Nicola Philippaerts and Donatella-N win the Longines FEI World Cup in Gothenburg

Nicola Phillippaerts won the World Cup in Gothenburg on Sunday afternoon, riding Donatella-N (Vigo d'Arsouilles x Burggraaf). “I’ve almost no words for this, it’s unbelievable!” said the 20-year-old rider who was filled with excitement after an extraordinary performance that saw him pip three-time FEI World Cup™ Jumping champion Marcus Ehning from Germany by two-hundredths of a second while The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten slotted into third.  Son of Belgian jumping star Ludo Philippaerts, and twin-brother of Olivier Philippaerts who also competes successfully at international level, Nicola was one of ten who made the cut into today’s jump-off against the clock.  And, with the 11-year-old mare Donatella-N, he scorched home with what proved to be an unbeatable round when third-last to go.

Ludo Phillippaerts  could be seen jumping up and down with excitement and pride at his son’s victory in such prestigious company.  “Yes my father was pretty pleased alright, he was jumping nearly higher than me!” said Nicola Philippaerts afterwards. “I took her (Donatella-N) from my brother (Olivier), she was quite hot and quite hard to ride at the beginning but we have come together over the last few months.  Today was her first World Cup and I can hardly believe she has won it!  But she has been feeling so good for the last while, she was fifth in the Grand Prix at Bordeaux a few weeks ago and she has really been on form” Philippaerts explained.  Asked if he thought he had a chance of winning the jump-off he replied “my father said we can do it and he was right!  She is really fast and and keen, but I was lucky Marcus was two-hundredths of a second slow than me!” He was grateful for the fact that the jump-off track came up right for him. “My strides were good, my distances were good and that makes all the difference!” he said.

Reflecting on his second-place performance, Marcus Ehning said, “actually I am quite happy with my horse.  He is 17 now but he is in great shape. Last year he won the Grand Prix and I think he likes Sweden as well! I am very, very happy!”  He added that he plans to take his Bordeaux winner, the fabulous grey stallion Cornado, to the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final.

Third-placed Maikel van der Vleuten said he was very happy with the way VDL Groep Sapphire jumped today, but added “I am not so happy with myself to be honest. I didn’t start quick enough and was just two tenths of a second too slow – today was a bit my fault to be honest”.

Gothenburg’s Event Director, Tomas Torgensen, described today’s competition as “great sport”, and said “and I want to thank the riders for giving their best today. I want to thank Longines in what is their first appearance in Gothenburg and look forward to a very nice partnership for the future - I am so pleased to have them here”.

Result:  1. Donatella-N (Nicola Philippaerts) BEL 0/0 39.30; 2, Plot Blue (Marcus Ehning) GER 0/0 39.32; 3, VDL Groep Sapphire B (Maikel van der Vleuten) NED 0/0 39.52; 4, H&M Tornesch (Malin Baryard-Johnsson) SWE 0/0 40.30; 5, Casello (Douglas Lindelow) SWE 0/0 40.93; 6, Capetown (Wout-Jan van der Schans) NED 0/0 41.13; 7, Caral (Niklas Jonsson) SWE 0/0 43.30; 8, Quidam du Vivier (Pius Schwizer) SUI 0/4 41.32; 9, VDL Bubalu (J Vrieling) NED 0/4 41.61; 10, Edesa S Banjan (Geir Gulliksen) NOR 0/4 43.97.

Source:Louise Parkes

Photo: Peter Zachrisson