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