It all came down to the final day. The best of the best in the sport at odds with each other in Gothenburg, battling it out to determine the 2013 World Cup Champion. The third leg would prove to be absolutely brutal. Road maps were required to find the back rails on the oxers, and rocket packs were necessary to get up and over the verticals.
The jumps were huge and the time was tight (even after adjustment). The actually really reminded me of what we saw in the CN International at Spruce Meadows, but shrunken down into a tiny indoor arena, making it that much harder. The biggest trouble spot was at 5ab, the one-stride of planks, but all areas of the course saw its share of faults. The back rails of the oxers came down countless times, and were the ruin of many great rounds. Can you guess how many clears there were? Zero.
One of the best goes of round one belongs to McLain Ward and Super Trooper. They were quick, accurate, and made most of the course look simple. Unfortunately, Super Trooper couldn’t quite get his back toes clear of the back rail of one of the oxers, so they would finish the round on a respectable 4 faults.
I was nervous for Beezie and Simon since he was really hanging up over oxers during Fridays round (and this was not a course you would want to do that on!), but today he seemed more relaxed and forward. They looked good, really good, until the plank at 5b jumped out of its cups. They would complete the round with no other faults, finishing on 4.
Leader form the first two legs, Luciana Diniz, would run into all sorts of trouble with Lennox, and finish on 12.
Standings after Round One (notice that there is only a rail separating the top 5):
Still big, but arguably a little easier, a few clears were expected over round two.
When all of the dust settled, there would only be one clear, belonging to reigning Olympic champion Steve Guerdat and his acrobatic mount, Nino. That clear would leave him on 9 penalties.
Entering the ring holding the lead, Beezie and Simon were carrying 5 penalties. The round was looking great until the last line, they arrived a little long and the sheer width of the oxer was just too much for Simon on stretch for; they would have it down and finish the round with 4 faults.
What did this mean? A jump-off between Steve and Beezie to determine the World Cup Champion! Sound a little familiar? Last year, Steve jumped-off against Rich Fellers and Flexible to determine the winner.
Having earned her way into the drivers seat, Beezie had the preferable second spot in the jump-off, Steve having to open things up. Now, no one can dispute the Nino is much faster than Simon, I would say that Nino is probably one of the quickest Grand Prix horses on the circuit. If Steve was willing to risk things, and the risks paid off, there would be no way that Beezie could catch him.
In a drive for the win, Steve cut corners, and had Nino galloping forward. The round looked good until they made an incredibly tight turn back to the FEI vertical. Nino lost his footing a little, and took the top rail down. Then, to the surprise of everyone watching, they pulled another rail, finishing the jump-off in an incredible time, but with 8 faults.
Able to pull a rail and still take the win, Beezie rode a careful and conservative….clear.
Before last year, the Americans were on a 25 year drought in World Cup wins, and now they have 2 in a row! Rich and Flexible in 2012 ,and now in 2013:
Beezie Madden and Simon are your 2013 Rolex FEI World Cup Champions!!!
Woohoo!!!!!! The extremely strong American squad went to Gothenburg to win, and they did not disappoint. Not only did Beezie win, but both McLain and Reed were in the top ten, finishing 5th and 10th respectively.
Video – Beezie and Simon’s round
Full results can be found here.
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