Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs brought his storming year to a close with a superbly-ridden win in the eighth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™.
The reigning European Champion, fresh from a big win in Geneva last weekend, was second to go in a six-horse jump-off and pulled off a brilliantly accurate turn to the wall on The Sinner to achieve a time of 31.99 seconds that no one could match.
Austria’s Max Kühner (Elektric Blue P) and Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels (Delux van T & L) were also immaculate over the fences, but had to surrender to Fuchs’s speed, taking second and third places respectively.
Marcus Ehning from Germany, a three-time winner of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, was fourth with a fence down on the grey Cornado NRW.
Scott Brash, who won this class in 2016 on Hello M’Lady, was the best Briton in fifth on the promising 10-year-old Hello Jefferson, his mount in the winning FEI Nations Cup™ team in Dublin in August, and looks to have sealed his place at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas in April as well as having a potential horse for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
His Team GB teammate Holly Smith, who produced the only clear of the first 20 horses, enjoyed her best Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ result so far, sixth on her Nations Cup horse Hearts Destiny.
Irish course-designer Alan Wade set a fair but deceptively testing track, as befits a competition of this stature, and many of the distinguished names faulted unexpectedly.
“It was a great course. I wasn’t sure it would be stiff enough, but it had some light questions – and it got the right result!” said Fuchs. “I had a great round in the jump-off. I knew I would have to take all the risks to put the pressure on the others and it came off exactly as I wanted. I probably couldn’t repeat it if I tried.”
The FEI’s Director of Jumping for three decades, John Roche, described Olympia as “a shining example to other organisers”, and was echoed by second-time visitor Fuchs, who said: “It’s an amazing Show with a beautiful atmosphere and you really feel when you’re in the ring that you’re in a unique place.”