Germany’s Marcus Ehning cruised to victory with Cornado NRW in the penultimate qualifying round of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014 Western European League series at the Parc des Expositions de Bordeaux in France last Saturday.

Ehning’s horse, an 11-year-old son of Marco Kutscher's former super-star ride, Cornet Obolensky, was making his debut at this level of the sport, but showed his extraordinary class when galloping home to snatch victory from the European Championship-winning partnership of Roger Yves Bost and the brilliant mare Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois from France.

“This was my first World Cup qualifier with this horse and I’m really happy, not just with the win but with how much the horse is improving”, said Marcus who currently lies fourth in the Longines Rankings. “Over the last few months we have competed in three Grand Prix classes and finished third, second and first - he’s getting better and better all the time”, he added.

He couldn’t disguise his excitement at the potential of Cornado NRW after the big grey won a class in Verona, Italy last November when he described the stallion as “a special one”.  He said then “we have been together now for two years, and he has more power, more quality and more gallop to show - it is important to take time to develop a horse like this.  He’s definitely one for the future”.  After this success, it seems the future has already arrived.

Asked if he thought Cornado would be his horse for the forthcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy, Ehning replied “I don’t know yet, I’m just happy with how things are right now” but he has decided to take him to the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Lyon in April.  “I have three horses qualified for the Final but my first choice is Cornado”, Ehning pointed out.

Meanwhile Roger Yves Bost was stoic about finishing in runner-up spot. “Even though Marcus beat me I am happy because we did not go at full speed.  My objective today was to qualify for Lyon and we have done that so I am extremely pleased!  The plan is to take Myrtille to Lyon and also to the World Equestrian Games.  Nippon is also qualified for Lyon, but it is more likely that I will take Myrtille” he explained.

Ehning has now overtaken Patrice Delaveau at the top of the Western European Leaderboard while Schwizer lies third ahead of Britain’s Scott Brash in fourth and Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat in fifth.  The battle between those further down the line who are still in contention for a top-18 finishing spot in order to qualify for the Final will be at fever pitch when the action resumes at the last qualifying leg in Gothenburg on 2 March.

Result: 1, Cornado NRW (Marcus Ehning) GER 0/0 35.45; 2, Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois (Roger Yves Bost) FRA 0/0 35.66; 3, Toulago (Pius Schwizer) SUI 0/0 35.83; 4, Tinka's Serenade (Billy Twomey) IRL 0/0 36.08; 5, Elle van de Kolmen (Michael Whitaker) GBR 0/0 37.93; 6, Diablesse de Muze (Joe Clee) GBR 0/0 38.20; 7, Antello Z (Cameron Hanley) IRL 0/0 39.39; 8, Carinjo HDC (Patrice Delaveau) FRA 0/4 35.43; 9, Chiara (Ludger Beerbaum) GER 0/36.05; 10, Lacontino (Katharina Offel) UKR 0/4 37.37; 11, Fit for Fun (Luciana Diniz) POR 0/4 38.25; 12, Cristallo ALM (Julien Epaillard) FRA 0/4 40.31; 13, Cash (Marco Kutscher) GER 0/8 38.62.