Edwina Tops-AlexanderCredit : FEI Photos
Thursday 21 December - 16h27 | Lucas Tracol
The 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final begins in 111 days!
Qualified for Paris as Defending Champion, can McLain Ward repeat his Omaha triumph with HH Azur?Credit : Scoopdyga
Over three action-packed days next April, many of the world’s top horses and riders will do battle within the confines of the AccorHotels Arena in the heart of Paris, all vying to succeed McLain Ward and HH Azur, winners of this past spring’s title in Omaha, Nebraska. With just five stages to go in Western Europe for riders to book a ticket to the French capital next year, Grand Prix takes a glance at the current standings.And if there is one person who not worried about the hunt for points to get to Paris, it’s McLain Ward. The clear-cut winner in Omaha on the sensational HH Azur, the American and World No.2 Show Jumper is automatically qualified as Defending Champion, guaranteed a place at next year’s event in the City of Light. But things aren’t so simple for the other riders on the circuit.In the powerful Western European League, Edwina Tops-Alexander is currently tied for the lead with France’s Kevin Staut, but the Europe-based Australian will not take a spot from one of the continent’s riders, with 18 spots allocated to the league. As a non-European, Tops-Alexander will make it in as an extra. Alongside the rider from Oceania, Staut has picked up 50 points on the circuit after eight legs on the circuit. With 40 points being the typical threshold to qualify, the World No.3 Staut is all but guaranteed a spot in the Final.Similarly, and barring any unforeseen events, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann should also be in Paris. Thanks to his victory across the Atlantic (in the North American East Coast sub-league) in Washington, D.C., Ireland’s Denis Lynch is fifth at the moment, and well-positioned for the Final. Indeed, the rules allow riders to compete in a foreign league as long as they earn at least a point in the league in which they’re registered. Having placed in Madrid and La Coruna, Spain, the Irish rider has fulfilled the requirements. Things are also looking good for Italy’s Alberto Zorzi, Ireland’s Mark McAuley and Germany’s Daniel Deusser.In North America, the places are distributed through the two sub-leagues, the East Coast and West Coast. In the East, seven places will go to the top riders, with the U.S.’s Alison Robitaille on top with a big lead over her compatriot Andrew Kocher (with McLain Ward between them in second already having secured his ticket). Third-place Isabelle Lapierre will almost certainly take one of the two spots for Canadians and Ireland’s Conor Swail should qualify as an extra if he has the same amount of points as the seventh-best American. Like Swail, Switzerland’s Beat Mändli could also get his ticket in the same way.Over toward the Pacific, three places for the World Final will be allocated to American riders in the western sub-league, with Richard Spooner comfortably in first with 58 points, followed by compatriots Mandy Porter and Jenny McAllister. The top Mexican in the West currently is Eugenio Garza Perez, in 17th. As with Canada, Mexico has two places in the Final. If nothing changes in the Middle East league, the three places reserved for the region will go to Sheikh Ali Al Thani, Bassem Mohammed and the Jordanian Ibrahim Hani Bisharat, winner of the CSI 3*-W Grand Prix of Rabat. In Central Europe, the rankings are dominated by Estonia’s Urmas Raag, ahead of compatriot Rein Pill and Russia’s Alexander Belekhov. And in South America, it’s Felipe Amaral and Artemus de Almeida who are on top of the standings while the Australian league lead is currently in the hands of Billy Raymont and Jamie Kermond. The best rider of the season in Central America and the Caribbean, Manuel Espinosa Pla is well-placed to go to Paris as well.
Thursday 21 December - 09h59
Friday 22 December - 13h26
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