by Louise Parkes
Defending series champion, America’s Beezie Madden, finished top of the North American Eastern Sub-League when that series drew to a close in Ocala (USA) last weekend with victory for teenage sensation Brian Moggre. And across the globe in Warsaw (Poland), Jaroslaw Skrzyczynski clinched pole position at the hotly-contested Central European League Final on home ground on Sunday.
The two events drew a line under the exciting FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 season qualifiers which saw 894 athletes compete in 16 different leagues across six continents. As usual, the Western European League was the largest, with 151 riders chasing down points. However the combination of the 91 starters in the North American Eastern Sub-League and the 74 that lined out in the North American Western Sub-League ensured this region attracted the biggest entry of all with a total of 165.
Central Europe is also sub-divided into Northern and Southern Sub-Leagues and also enjoyed a strong turnout with 150 athletes taking part. Skrzyczynski was already leading the Northern Sub-League standings going into last weekend’s Final, bringing forward his best five scores of the season. And although his Polish compatriot, Wojciech Wojcianiec, had a dream weekend with victory aboard Nacord Melloni in Sunday’s Grand Prix, it was Skrzyczynski who topped the overall leaderboard. A win with Chacclana on Friday had strengthened his position, and he completed on a total of 138 points to claim his spot at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2019 which will kick off in Gothenburg (SWE) on 3 April.
He didn’t make it into the Grand Prix jump-off however, having to settle for fourth place with the quickest first-round four faults. Third spot was already assured for Estonia’s Kullo Kender and Artas who had collected just a single time fault and it was left to Wojcianiec to battle it out with compatriot Radoslaw Zalewski (Ilatina) against the clock. Both men faulted at their second attempt, but Wojcianiec’s much quicker time clinched it and he didn’t hide his excitement when he realised the result ensured he has also qualified for Gothenburg along with Skrzyczynski and Kender.
Meanwhile the result of the Caucasus-Caspian League is also confirmed, with Iranian athletes completely dominating this series. There were three qualifiers in total, the first and last taking place in Tehran (IRI) and the second staged in Tbilisi (GEO). Clear winner was Masoud Mokarinezhad, with Mohammad Zarrin in second place and fellow Iranians Davood Pourrezaei and Danial Mahzoun sharing third in the final standings.
The invitations have now been issued to all eligible riders, and the North American contingent is filled with big names. Madden is automatically invited as defending champion and is joined on the Eastern Sub-League qualified list by fellow-Americans Molly Ashe Cawley, McLain Ward, Laura Kraut, Devin Ryan, Lucy Davis, Georgina Bloomberg and Mattias Tromp. Extra eligible athletes from this series also include Germany’s Wilhelm Genn, New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley and Switzerland’s Beat Mandli along with Irishmen Conor Swail and Shane Sweetnam and the Canadian duo of Nicole Walker and Mario Deslauriers. The three qualified from the Western Sub-League are America’s Richard Spooner, Eve Jobs and Kelli Cruciotti, while Egypt’s Nayel Nassar and Mexico’s Salvador Onate and Eugenio Garza Perez have also made the cut through this series.
The deadline for acceptance of invitations is next Monday, 18 March. following which the full list of runners and riders for the much-anticipated 41st FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final will be published. It’s going to be great……don’t miss a hoofbeat!!
Check out the Final Standings for all Leagues here….