Gothenburg, Sweden – April 7, 2019 – After claiming the last Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final held in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2016 with Corbinian, world No. 1 Steve Guerdat (SUI) defended his title in the Scandinavium on Sunday, this time with Patricio Pasquel Quintana’s Alamo. The pair won the initial speed leg of the championship on Thursday and finished in 13th place with one rail down in Friday’s second round to advance to Sunday’s final phase in third place with 55 points, which converted to 2 penalties. Proving why he is the best in the world, Guerdat piloted Alamo to two clear rounds in the grand finale to maintain his Friday score of 2 penalties to ultimately secure his third career Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final title.
The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final is one of the most demanding championships in the sport of show jumping, requiring the top 20 athletes and horses to complete four rigorous rounds of jumping, sometimes five or six with jump-offs, over the course of four days.
Although everyone had the day off from competition on Saturday, many of the horses were still recovering from Thursday and Friday’s rounds, and struggled through Spanish course designer Santiago Varela’s tough tracks on Sunday. Varela, the official course designer for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, tested the remaining contenders over two technical 1.60m tracks to complete phase three of the individual championship. Returning in reverse order of Friday’s phase two overall standings, the top 28 horses and athletes competed over the first round course with the intent to qualify among the top 20 combinations to advance to the second round.
Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (ESP) and Rokfeller De Pleville Bois Margot, owned by Kaliyuga S.L, led the way following Friday’s phase of competition as the only combination with no penalties to their name, but incurred 8 faults in Sunday’s first round to drop down in the rankings.
Friday’s big winner and hometown hero Peder Fredricson (SWE) aboard Ebba Berglöf’s Catch Me Not S returned on Sunday in second place with 1 penalty, but added 4 faults to his score in the first round of the final phase, which opened the door for Guerdat and fellow Swiss athlete Martin Fuchs, who had just 3 penalties from Friday, to move up in the standings as both athletes jumped clear going into the final round.
It all came down to the wire at the end of the second round when Fredricson returned third-to-last in the order and jumped clear to finish on a total of 5 penalties. With Fuchs and Guerdat still to go, there was no room for error as even just one rail would cost either of them the championship.
The pressure was on as Fuchs and Luigi Baleri’s Clooney 51, the individual silver medalists of the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, North Carolina, entered the arena and produced another faultless round to finish on their Friday score of 3 penalties ahead of Fredricson. Spectators sat on the edge of their seats as Guerdat and Alamo began their course next — the determining round of this year’s overall winner.
The 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final was Alamo’s first-ever major championship and Sunday’s second round was the biggest course the 11-year-old KWPN gelding has ever jumped, but the pair made it look easy, crossing the finish line with all of the fences still intact to win the gold on only 2 penalties and grant the Swiss a one-two finish as Fuchs took home silver. In the end, Fredricson represented the home nation of Sweden on the podium in the bronze position.
Guerdat is the fifth athlete in the 40-year history of the final to win the coveted championship three times, along with Hugo Simon (AUT), Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), Marcus Ehning (GER) and Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA).
The only other combination besides Fuchs and Guerdat able to post a double-clear performance on Sunday was Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Stephex Stables and Scuderia 1918’s Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z, who fell just short of a podium finish on a total of 6 penalties from Friday for fourth place in the final standings.
Niels Bruynseels (BEL), 2018 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final champion Beezie Madden (USA) and Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) all concluded the 2019 championship with 11 penalties, however Bruynseels produced the fastest of the three performances during the second round of phase three in 66.14 seconds for fifth place honors, while Madden took home sixth place in 66.27 seconds and Philippaerts rounded out the top seven in 66.56 seconds.
Other top placing U.S. athletes consisted of Eve Jobs, Kelli Cruciotti and Georgina Bloomberg, who placed back-to-back in 15th, 16th and 17th, respectively, overall.
For the full list of the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final overall rankings, click here.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Steve Guerdat (SUI) – 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final champion
“There was a little bit of an unknown with him going into the final today as it was his first championship. My biggest fear was actually the second day. After going fast on the first day, I wasn’t sure how he would respond. I was a little bit nervous the second day because he didn’t feel as good as he was on Thursday. I didn’t really know what to expect today but he was amazing. He was really fighting for me. It wasn’t easy but he was giving me his all. I didn’t want to let him down because he wasn’t going to let me down. I am very proud of my horse.”
On competing under pressure:
“I think the most important [thing] is to have a rideable horse. The fences are up to the horse to jump them. I really tried to focus on my riding and give him as much time as possible to clear the jumps. He was very good in the warm-up and in the ring. I tried to do my best and I was ready to fight today and the horse was too.”
On Friday’s course:
“[Friday’s] course was more difficult for me. Everything came very quickly with 14 jumps. If the horse isn’t 100 percent focused, you can lose it pretty quick. Today was much nicer to ride and you could find some spots in the course to give your horse a chance to breathe. I think that is what makes Santiago [Varela] so good — he can build something very difficult, but not against the horse.”
Comparing Alamo to his other top mount Bianca:
“He is a lot easier than Bianca when you walk him. He is much more rideable, he is a better mover and he has an easier canter than Bianca does. He may not have her genius, but he is a real athlete and a very powerful horse with a lot of blood. He shocked the world today, I’m very proud.”
Martin Fuchs (SUI) – Second place
On placing second to his Swiss teammate, friend and mentor:
“[Steve] used to be my friend! Big congrats to Steve. If I am beaten by someone, at least it’s Steve. Obviously, I wanted to win. Clooney was fantastic throughout the entire championship, especially today. It was a big track and Santiago put a lot of questions in it, but Clooney made it look simple.”
On his success with Clooney 51 in international competition:
“I’m very fortunate to have one of, if not the best, horse in the world. It’s a bit disappointing to not win the gold medal. Two times second best [at the World Equestrian Games and Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final] is a great achievement — indoor and outdoors. I’m looking forward to the European Championships with him. Hopefully Steve and I will find another Swiss rider who can help us in the Nations Cup.”
Peder Fredricson (SWE) – Third place
On his third place finish:
“It was a great feeling to be on the podium in front of the crowd today. The atmosphere was amazing. [Catch Me Not S] is a fantastic horse. He has his own technique but he has scope enough to cover it and a fantastic mentality. He is very brave, has a lot of blood and is very sensitive. He actually isn’t that difficult [to handle]. I used to do eventing and I think he would have been a perfect event horse.”
2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final (overall standings):
Place / Horse / Athlete / Country / Penalties After Final II / Final III Round A / Final III Round B / Time / Total
1. Alamo / Steve Guerdat / SUI / 2 / 0 / 0 / 65.05 / 2
2. Clooney 51 / Martin Fuchs / SUI / 3 / 0 / 0 / 66.57 / 3
3. Catch Me Not S / Peder Fredricson / SWE / 1 / 4 / 0 / 67.38 / 5
4. Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z / Daniel Deusser / GER / 6 / 0 / 0 / 66.05 / 6
5. Delux Van T & L / Niels Bruynseels / BEL / 3 / 4 / 4 / 66.27 / 11
6. Breitling LS / Beezie Madden / USA / 3 / 4 / 4 / 66. 27 / 11
7. H&M Legend Of Love / Olivier Philippaerts / BEL / 3 / 8 / 0 / 66.56 / 11
8. Rokfeller De Pleville Bois Margot / Eduardo Alvarez Aznar / ESP / 0 / 8 / 4 / 67.90 / 12
9. Chardonnay 79 / Max Kühner / AUT / 6 / 0 / 8 / 66.39 / 14
10. Jumpy Van De Hermitage / Abdel Said / EGY / 11 / 0 / 5 / 70.21 / 16
11. Uno De La Roque / Françios Mathy Jr. / BEL / 5 / 4 / 8 / 67.83 / 17
12. Chacclana / Jaroslaw Skrzyczynski / POL / 4 / 4 / 9 / 68.20 / 17