by Louise Parkes
Germany’s Daniel Deusser (37) rocketed up to third on the Western European League leaderboard and booked his ticket to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden next April when posting his second win of the 2018/2019 qualifying season at Madrid in Spain today. He topped the line-up with Calisto Blue in Verona (ITA) last month, and in today’s sixth round of the 13-leg series he steered Tobago Z to the quickest time in a tension-filled 10-horse jump-off to take maximum points once again.
Runner-up was World No. 2, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (36) who has now forged a significant lead on the league table, and third place went to Irma Karlsson (25), one of three Swedish riders to make it into the timed round.
Karlsson led the way against the clock with a beautifully-ridden, fast and accurate ride on the lovely 10-year-old mare Ida Bisschop to set a strong target in 48.28 seconds. But it was like watching a piece of precision engineering as Deusser’s handsome Zangersheide stallion shaved 1.55 seconds off that with effortless ease when fifth to go.
“We found a good rhythm from the first to the second, and it lasted to the very end of the course. Tobago is very careful and very scopey, and he’s not a hot horse so that really helps in the jump-off because he never rushes even when he’s under pressure - you get the same jump whether you are going fast or slow” the German rider explained.
Having set the standard at 46.73 seconds, the 2014 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion then had to sit it out as the remaining five took their turn over Javier Trenor’s shortened track. Niels Bruynseels slotted in behind Karlsson when clear with his exciting nine-year-old Delux van T&L in 48.42, and when both his Belgian compatriot Pieter Devos (Claire Z), winner at last weekend’s leg in Stuttgart, and Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (Toveks Mary Lou) left a pole on the floor, it was still all to play for with two left to run.
Guerdat looked well set to challenge for the lead with his 10-year-old mare Ulysse des Forets. However a wider turn to the double three from home may have cost valuable fractions of seconds, so when the pair broke the beam in 47.12 then only the reigning European individual champion, Sweden’s Peder Fredricson, stood between Deusser and his second success of the season.
Fredricson was fully focused as he set sail with H&M Christian K, but an unscheduled stop at the third fence put paid to his chances and when the pair completed with a total of 16 faults they lined up in tenth place.
Deusser, currently world no. 7, was really pleased with his horse’s performance. “Tobago has developed very well this year. His first World Cup was in Bordeaux in February and he has done a few Grand Prix classes and is showing a lot of promise for the future” he said. He intends taking either Tobago or Calisto Blue to Gothenburg - “you ride your best at the Final!” he pointed out.
With 40 points now on the board he looks set to be inside the top-18 who make the cut from the Western European League for the Longines 2019 Final even though there are another seven legs left to go. Pieter Devos has 49 so is also well on his way while double-champion Guerdat, who has collected points at all six legs to date while riding four different horses, is in full command at the top of the table with a big tally of 58.
The action stays in Spain for the next leg of the Western European League, with the port city of La Coruña in Galicia playing host next weekend.
Result: 1, Tobago Z (Daniel Deusser) GER 0/0 46.73; 2, Ulysse des Forets (Steve Guerdat) SUI 0/0 47.12; 3, Ida van de Bisschop (Irma Karlsson) SWE 0/0 48.28; 4, Delux van T&L (Niels Bruynseels) BEL 0/0 48.42; 5, Uno de la Roque (Francois Mathy Jr) BEL 0/0 49.48; 6, Toveks mary Lou (Henrik von Eckermann) SWE 0/4 47.64; 7, Claire Z (Pieter Devos) BEL 0/4 49.21; 8, Zigali PS (Eric van der Vleuten) NED 0/8 48.08; 9, Iq van het Steentje (Wilm Vermeir) BEL 0/8 48.41; 10, H&M Christian K (Peder Fredricson) SWE 0/16 65.43.
Full Result here
Standings after sixth leg of Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League at Madrid (ESP):
1. Steve Guerdat SUI - 58
2. Pieter Devos BEL - 49
3. Daniel Deusser GER - 40
4. Martin Fuchs SUI - 35
5. Kevin Staut FRA - 34
6. Niels Bruynseels BEL - 31
7. Peder Fredricson SWE - 29
8. Hans-Dieter Dreher GER - 28
9. Gudrun Patteet BEL - 27
10. Max Kuehner AUT - 26
Full Standings here
Watch highlights here