Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final – Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final, Lyon – 17 to 21 april 2014
A global sporting event
Forty five riders qualified for jumping, eighteen for dressage: the qualifying circuits of the Longines FEI Jumping and the Reem Acra FEI Dressage World Cups have rendered their verdict. Sixty five riders, representing all the world’s continents, the winter elite of these two Olympic disciplines, will come together in Lyon from 17th to 21st April to fight it out for the two world titles of the indoor season.
Show jumping: A Ryder Cup for «riders»
A World Cup Final is traditionally a sort of match between North America and Europe. After Hugo Simon’s initial victory in 1979, the United States and Canada dominated the finals until 1989 (Ian Millar and Big Ben, won a 2nd title in Tampa). Europe then regained control in1990 (John Whitaker and Milton) until 2011 (Christian Ahlmann and Taloubet Z), with a Brazilian interlude from 1998 to 2000 (Rodrigo Pessoa and Baloubet du Rouet). With Rich Fellers (2012 with Flexible) and Beezie Madden (2013 with Simon), the United States seem to have taken control of the situation again. Nevertheless, for the moment Europe is in a dominant position with 19 victories versus North America’s 13 or 16 if we count the wins of Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa! For the final in Lyon, there will be 11 North Americans and all are from the United States. So as usual the United States will be the most represented country ahead of the two other major nations, Germany and France, which each have four riders.
Germany has a serious advantage in the match between the two serious European rivals with nine victories versus the sole French title that Bruno Brouqsault won in Milan in 2004. A World Cup Final at home is an advantage and Lyon could narrow the gap between the French and German scores. And each of the four riders qualified, Patrice Delaveau, Roger-Yves-Bost, Kevin Staut and Simon Delestre is capable of offering the public of Lyon this pleasure.
The Germans, and in particular Marcus Ehning with Cornado (for a fourth title), but also Christian Ahlmann (a former winner as well) Daniel Deusser (2nd in Las Vegas in 2007) and Lars Nieberg (2nd in Helsinki en 1998), all have what it takes to draw level with the United States this year. Great Britain, which has won the title three times, including two in a row for John Whitaker with Milton (90/91) will only have two representatives this year: Michael, John’s brother and the World Number 1, Scott Brash.
This final will bring together the World Number and team Olympic Champion, (Scott Brash), the reigning champion (Beezie Madden), the current European Champion (Bosty) and the individual Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat. Twenty four nations and five continents will be represented.
A confrontation between the titleholder (Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg) and the double Olympic and European Champion Champion (Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin, the World Number 1) arbitrated by the current World Champion (the Netherlands’ Edward Gal) and a former Olympic champion and the most titled rider ever (Isabelle Werth) : who could have A French rider who is capable of having his say in the proceedings? He will be there in the person of Marc Boblet (FEI wild card), whose progress with Noble Dream was spectacular this winter. The bay brown mare’s performance, in particular of airs above the ground, is a real treat. The ultimate competition will naturally be that between the two wonders: Charlotte Dujardin’s horse Valegro (a 12-year-old Dutch gelding), unbeatable since the CDI (international dressage competition) in Kapellen in January 2012, and Damon Hill, Helen Langehanenberg’s partner, a 14-year-old Westphalian stallion, and the son of one of the disciplines greatest sires, Donnerhall.
Last December, during the World Cup stage in London, Charlotte and Valegro, were awarded a score of 93.975, breaking the World Freestyle dressage test record which was held by the World Champion combination Edward Gal and the legendary Totilas. In February, in Neumünster, Helen and Damon Hill retaliated in turn by passing the 90% mark: 90.375 to be exact. The elegant Westphalian is progressing very well and so will be able to seriously challenge the solid burnt chestnut gelding!
Eighteen competitors will be taking part in this 2014 final. They will essentially be Europeans. The North American league, which was won by Lars Petersen, who was qualified as an extra, was dominated by Danish riders, to the extent that Denmark will have as many representatives (three) as Germany and the Netherlands in Lyon. Two American riders (Tina Konyot and Cesar Parra), a Russian (Inessa Merkulova), an Australian (Mary Hannah) and a Korean (Dong Seon Kim) are also qualified for Lyon.
THE REIGNING CHAMPIONS: WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY
Beezie Madden (jumping): “I am expecting an amazing World Cup Final from the organisers of Lyon. I hope it will also be a very successful event for me, but the competition will be tough. I am counting on Simon and Cortes C to compete in the event. I am not sure which one I will ride yet, or if I will ride both of them. It will depend on which one I feel is the best when the time comes. To retain my title would be amazing, but it will be even harder than winning it the first time. Of course it is the only goal I have in mind coming to Lyon. It would have been difficult to be successful in my career if I wasn’t very ambitious to begin with.”
Helen Langehanenberg (dressage): “I never talk about my expectations before a major event. What I can say is I have something in mind and we will give it our best shot. But I cannot force things and we can only be as good as we are! I am really looking forward to the final. Charlotte Dujardin? I have faith in Dami (Damon Hill)! We do not give up.”
(Copyright RB Presse for dressage and Beezie Madden) Copyright PSV for Roger-Yves Bost/Myrtille pictures)
And you can find the list of the riders online: http://www.hippobase.com/EventInfo/Entries/CompetitorHorse.aspx