The magnificent setting of City Hall in Paris played host to the draws for both the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping and FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2018 Finals. Guests were greeted by the arresting music of the world-famous band from La Guarde Republicaine (The Republican Guard) and the atmosphere was electric as defending champion, Isabell Werth from Germany, and French rider Ludovic Henry matched the starting numbers and names for Friday’s first leg of the Dressage finale. Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann was joined by Rio Olympic team gold medallist Roger Yves Bost from France to select the order-of-go for tomorrow night’s opening Jumping competition in which America’s McLain Ward will also begin the defence of his title with the brilliant mare HH Azur.
A total of 37 riders from 17 countries will battle it out over three days of Jumping, while 18 riders from 13 nations will contest the Dressage title. It’s going to be a battle of the giants in both disciplines and no quarter will be given, but Frenchman Henry, didn’t do his chances any harm when pulling out his own name as last to go in his opening event.
“It’s been our dream for many years to bring these Finals back to Paris”, said show organiser Sylvie Robert, “and now at last our dream has come true!”. Both the Jumping and Dressage Finals have taken place at the Parisian venue before, but never together, and only once. America’s Katharine Burdsall, riding The Natural, claimed the ninth Jumping title in the City of Lights all the way back in 1986, and Finland’s Kyra Kyrklund and Matador won the sixth FEI World Cup™ Dressage title in 1991. It is another American partnership, McLain Ward with his brilliant mare HH Azur, who will be defending the Jumping title.
With the riders and their horses ready to go, and fans pouring into the city with great anticipation the stage is set for a fantastic weekend of top sport.
FEI President, Ingmar de Vos, said “it’s an honour to be here in Paris, home of the Olympic Games in 1900 and 1924, and of course 2024, but also the home of so many other great sporting moments. The world’s best partnerships have fought hard to be here and they are ready to claim their piece of history!”
Starting order for Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2018 Final, competition 1 here
Starting order for FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2018 Final Grand Prix here