Leg 2 of the World Cup Finals in Gothenburg resulted in a shake-up in the standings. The challenging 1.60m course was jam-packed into the small arena, with maxed out dimensions, and tricky lines. Unlike yesterday’s speed class, this leg was under Table A, and consisted of a first round with the clears then heading to a jump-off. There really wasn’t one single trouble spot on course, the faults were quite spread out.
The order for this leg was determined by yesterday’s speed class, with riders returning in reverse order of placing. This may lead you to believe that most clears should come at the end of the order, and that may be somewhat true, but every rider in the final has earned their way in, and each one of them is capable of producing a clear. This was demonstrated today by the first two riders, Edwina Tops-Alexander and Kristaps Neretnieks, both of whom made the course look very easy. From there, the clears became less frequent, but at the end of the first round, 15 pairs had earned their way into the jump-off. I’m also pleased to say that Rich and Flexible put in a very respectable 4-fault round, rebounding nicely from the disastrous speed class.
Alright, so before we get to the jump-off, here is an interview with Beezie after her win in the first leg:
Always so poised and professional whether it be in the saddle or talking to the media, how did Beezie do in the second leg?
Well, there were some gasps when Simon hung up in the air over some massive oxers, but somehow Beezie managed to nurse him to a clear in the first round. I was slightly worried about the triple combination since it has 2 very wide oxers, but Beezie got him through it without too much trouble.
With a field of 15 in a World Cup Final jump-off, you expect some daring and speedy rounds, and Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat, with his feisty Olympic partner, Nino des Buissonnets, did not dissapoint. Coming in the first half of the jump-off order after an uncharacteristic rail left them down the ranking in the speed class, Steve and Nino were ready to redeem themselves and earn their way up the placings. Naturally a very fast and bouncy horse, Nino had no trouble revving up the engine and flying around the course. Slicing and dicing their way through the turns, taking all of the tough inside options, Steve and Nino stopped the clock at an incredible 34.09 seconds, nearly four seconds faster than the previous leader.
With that done, all the other riders were forced to ride the same inside track if they wanted a chance to beat that time. Many tried, but no one could quite beat, or even come close to replicating, Steve’s round. Beezie was looking to have produced a decent clear until she was a little off on the approach to the final oxer and Simon had the back rail. She would finish the class in 9th place, just under fellow American, McLain Ward.
So, where does that lead the World Cup standings? Remember, the legs are cumulative.
Unsurprisingly, Steve Guerdat shot up the list and now is within striking distance of the win. Our previous second and third place riders, Pius Schwizer and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, fell to 6th and 4th respectively. Beezie, although she didn’t do as well as we would have hoped, only fell one spot to second. Who stole first? That would be Luciana Diniz, who came 4th in the speed class, and 3rd in the second leg. See- since it is cumulative, you don’t have to win the individual classes to be on top in the ranking!
You can find complete results and standings here.
Anyways, things are sure shaping up to be a very exciting final day of competition on Sunday. I would say that you need to be in the low single digits to have a shot at the win, but in show jumping we all know that strange things can happen.
It will be an early morning for anyone watching in North America (especially on the west coast), but the final goes at 7:55 EST on Sunday.
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