20 April 2014 - America’s Kent Farrington and Voyeur galloped to victory in the thrilling second leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2013/2014 at Lyon, France on Saturday evening.  From a starting field of 38 there were 21 into the jump-off and the US rider produced a devastating turn of speed against the clock that rocketed him up from overnight 18th place to lie equal-10th going into Monday’s third and deciding competition following tonight’s success.

The top of the ranking is held by two French-speaking riders: Steve Guerdat and Patrice Delaveau.

The Swiss rider (with Nino des Buissonnets) and the Frenchman (with Lacrimoso) will go into the last class on Monday with no penalty points, ahead of the German rider Deusser (Cornet d’Amour) who is right behind them with just two points.

The competition will be fierce for Patrice Delaveau, who rode two clear rounds with Lacrimoso ("The horse was really at ease this evening"), but the Olympic Champion does not hide the fact he is particularly motivated: "Who wouldn't be. I have my heart set on this final and it has been one of my objectives for a long time. I have been so close on several occasions in the past. There was a a fair amount of pressure in the jump-off because there were a lot of clear rounds. Now, I have to make sure I don’t make a silly mistake that would ruin everything. It has worked so far and I hope it will continue like that till Monday evening." It is true that this jump-off with twenty-one riders forced everyone to think: "You had to decide on your strategy," explained Daniel Deusser, whose fourth place in the class lifted him to third in the overall rankings: "I decided to take measured risks so as not to lose too many places. Hitting a bar today could have pushed me down the ranking, so I had to be careful about taking too many risks this evening. Simon Delestre (4 points with Valentino Velvet in the first round - 21st) and Kevin Staut (Silvana*HDC, 12 points in the jump-off -17th) are qualified for the last round which will involve only the best thirty riders. However, their chances of finishing in the Top Ten are slim, so the French supporters’ dreams are now essentially focused on Patrice and Lacrimoso, and the two of them seem ready to fulfil them.

Other riders' reactions coming off the arena

Edwina Tops-Alexander (Australia):"Ego is not a fast horse. There were a lot of clear rounds and the obstacles were very high. I didn't have any other choice but to take it carefully. Even if I had tried to go faster, I would still have been slower than the others. It would not have made sense to push him. We still need to do some work on his speed. In any case, he is a championship horse and that is why he is here. I haven't ridden him much over the last two months. He was not very well and I was a little worried he might not be ready for this event, but I'm very satisfied."

Marcus Ehning (Germany): "Up to now, I've had an incredible season with Cornado. He has improved week after week, and we are starting to get to know each other really well. In the jump-off, I tried to attack while remaining careful, because when there are twenty riders in the jump-off, you want to avoid making a fault. You don't want to go all out as you would on the last day. My result was not enough to be among the leaders, but there is still Monday and whatever happens, it has been a great experience for us."

Scott Brash (Great Britain): "I'm happy. Ursula jumped really well. I'm still disappointed about the fault yesterday, but I think these two clear rounds put us back in contention, in the leading group, so anything could still happen. Today was very important, because if you had a fault in the first round of the class, you were out of the running. My horse rose to the challenge. She couldn't have done better. I didn't go at her full speed, because I wanted to keep her fresh for the last day."

Beezie Madden (United States): "Apart from the option I wanted to take on the right, but which I took on the left, the jump-off went as I had planned. Simon is a fast horse. When you let him go, he is really fast.”

Kent Farrington USA, talking about his winning ride Voyeur: “producing horses and bringing them along, you have to go at the steps that they're ready for, so I'm excited to have him at that level and I think with more experience he could be a superstar!”

Frank Rothenberger, course designer : “I was expecting between 10 and 12 clears but we got a few too many.  Unfortunately the time wasn’t a factor, a few seconds less and we would have had 10 to 12 clears.  The course was big enough, the oxers were at 1.90m and the verticals were 1.60m - to me it was big enough.  We have another two rounds on Monday and I didn’t want to take too much from the horses tonight, but 21 (into the jump-off) was definitely too many”.

Vicky Roycroft, former champion rider from Australia, talking about the big number of competitors in the jump-off - “the footing makes a big difference, horses make up a lot of ground on this surface and the ring is big, so taking out strides is easy which makes the time easier to get”.

Patrice Delaveau FRA talking about his jump-off ride - “I didn’t take a risk from the start.  You can go really fast and have a rail down or go slower and end up finishing halfway between the two - I took an extra stride to the last and was slightly slower as a result, but so far so good!”

Daniel Deusser GER - “It is difficult in a jump-off with 21 riders but in the end I was always coming here to win so I had to try to be clear.  I’ve had two good results, yesterday I was sixth and today fourth but there were three ahead of me today and if you have one down you drop a lot so I decided to take the medium risk in the jump-off and have a good result and it worked out well for me”.

Facts and Figures:

America’s Kent Farrington flew to victory in the second leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final at Lyon, France tonight riding the 12-year-old Voyeur.

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat finished second with his Olympic gold medal winning ride Nino des Buissonnets and shares the top of the leaderboard going into Monday’s third and deciding competition with Patrice Delaveau from France who, tonight, slotted in fifth place.

38 horse-and-rider combinations lined out in tonight’s second Final competition and 21 went into the second round against the clock.

11 double-clear rounds were recorded.

Germany’s Daniel Deusser finished fourth and lies third on the leaderboard after the first two legs of the Final.

Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum, defending champion Beezie Madden from the USA and first-day winner Pius Schwizer from Switzerland share fourth place, and only a single fence separates the top six riders going into Monday’s last test.

Result - Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2: 1, Voyeur (Kent Farrington) USA 0/0 39.69; 2, Nino des Buissonnets (Steve Guerdat) SUI 0/0 40.29; 3, Simon (Beezie Madden) USA 0/0 40.35; 4, Cornet d'Amour (Daniel Deusser) GER 0/0 40.61; 5, Lacrimoso (Patrice Delaveau) FRA 0/0 41.66; 6, Ursula Xll (Scott Brash) GBR 0/0 42.16; 7, Chilli RZ (Charlie Jayne) USA 0/0 42.52; 8, Aragon Z (Christian Ahlmann) GER 0/0 42.93; 9, Cornado NRW (Marcus Ehning) GER 0/0 43.66; 10, VDL Groep Verdi (Maikel van der Vleuten) NED 0/0 43.74; 11, Ego van Orti (Edwina Tops-Alexander) AUS 0/0 50.51; 12, Chiara (Ludger Beerbaum) GER 0/4 42.09; 13, Tic Tac (Leslie Burr-Howard) USA 0/4 42.40; 14, First Devision (Yuri Mansur Guerios) BRA 0/4 45.66; 15, Toulago (Pius Schwizer) SUI 0/4 47.31; 16, Leonie W (Lars Nieberg) GER 0/4 47.7; 17, Nougat du Vallet (Katie Dinan) USA 0/8 42.95; 18, Rothchild (McLain Ward) USA 0/8 44.77; 19, Conte Bellini (Kristaps Neretnieks) LAT 0/8 45.43; 20, Viking (Michael Whitaker) GBR 0/8 47.00; 21, Silvana HDC (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/12 56.01.
Source: fei.org/ www.feiworldcupfinals-lyon.com          

Image: Steve Guerdat