By Louise Parkes
The FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016 qualifiers across South America, South Africa and South East Asia saw tremendous competition for the respective League titles.
Brazil’s Pedro Junqueira Muylaert topped the South American South leaderboard while Venezuela’s Noel Vanososte came out on top in the considerably smaller South American North series. Lisa Williams was South African champion, while Nattapron Triratanachat from Thailand clinched victory in South East Asia.
A total of 70 athletes from four nations - Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay - participated in the South American South League which was staged over six legs, beginning at Sol de Mayo (ARG) in May and concluding at the Haras El Capricho in Buenos Aires (ARG) in November 2015.
Argentina’s Pablo Javier Bernachia claimed maximum points at the opening round, but Pedro Junqueira Muylaert came out on top on his season debut on home ground at Sao Paolo (BRA) next time out, and once he got the bit between his teeth he didn’t let go.
From a starting field of 30 horse-and-rider combinations he steered the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood, Colorado, into pole position ahead of Brazilian compatriot Jose Luiz Guimaraes de Carvalho riding Ariness Vant Wolferink that day. And at the following leg in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) he collected 17 more points when finishing third in the class in which another Brazilian, Fabio Leivas da Costa, took the maximum FEI World Cup™ Jumping points. A further 17 points at round four in Sao Paulo (BRA) in October, where fellow-countryman Marcela Ciavaglia came out on top, further cemented Junqueira Muylaert’s position. This round was particularly competitive, with Brazilian stars Doda de Miranda, Rodrigo Pessoa and Pedro Veniss all finishing in the top nine, but all trailing the eventual League champion.
At the penultimate round of the series in Porto Alegre (BRA) in October, 29-year-old Junqueira Muylaert had to settle for 16th spot, but it was a good day for Jose Luiz Guimaraes de Carvalho who posted a convincing win this time out which moved him up to second place on the leaderboard. However when neither of the two leading riders contested the last round in Buenos Aires, where Uruguay’s Nestor Nielsen van Hoff snatched maximum points with a great win partnering Prince Royal Z de la Luz, then the result was confirmed with Junqueira Muylaert taking the series title with a total of 59 points and De Carvalho having to settle for runner-up spot with 40.
Pedro Junqueira Muylaert has confirmed his participation at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Gothenburg, Sweden next month and is currently putting in his final preparations in Wellington, Florida (USA) where he finished fifth with Colorado in a competitive class won by 2008 individual Olympic champion Eric Lamaze (CAN) two weeks ago. The Brazilian rider previously competed at the FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED) in 2012 riding Ducati.
The winner of the South American North series, Noel Vanososte, has also confirmed that he will be travelling to Gothenburg, having claimed his spot with a narrow one-point victory.
Just six athletes - two from Venezuela and four from Colombia - competed during this League which consisted of two legs in Bogota (COL) last September and a further two in Caracas (VEN) in November. Athletes counted their two best results to decide the League rankings.
Vanososte did not compete in the opening leg in Bogota where the field of five Colombian riders was headed up by Carlos Ramirez. Riding Happy Wandor vant Roosakker, Ramirez pinned fellow-countryman Mauricia Guevara and Capano Z into runner-up spot ahead of Santiago Medina and Monterrey EJC in third. And Ramirez won again at the second leg, but with Offshore D’Amaury and not with his nominated horse Happy Wandor vant Roosakker who he slotted into third spot behind Vanososte and Conrad D this time out.
There were just three in action at Caracas in early November, and Vanososte filled the top two placings with Conrad D and Spidam du Genet while Anselmo Alvarado finished third with Quentin. And when Ramirez didn’t line out again at the final leg at the same venue the following week, then Vanoste’s win with the 15-year-old Conrad D sealed the League title.
In the South Africa League which began in Midrand last May and concluded seven months later in Kyalami, a total of 45 athletes participated and 49-year-old Lisa Williams reigned supreme by a convincing margin.
There were five legs in the series with four results counting for points towards the Longines 2016 Final, and Williams lined out at every leg. She had to settle for ninth place at the competitive opening round in Midrand where Anne-Marie Esslinger steered Alzu Oregon into pole position, but at Shongweni the following month things began to fall into place when she was runner-up behind Jonathan Clarke and Felix van de Mispelaere.
Samantha McIntosh and Lets Win lined up third at this leg and the same three horse-and-rider combinations filled the top three spots at the following leg in Polokwane. But McIntosh didn’t line out at the penultimate leg in Kromdraai in October, so Williams, who finished third once again on the day that Loretta Knowles-Taylor and Titanic scooped maximum points, was already looking fairly comfortable coming into the last round at Kyalmai in November.
Liam Stevens created a sensation when coming out of nowhere to clinch pole position at this one with his Dutch Warmblood mare, Wanda. It was a completely satisfying result for the 22-year-old rider, as it was Wanda’s first major appearance since injuring a suspensory ligament 13 months previously. She only returned to action in May, and Stevens nursed her up the levels and back to top form over the following months, culminating in the victory at the last FEI World Cup™ qualifying round. The pair have always looked promising, winning the FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifier at Port Elizabeth in 2012 and in Capetown in 2013.
However Williams’ runner-up placing with the talented 10-year-old bay gelding, Campbell, simply reinforced her dominance at the top of the League table. She finished the series with a 14-point advantage over runner-up Samantha McIntosh, but is not travelling to Gothenburg for the Longines 2016 Final.
South East Asia
Just one foreign athlete, Sweden’s Helena Gabrielsson, opposed the 10 riders from Thailand who battled it out for the honours in the South East Asian League won by Nattapron Triratanachat.
The series consisted of three legs staged in Pattaya (THA), with two results counting for points, and it was Thailand’s Montakant Nuanmanee who won the first leg last October. Triratanachat finished fifth in this round, but moved up to third next time out when Komtowat Samran took maximum points with Amadeus when slotting into second place. The winner was Japan’s Jin Kanno who was not chasing points in this series.
At the League Final in November it was Jaruporn Limpichati who came out on top with Irregular Choice, pinning Japan’s Kanno into runner-up spot this time out. Arinadtha Chavatanont finished third with Apanachi, while Dhewin Manathanya was fourth with Blue Boy T.
Triratanachat picked up seven points with her 15-year-old grey mare Kalindra when slotting into fifth place, and this left her with 18 points, the same total as that achieved by Chavatanont and Manathanya. In the case of a tie, athletes are separated by the number of wins and top placings, so, in the final analysis, 20-year-old Triratanachat had the edge.
However the all-rounder, who competes in all three Olympic disciplines of Dressage, Eventing and Jumping, will not travel to the Longines 2016 Final.
Detailed results of FEI World Cup™ Jumping South America South League here
Detailed results of FEI World Cup™ Jumping South America North League here
Detailed results of FEI World Cup™ Jumping South Africa League here
Detailed results of FEI World Cup™ Jumping South East Asian League here