappointing performance in Bordeaux last weekend. “I rode like an idiot in Bordeaux. I couldn’t stop thinking about it all week because I really let her down, but today was a great day and now she will go back to doing much smaller classes so she can get her confidence and settle down again,” he said.
The line-up for the Las Vegas final, to be held on 19 – 22 April, is beginning to come together, with 13 riders holding the 40 points needed to guarantee an invitation. Michael Whitaker is Britain’s only guaranteed contender, on a score of 59 points.
FEI WORLD CUP™ JUMPING 2006/2007 – WESTERN EUROPEAN LEAGUE LEADERBOARD AFTER ROUND 11 AT VIGO:
1. Christian Ahlmann – 82
2. Beat Mandli – 64
3. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum – 63
4. Michael Whitaker – 59
5. Albert Zoer – 56
6. Steve Guerdat – 50
7. Leopold Van Asten – 47
8. Eugenie Angot – 46
9. Markus Beerbaum – 45
10. Judy-Ann Melchior – 44
11. Gerco Schroder – 42
12. Rene Tebbel – 42
13. Patrick McEntee – 42
14. Malin Baryard-Johnsson – 36
15. Michel Robert – 34
16. Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst, Marcus Ehning – 34
18. Edwina Alexander – 34
19. Marco Kutscher – 33
20. Daniel Deusser – 30