Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat has won his second World Cup in a row when he produced two clear rounds aboard Corbinian at the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg on Monday, March 28.
The Swiss champion jumped clear in the first round of the Longines FEI World Cup Final’s third and last leg, but so did The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders, on Emerald NOP, and Germany’s Daniel Deusser, aboard Cornet d’Amour.
Both Smolders and Deusser, who carried forward three penalties, then jumped clear in the second round so Guerdat — the last to go — knew he had to produce a faultless performance to secure his second World Cup victory. Despite the pressure, he showed nerves of steel and jumped a brilliant, foot-perfect round in 65.73 to claim the €172,500 winner’s purse.
“It’s really special”, he commented. “I wasn’t really thinking I would stand here in front of you as the Final winner today. I have a really strong team supporting me, people who get up early every morning and work really hard, so I want to thank my whole team, it’s really a team victory.
“We all have the same goal. It’s me who’s standing here in front of you, but there are many people who should be standing here with me. It’s a team victory more than ever I think.”
Smolders and Emerald NOP finished second, still three penalties behind Guerdat and with a time of 65.45. Deusser was third with three penalties and a time of 66.17 aboard Cornet d’Amour.
Germany’s Marcus Ehning, who was lying second in the overall standings after the second leg of the final, made a mistake at the second element of double at fence nine during the first round of the third leg, and finished fourth, just ahead of Ireland’s Denis Lynch. Meanwhile, Britain’s only rider, Laura Renwick, had to withdraw her horse, Bintang II, before the start of the competition.
Guerdat’s next big challenge is to defend his Olympic title in Rio in the summer.
Images: top, The World Cup podium, bottom, Steve Guerdat jumps a faultless round to claim his second consecutive World Cup, both courtesy of FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst