The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup at the London International Horse Show saw 38 starters from 14 different nations go head-to-head as they vied for FEI World Cup points to qualify for the Final in Omaha in April 2023.
Renowned Portuguese course designer Bernardo Costa Cabral described the highly challenging 13 fence track as the “perfect recipe”, complete with twists, tight turns, and a testing but achievable first round time allowed of 68 seconds. With faults accumulated throughout the course, just seven combinations made it through to the second round to be in with a chance of claiming the prestigious title.
First to go clear in the jump-off was Maikel van der Vleuten from The Netherlands. As the 2013 winner, he had the experience to keep his round tight, but sensible, producing a tactically flawless performance and the first double clear in a time of 41.21 seconds riding Elwikke. Great Britain’s Scott Brash – the 2016 winner – kept his cool, matching van der Vleuten’s accuracy, but taking out a stride to the final Longines oxer to take his place at the top of the leaderboard with Hello Jefferson. The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final winner from 2014, Daniel Deusser, put in a quicker first section with Killer Queen VDM, however the pair lost time down the final line to finish 0.05 seconds behind Brash.
World No.1 Henrik von Eckermann from Sweden looked extremely quick, exactly 1.19 seconds quicker at the half time split, but with four faults at the last he could only finish fifth. It was left to 22-year-old Jodie Hall-McAteer as last to go to make the final challenge on her British teammate. The former double Voltaire Design Under 25 British Champion put in a strong performance with the crowd behind her, including an incredibly tight turn to the wall at the midway point to take third – a career personal best.
Brash, who previously won this class in 2016, said, “Hello Jefferson is fantastic, I know how careful he is and I can trust him to ride him fast at the last fence, it actually makes him focus more. It meant I could take a chance to the last and make up a bit of time I lost between one to two. I was tight back to the second from last, he tends to fall in left a bit, but I managed to be tight and he jumped the vertical well, made me land a touch shorter so the eight strides to the last was a touch more forward that the others.”
The former World No. 1 continued, “I thought it was a tricky course, quite twisty to start with. There were some tall verticals there so it was delicate. I thought the course designer has done a fantastic job in there today, when fences fall all over the course and not just in one area that’s a sign of a very good course and seven clears is spot-on.”
Deusser said, “Of course I would have liked to win, but I’m not disappointed. My horse jumped fantastic with two nice clear rounds today. When I saw Scott, I knew his horse was naturally faster than mine, so I had to leave a few strides out here and there, which worked out very nicely. If you had see the times it was very close and if I’d have been a little more forward after the last I could have done it. In the end I would have loved to win but I’m really happy with my second place this afternoon.”
An emotional Hall-McAteer said, “It was absolutely unbelievable out there this afternoon. I’ve grown up coming to The London International Horse Show every year since I was 10 years old and to come back this year and come third, it’s a dream come true.”
The London International Horse Show ambassador went on to say, “The atmosphere was amazing, it was electric. I did not think that I was fast enough or that my time was as close to Scott’s. Obviously it is hard to tell whilst you are focusing on your performance and are in the zone. As I was coming down the last line, I did hear the crowd screaming which made me think that there was a possibility of me achieving it and I came close. My horse performed amazingly and I am very proud of him.”
Hall-McAteer continued, “I have been training with Ben Schröder for two years so far. He has been an amazing help to my development, I have really progressed thanks to him. I owe so much to everyone that has been supporting me so far including my family, grooms, the Schröders and Scott Brash too, who has helped me along the way. There is an amazing support team behind me. I am definitely planning on coming back to the London International Horse Show as I need to claim the win now!”
More information about the London International Horse Show here.