Eduardo Alvarez Aznar won in Zurich

A daring ride gave Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar victory in yesterday’s 11th leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016/2017 Western European League in Zurich, Switzerland. In a nine-horse jump-off against the clock the 33-year-old rider threw caution to the wind with a thrilling run with Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot that stopped the clock in the winning time of 36.20 seconds.

“He’s not a horse I normally ride so quickly, so I took a chance today and I’m so happy because it paid off!” Aznar said after posting his first points on the series table. Runner-up was last man into the ring, Austria’s Max Kuhner with Cornet Kalua, while Colombia’s Carlos Enrique Lopez Lizarazo claimed third spot with the ever-brave Admara.

Swiss course designer, Guido Balsiger, gave the 38 starters plenty to think about in the first round and many struggled to negotiate the left-hand turn to the triple combination at fence 10, often meeting the opening triple bar on a very deep distance, while the penultimate one-strided double also proved influential. Rio Olympic team gold medallist Roger Yves Bost from France took a spectacular fall with Sangria du Coty when the mare attempted to tackle the middle element of the triple combination on a single stride instead of two, but they left the arena unscathed.

Lizarazo set the target at 38.43 seconds when second to go against the clock, and when Germany’s Marco Kutscher played safe with his new ride, Clenur, he didn’t threaten the lead. Fourth to go however Alvarez Aznar was on fire, taking every risk to race through the finish and when Britain’s William Whitaker was a little cautious with Utamaro D’Ecaussines, and Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts lost his chance when H&M Harley vd Bisschop tripped up after the second fence, there were only two left to deny him the win. Last to go Kuhner came closest to the Spanish rider’s time thanks to a courageous gallop to the last, but was almost two seconds adrift when breaking the beam in 38.03.

Alvarez Aznar, son of legendary six-time Olympian Luis Alvarez Cervera, now heads to the second-last leg of the qualifying series in Bordeaux (FRA) next weekend and, when asked tonight if he thinks he can take maximum points again in order to qualify for the Longines Final at the end of March, he replied, “it’s difficult enough to win one without winning two-in-a-row - but we can always try!”

Result: 1, Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot (Eduardo Alvarez Aznar) ESP 0/0 36.20; 2, Cornet Kalua (Max Kuhner) AUT 0/0 38.03; 3, Admara (Carlos Enrique Lopez Lizarazo) COL 0/0 38.43; 4, Utamaro D’Ecaussines (William Whitaker) GBR 0/0 38.82; 5, Clenur (Marco Kutscher) GER 0/0 43.44; 6, Lord Pepsi (Paul Estermann) SUI 0/4 37.95; 7, Vagabond de la Pomme (Penelope Leprevost) FRA 0/4 38.20; 8, Pollendr (Werner Muff) SUI 0/4 38.84; 9, H&M Harley vd Bisschop (Nicola Philippaerts) BEL 0/13 52.7

Facts and Figures:

Zurich in Switzerland played host to round 11 of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016/2017 Western European League series today.

38 horse-and-rider combinations from 17 countries lined out.

9 qualified for the second-round jump-off against the clock.

5 completed double-clear rounds.

Winner was 33-year-old Eduardo Alvarez Aznar with the 12-year-old gelding Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margo.

Their jump-off time of 36.20 seconds left them just under two seconds faster than runners-up Max Kuhner and Cornet Kalua from Austria.

Course designer was Switzerland’s Guido Balsiger.

Just two legs of the Western European League are left to run - at Bordeaux (FRA) on Saturday 4 February and in Gothenburg (SWE) on Sunday 26 February.


Eduardo Alvarez Aznar ESP (1st): “Winning is always the goal when you go to a show but the first day here we didn’t start so good so I thought today I would just try to be clear and then we win it!”

John Roche, FEI Jumping Director: “I’d like to congratulate the owner of the winning horse, Eduardo’s mother Sylvia Aznar.”

Standings: Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016/2017 Western European League

After Round 11 in Zurich (SUI):

1.    Kevin Staut FRA                - 78

2.    Lorenzo de Luca ITA            - 67

3.    Ludger Beerbaum GER             - 46

4.    Denis Lynch IRL                 - 45

5.    Steve Guerdat SUI             - 44

6.    Romain Duguet SUI             - 43

7.    Carlos Enrique Lopez Lizarazo COL     - 43

8.    Marcus Ehning GER             - 41

9.    Nicola Philippaerts BEL             - 39

10.  Henrik von Eckermann SWE         - 39

11.  Martin Fuchs SUI                 - 38

12.  Gregory Wathelet BEL              - 37

13.  Scott Brash GBR                 - 35

14.  Max Kuhner AUT                 - 35

15.  Pieter Devos BEL             - 35

16.  Roger Yves Bost FRA             - 34

17.   Simon Delestre FRA             - 34

18.   Lauren Hough USA             - 33

19.   Guido Klatte Jr GER             - 32

20.   Holger Wulschner GER             - 31

21.   Daniel Deusser GER             - 29

FEI press release by Louise Parkes