Three-time champion Marcus Ehning drawn first to go in Final opener

Media updates
16 April 2024 Author: Louise Parkes

The draw for the starting order for tomorrow’s opening competition at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2024 took place tonight at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Riyadh (KSA), and three-time champion, Germany’s Marcus Ehning, will be first to go of the 34 athletes.

The draw was conducted by five-time Olympian Ramzy Al Duhami from Saudi Arabia and Great Britain’s Jessica Mendoza, and the last two into the arena tomorrow evening will be defending champion, Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann, who will be followed by young American Skylar Wireman.  

As Ehning said yesterday this is his twenty-first Final, “so I have a bit of experience in it and I know anything can happen, but so far we are quite relaxed and my horse feels good!”, he pointed out. He will partner the 11-year-old gelding Coolio who he described as “quite a new horse for me, he won the qualifier in Madrid and we are still on the way to find each other but he is a really amazing horse and I’m very hopeful in him”. 

It would be a very special weekend should he become the first-ever four-time FEI Jumping World Cup™ winner because he turns 50 years old this Friday. However also chasing that goal will be Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat who is drawn 26th for tomorrow’s opening Speed and Handiness competition. 

Von Eckermann modestly assesses his own chances, but he and his brilliant gelding who have scooped multiple honours including last year’s Longines title are likely to present formidable opposition in their quest for a back-to-back double of victories.

The story of the 44th Final is about to play out, so don’t miss a hoofbeat….

Full starting order here….

Some Facts and Figures:

World number one, Henrik von Eckermann and his great horse King Edward, became the first-ever Swedish winners of the coveted Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ trophy in Omaha, USA 12 months ago and return to defend their title this week.

Riyadh, the capital city of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, presents the 44th Final, and this is the first time for the event to be staged in the Middle East.

The biggest-ever prize-fund of €2.6m is on offer at this year’s Final.

Austria’s Hugo Simon and Gladstone were the first winners of the coveted title when the inaugural Final was staged in Gothenburg (SWE) in 1979.

There have been five three-time champions - Hugo Simon (AUT), Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Marcus Ehning (GER), Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) and Steve Guerdat (SUI).

Both Ehning and Guerdat will be chasing a record-breaking fourth title. 

The star-studded cast of competitors also includes previous winners Christian Ahlmann from Germany and Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs along with world number two and reigning Olympic champion Ben Maher from Great Britain.

Course designer is Germany’s Frank Rothenberger.

The timetable for the three deciding competitions is:

Final 1 - Wednesday 17 April at 19.05 local time

Final 2 - Thursday 18 April at 18.50 local time

Final 3 - Saturday 20 April at 15.45 local time.