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Daniel Deusser ahead of Grégory Wathelet in Bordeaux

11 February 2019

A tough battle for the last tickets to Gothenburg was fought by the 15 riders in the middle of the Western European World Cup League ranking on Saturday evening at Jumping International in Bordeaux. In the end, however, not much has changed: the "already qualified" have mainly consolidated their positions. We will above all remember a new German victory in Bordeaux: this year, it was Daniel Deusser, winner of the 2014 final, who won this stage for the first time in his career.

For a Grand Prix of this type with such high stakes, to deliver both a fair verdict for the riders and an unforgettable show for the public, a perfect setting is required. And the one designed by French course designer Jean-François Morand, a native of Bordeaux, was a model of its kind. And yetMorand, for whom it was the first World Cup course, was in a cold sweat because clear passages were hard to achieve.  There were finally six, including three Belgians, one German, one Spanish and one Finnish. No French at all: only Emeric George (Chopin des Hayettes) and Simon Delestre (Hermès Ryan) saved the day by appearing in the rankings (twelfth and ninth) with one mistake each: "It's a real shame, because Ryan was at 100% of his abilities and this course would have satisfied me completely if this mistake hadn't ruined everything," regretted the latter.

This jump-off, which the French were deprived of, was to consecrate the only one of the four qualified German riders, Daniel Deusser, already leader of the overall ranking: "It's always good to win, and here in Bordeaux, in this atmosphere, it's even better. I have previously won the Sunday Grand Prix here, but this is the first time in the World Cup. If my position as leader is strengthened, it's not very important from a sporting point of view because in the final, we all start from scratch. On the other hand, it shows how good this season was and gives me great confidence for the upcoming final, in which I intend to ride the same Tobago Z".

Second in this jump-off with his huge Iron Man van de Padenbore, the Belgian Gregory Whatelet won’t go to Gothenburg because he scored his first and only points in Bordeaux: "It was a deliberate choice because it was a question of managing my horses. I put Nevados to rest, he gave a lot this season, while Iron Man van de Padenbore is back from injury. He broke a bone in his stall a year ago in Mexico City, we were able to treat him, and he only had his first competition last December in Paris. He is a horse that may seem a little heavy, but he’s more sensitive and faster than you might think".

Thanks to his third place with the French horse Rokfeller from Pleville Bois Margot, Eduardo Alvarez Aznar of Spain is the only rider of the evening to have actually qualified for the final here by moving up from twenty-first to fifteenth place in the overall ranking: "It's a good day for me on this particularly difficult course where only six clear passages were achieved". The Spaniard placed sixth in the last final in Paris last April, and his aim is now obviously to improve on this excellent result.

Another Belgian from Liège stood out as François Mathy Jr. took 4th place with a nice double clear passage on Uno de la Roque (Numero Uno) that allowed them to qualify for the final in Gothenburg. The final double clear passage was achieved by Si la Sol de Greenbay Z (Schilling), trained by Dominique Joassin from Huy, who led her to the Grand Prix level before handing her over in the middle of last year to the Norwegian Marie Longem., Longem took fifth place here with the last double clear pasage, ahead of Céline Schooonbroodt, also from Liège, who was the first to start in the jump-off but who made a mistake when trying to put pressure on her opponents with Chepetta (Chepetto).

Although empty-handed today, the French riders Olivier Robert (who gave us a fright over the double on Vangog du Mas Garnier) and Kevin Staut (picking up eight points with For Joy van't Zorgvliet*HDC) remain on the list of the eighteen European qualifiers.

There were no French riders at the party, but the famous Bordeaux audience was no less enthusiastic: "Seven thousand five hundred spectators who are to be congratulated so much for their sportsmanship and fair-play," said Eric Dulong, President of CEB. It was a crowd worthy of this magnificent European final.

R&B Press Release - Photo Christophe Bricot

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