It was an exciting week of show jumping at the second annual Longines Masters Cup New York (April 25-28, 2019), as five-member teams from Europe and the U.S. went head-to-head in the Riders Masters Cup. ‘Riders Europe,’ including Harrie Smolders (NED), Pius Schwizer (SUI), Darragh Kenny (IRL), Olivier Philippaerts (BEL), and Edward Levy (FRA) successfully defended their title in a nail-biting finish against ‘Riders USA,’ consisting of Olympic gold medalist and 2017 FEI World Cup™ champion McLain Ward; 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games gold medalist Devin Ryan; FEI World Cup Final competitors Kristen Vanderveen and Laura Chapot; and Under 25 star Lillie Keenan. Egypt’s Nayel Nassar made history at the event as the first rider to win both the Longines Speed Challenge and the $400,000 Longines Grand Prix of New York at the same event, and he also did it with the same horse, “Lucifer V.” We hope to welcome these riders at the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas!
The Scandinavium Arena was sold out on the final day of the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals Gothenburg. That’s 12,000 seats filled with nervous excitement and anticipation. The atmosphere was electric. Each spectator dared to not move, whisper, or blink as each competitor contested two jump rounds at 1.60m designed by Spanish course designer Santiago Varela. No stranger to pressure, the current FEI World Rank No. 1 show jumper, Steve Guerdat, soared over the final 12-obstacle course to win his third Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ title.
This was lucky trip number 13 to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals for Guerdat. Winning his first World Cup in Las Vegas in 2015 and again in 2016 in Gothenburg, Switzerland’s Olympic veteran Steve Guerdat and Alamo, the black 11-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Patricio Pasquel Quintana held onto a podium finish throughout the entire competition. The last to go in the final round, Guerdat and Alamo raced the clock with 68 seconds allowed and no rails in hand. As the last fence combination marked the downfall of so many, Guerdat and Alamo cleared them with ease ending their time in Gothenburg as champion with just two penalty points.
“I was a bit unsure going to the Final today as this is his (Alamo’s) first championship and I was a little nervous on Friday after the speed class, but in the end, he has been amazing all week”, said Guerdat.
A reminiscent Guerdat recalls his World Cup journey. “When I was young I used to dream of winning the World Cup, and when I finished second twice I wondered if it would ever happen. So when I won in 2015 (Las Vegas) it was very special, and to win here in Gothenburg the next year was even better, because this is such a great show, the crowd is like nowhere else and the atmosphere is unbelievable. To win three times, and to do it in Gothenburg again today, this makes me very proud!”
Fellow Swiss rider and Olympic veteran Martin Fuchs piloted Clooney 51, the sure-footed 13-year-old Westphalian gelding, in a tense second round. Fuchs only had one point separating him from the leader, Guerdat. The momentum of Fuchs and Clooney 51 never waned as they came barreling down to the last few fences, an imposing Longines wall to a large oxer combination to the final vertical. Fuchs completed the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals Gothenburg with three penalties securing his spot on the podium behind is mentor for second place.
Fuchs now has finished second in two major events, last year’s World Championship and the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final, Fuchs noted “If I have to be beaten it’s great if Steve wins, he is my friend and training partner. Clooney was amazing, he jumped both rounds easy, he is one of the best horses in the world. Two times second place is already a great achievement, and I am already looking forward to the European Championships this summer!”
The reigning European champion and hometown hero, Sweden’s Olympic veteran Peder Fredricson and Catch Me Not S, the striking grey 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood owned by Ebba Berglöf, were foot-perfect. Consistently ranked in the top three, there was not enough of a gap to relax between fourth place finisher Germany’s Daniel Duesser who posted a double clear round. Strategic speed and stride management cemented Fredricson’s final round going double clear with a final score of five penalty points for third place.
The defending World Cup champion from the U.S., Olympic veteran Beezie Madden and her 13-year-old stallion Breitling LS, were efficient throughout the entire competition. It was, however, not their week for a back-to-back World Cup victory as a bogie fence in each round cost them a spot in the top three. Beezie and Breitling LS concluded the competition with a total of 11 penalty points for sixth place. They were the highest placed U.S. combination.
To say the pressure was on as the last six riders of the 2019 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Finals Gothenburg prepared for the Freestyle would be inaccurate. It was intense. It was everything a World Cup Championship should be. Each movement shuffled the leaderboard. Each centerline was energized by the crowds applause pushing horse and rider to perform their very best until the final salute.
In the end, it was the multiple Olympic, World Cup, and World Equestrian Games (WEG) champion Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD from Germany who would be crown the victor. The duo looked determined as they performed their freestyle, attempting perfection to replace USA’s Laura Graves from the top. A bobble in Werth’s one-tempi changes in a very technical test cost them a final mark in the 90% range. However, their test was enough to move them into first with 88.871%. This was Werth’s fifth World Cup and third consecutive World Cup win with Weihegold OLD, the 14-year-old Oldenburg owned by Christine Arns-Krogmann.
“I could take all the risks at extended canter and the pirouettes were great. We could not have been better,” said Werth. Noting the slight miscommunication in the one-tempi changes Werth remarked “I was arrogant there, so that was my fault! I love what I do, and this is what keeps me so competitive!”
Entering the centerline to the theme of Rudy, USA’s Olympic and WEG veteran Laura Graves with her own and Curt Maes’ 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood Verdades, threw down the gauntlet for Werth to chase. As the second U.S. rider to go, the pair earned the first 10 of the day on their half-pass movement. “Diddy” and Graves were picture and foot-perfect earning a final score of 87.179 % to take the lead. In the end, a slightly more technical ride from Werth separated first and second place by only 1.692 percentage points moving Graves into second.
“My horse (Verdades) likes his job and never puts a foot wrong when I ride him, although at the barn he knows he’s the boss,” said Graves. “He was so rideable today; the crowd was amazing, and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as me!”
Sweeping the third podium spot in a dramatic way, Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg aboard Damsey FRH, the 17-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Louise Leatherdale & Susanne Meyer, were the last combination to go in the Scandinavium Arena. Producing a forward test, the pair quickly ticked off each box climbing the leaderboard. During their test, it was evident Langehanenberg and Damsey FRH were feeling the atmosphere and decided to go all in on their last centerline. Damsey FRH’s final movement, the extended trot, was so bold and powerful traveling to the judges booth at “C”, their final halt was within centimeters of the boards earning an 86.571%.
“I am thankful and really proud of him,” said Langehanenberg. “The clapping motivated him at the end of the test, and I think he would have been quite happy to start all over again!”
Friday’s Grand Prix podium finisher, WEG veteran Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Blue Hors Zack, the 15-year-old Stallion owned by the Blue Hors Aps from Denmark, were a favorite in the Freestyle. After producing an efficient and lovely test, the pair earned an 85.468 % to place them in third with four riders left to go. It wasn’t until Langehanenberg concluded her test that Andersen and “Zack” moved in to fourth.
The Olympic and World Cup veteran contingent representing the U.S. of Laura Grave’s with Verdades, Adrienne Lye with Salvino and Kasey Perry-Glass with Goerklintgaards Dublet were a force throughout the competition. Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet, the 16-year-old Dutch warmblood gelding, produced a brilliant freestyle earning fifth place with an 84.975%. Lyle and Salvino, the 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Betsy Julian LLC, beautifully danced with Lyle to a personal best of 81.832% for seventh at the 2019 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Finals Gothenburg.
The excitement on the second day of competition at the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals was palpable as 32 combinations made quick, nail-biting decisions to climb the leaderboard to victory. Course designer Santiago Varela once again challenged riders at 1.60m. The hometown favorite and reigning European champion Peder Fredricson and Catch Me Not S dominated the class and jump-off for the win.
The first-round winner, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, said today’s second competition at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2019 in Gothenburg would shake up the leaderboard, he wasn’t wrong. A single mistake made in today’s class placed Guerdat into Sunday’s two-round title-decider in third on the leaderboard, two points behind Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar who leads in the standings and a single point behind Peder Fredricson who delivered a sensational home victory this evening.
Sweden’s Olympic veteran Peder Fredricson and Catch Me Not S, the bold grey 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood owned by Ebba Berglöf, were one of only eight combinations to post a clear round advancing them into the jump-off clocking a blazing 37.94 seconds.
After Thursday’s competition, Fredricson looked forlorn after finishing in eleventh place with H&M All In. However tonight’s victory with the aptly-named grey, Catch Me Not, has changed everything. “I was so disappointed yesterday and was not expecting to win today”, said Fredricson. “So I’m really happy tonight!”
Riding for Spain, Olympic veteran Eduardo Alvarez Aznar, left nothing to chance in the ring with Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot once the clock began to count down. The 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding continued to make quick work of the track and finishing the jump-off on 37.97 seconds and no rails. This dynamic duo has zero penalties and is poised to win the final.
“Going into the jump-off I felt it was safer to be in the top places for the final on Sunday so I didn’t risk it all”, said Aznar. “I was not expecting to be leading tonight but to have a good round. My horse is not the fastest but he is very consistent”. Aznar finished sixth at last year’s Longines Final in Paris (FRA) and who now has the best of the draw for Sunday’s finale. “I want to be on the podium of a Championship and I am now in a good position but I have to stay focused and have a good ride on Sunday”, he added.
Rounding out the top three of the day, Max Kühner of Austria and his own Chardonnay 79 demonstrated a true partnership as the 12-year-old Holsteiner sailed over the course with care to lead the way against the clock and set a sensible target posting a clear round in 39.44 seconds.
“First to go is never easy”, said Kühner. “As my horse is not really a naturally fast horse, the strategy was to be fast enough and clear”.
Moving up the leaderboard, defending champion and U.S. Olympic veteran Beezie Madden and her 13-year-old stallion Breitling LS, once again made the course look easy. Posting the fastest round of the day Madden and Breitling LS secured a place in the jump-off, however the last fence once again proved problematic. Adding a rail, Madden and Breitling LS are still in contention moving up from tenth to a tied-fourth place in the overall rankings alongside Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels and Olivier Philippaerts and Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs. A single fence separates Poland’s Jaroslaw Skrzyczynski and the top of the leaderboard.
28 of the original 33 combinations will move forward in Sunday’s final round of the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals in Gothenburg.
Standings after Competition 2 here: https://results.hippodata.de/2019/1638/docs/jwcf_got_2019_-_standings_after_wcf_ii_-_confirmed.pdf
📸 Credit: FEI/Liz Gregg & Christophe Taniere
Bright lights, bays, and bling sparkled in the Scandinavium Arena as the dressage competition of the 2019 FEI World Cup™ Finals Gothenburg began with the Grand Prix.
Germany’s Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD, the 14-year-old Oldenburg owned by Christine Arns-Krogmann, are one of only two mares competing in the Finals. The multiple Olympic, World Cup, and World Equestrian Games (WEG) champion dazzled the crowd with an almost foot perfect Grand Prix quickly taking the lead with an 81.755%. Werth is in pursuit of her third consecutive, and fifth overall, World Cup title.
The German superstar knows the competition is far from over. “Gothenburg holds great memories for me,” said Werth. “Tomorrow is a whole new game (Freestyle), we will have to wait and see (what happens).”
Hot on the heels of Werth, USA’s Olympic and WEG veteran Laura Graves with her own and Curt Maes’ Verdades, affectionately known as “Diddy” entered the arena on a mission. The 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood exuded presence and style, cementing themselves as serious candidates to dethrone Werth for the crown earning an 80.109 % in the Grand Prix.
“I’m incredibly hungry to be at the top of the podium and I’ll do my very best tomorrow,” said Graves. “I know there is a real chance, I believe in this horse – he’s 17 but in the best shape ever!”
Representing Denmark, the rising star of WEG veteran Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Blue Hors Zack, the 15-year-old Stallion owned by the Blue Hors Aps, showcased a beautifully executed test to come in third with a 78.152 %. Noting that Saturday’s Freestyle is right up their alley, “he’s just getting better and better!”
All 18 horse-and-rider combinations will ride in to a sold out arena in Saturday’s Grand Prix Freestyle at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Finals Gothenburg.
It was a day of speed, accuracy and luck in the in the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg during the first phase of the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals. The 13-fence course designed by Spanish course designer Santiago Varela left little room for error as riders and their charges raced the clock in their journey to victory. It was the current world ranking number one show jumper, Steve Guerdat, who bested the field after day one.
Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Alamo, the black 11-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Patricio Pasquel Quintana rode to the top of the leaderboard as the third-last to go out of the field of 33 starters with 61.28 seconds. Guerdat, the 2012 Olympic champion and FEI Jumping World Cup champion (2015 in Las Vegas and 2016 in Gothenburg), bested Belgium’s Pieter Devos time of 61.31 seconds sending Devo and Apart, the 14-year-old chestnut KWPN gelding owned by Devos Stables, to a second place position. Fellow Belgian Olivier Philippaerts and H&M Legend of Love, the striking 13-year-old grey DSP owned by Team Philippaerts settle for third with a time of 61.43 seconds.
“I’m very happy, he (Alamo) jumped well. I had a fast round without taking too much out of the horse. I know that this horse does not go as fast as my other horses, but I know he is quite quick, “said Guerdat. “I just tried to stay focused on my plan and what I wanted to do. I didn’t think too much about what the others (riders) were doing.”
Defending World Cup champions, U.S. Olympic veteran Beezie Madden and her 13-year-old stallion Breitling LS, were making efficient work of the course when an unlucky rail dropped at the very last fence. The unfortunate rail added three seconds to their fast and efficient time of 60.74 seconds. The duo now sits in tenth place heading into Friday’s competition.
The action began with a dramatic dismount for Guerdat’s good friend and Swiss team-mate Beat Mandli who attempted a very difficult turn inside the first fence on the approach to the planks at fence 11. His 11-year-old mare Dsarie just couldn’t make it and stopped, resulting in an elimination.
“We can expect a lot of places to move around, it always changes a lot on the second day,” said Guerdat. “I think a mistake is much more important tomorrow than today. Everything looks good today, but everything can look much different tomorrow!”.
This is Guerdat’s 13th Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals appearance.
Friday’s Start Order https://results.hippodata.de/2019/1638/docs/s08.pdf
Standings after Competition 1 here https://results.hippodata.de/2019/1638/docs/jwcf_got_2019_-_standings_after_wcf_i.pdf
In just one year (well, one year and 14 days, but who’s counting?) the world’s top equestrian jumping and dressage superstars will return to the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’ to once again compete for the prestigious title of FEI World Cup™ Champion. The countdown to the 2020 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ and FEI Dressage World Cup™ Finals has begun and what an incredible week it will be!
The Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas will be the place to be on April 15-19, 2020 and everyone who is there is surely in for a treat! The FEI World Cup™ Finals are like no other competition, and Las Vegas – the Entertainment Capital of the World – showcases the sport like nowhere else! The Finals are the biggest annual individual championships for jumping and dressage athletes. The entry list will read like a who’s-who of the biggest names in the sport including Olympic, World, European and World Cup champions, many of whom don’t usually compete in the U.S. It will be a rare opportunity for fans to watch the absolute best our sport has to offer!
Not only will spectators be treated to thrilling competition from start to finish, but they will also get to experience the dazzling entertainment that has made Las Vegas famous around the world! It will be a feast for the senses with Olympic, World, European and World Cup champions on hand, plus an array of Las Vegas acts, spectacular shopping and special events.
Dressage Final Back in Primetime!
The schedule for 2020 also features the return of the Dressage Freestyle, the class that determines the World Cup Champion, to its previous Saturday evening timeslot. Based on past experience, this promises to be one of equestrian sports’ most exciting nights of the year!
Exclusive All-Session Ticket Offers
Two exclusive ticket offerings will begin on April 15. These apply to either jumping or dressage or for combined packages including both disciplines.
- From April 15 – May 31, 2019, All-Session Ticket holders from 2015 will have the first chance to order All-Session Tickets for 2020 during an exclusive renewal period.
- From July 1 – August 15, members of the World Cup Club will have the next exclusive opportunity to purchase All-Session Tickets. There’s no charge to become a World Cup Club member, so be sure to sign up now to have first choice on the best available seats, and also to get the latest news, ticket and hotel information. Join at www.worldcuplasvegas.com/world-cup-club.
Starting August 16, following these two exclusive periods for 2015 All-Session Ticket holders and World Cup Club members (did I mention that it’s FREE to join the World Cup Club?), general sales of All-Session tickets will open and All-Session tickets for either discipline will be available to anyone. Tickets for individual sessions will go on sale at the end of the year.
The 2020 Finals marks the seventh time that Las Vegas is hosting the FEI World Cup™ Finals following 2000 and 2003 when it hosted the Jumping Finals, and 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2015 when it hosted both the Jumping and Dressage Finals. The world’s best will be there and the American contingent is sure to be a major force – especially on home soil. U.S. riders have won the last two Jumping Finals, with Olympic Gold medalists McLain Ward taking the 2017 title in Omaha and Beezie Madden adding her second World Cup title in Paris in 2018. The U.S. Team (including Ward) also clinched the Gold medal at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) in Tryon, North Carolina.
The U.S. is equally strong in Dressage. Laura Graves has made her mark on many a podium over the past few years. She and her legendary partner Verdades (“Diddy”) were second at both the 2017 and 2018 Finals and won individual and team Silver medals at the 2018 World Equestrian Games and team Bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics. In fact they are off to Gothenburg, Sweden this week to see if they can continue their incredible streak at this year’s FEI World Cup™ Finals.
One think I am absolutely sure of is that the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas will be one event you won’t want to miss. If you had an All-Session ticket in 2015, be ready on April 15 to order your tickets for next year. If not, then be sure to join the World Cup Club immediately so that you’re eligible to order your tickets on June 1. Take a moment to visit the event’s official website at www.WorldCupLasVegas.com and sign up today (did I mention that it’s FREE to join?).
I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas next year!