Countdown to Paris 2018: Hugo Simon, winner of first World Cup Jumping Final and three-time champion

In 1997 in Gothenburg, Hugo Simon became the first rider to win three World Cup Finals. Since he has been joined by Rodrigo Pessoa, Meredith-Michaels-Beerbaum and Marcus Ehning.
Credit : Jan Gyllensten

Friday 26 January - 15h17 | Lucas Tracol, translated by Ian Clayton

Countdown to Paris 2018: Hugo Simon, winner of first World Cup Jumping Final and three-time champion

In less than three months, the AccorHotels Arena in Paris will welcome five days of equestrian sport at the highest level. The world’s best riders will be in the French capital for the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final and FEI World Cup Dressage Final as they target the two coveted titles, won in 2017 in Omaha, Nebraska by McLain Ward and HH Azur and Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD. In the weeks leading up to the competition, GrandPrix-Replay is looking back at some of the big moments in the history of the event. Today, the champion at the first Final in 1979, Austria’s Hugo Simon, who edged out the United States’ Katie Monahan (Prudent) before coming back to win twice more in later years. 

 - Countdown to Paris 2018: Hugo Simon, winner of first World Cup Jumping Final and three-time champion

Hugo Simon and Gladstone during their victory in Gothenburg in 1979, the first World Cup Final.
Credit : Jan Gyllensten

In April, 1979, the first World Cup Jumping Final took place in Gothenburg, Sweden. Dreamt up by Swiss editor and journalist Max Amman, the event’s inaugural edition would end up going to Hugo Simon, the rider who had once competed for West Germany before pulling off his greatest successes in Austrian colours starting in 1972. And while he will always be known as the first winner of the Final, Simon is also in the history books as the first person to have won the event three times.

Hugo Simon first raised the trophy in Gothenburg thanks to Gladstone (Gotz x Weingau), overcoming American Katie Monahan (who later married Henri Prudent) on The Jones Boy. While the competition format would subsequently evolve, and Americans and Canadians were regularly on top in the decade following the debut, Simon nevertheless was able to get on the podium again with Gladstone in 1981 in Birmingram, in 1982 in Gothenburg, and in 1983 at home in Vienna — an exceptional consistency. 

E.T. FRH, straight from another planet

E.T. FRH, straight from another planet - Countdown to Paris 2018: Hugo Simon, winner of first World Cup Jumping Final and three-time champion

As in 1979, Hugo Simon, on the fantastic E.T. FRH, had to go through a jump-off before raising the trophy
Credit : Jan Gyllensten

In the end, Hugo Simon would wait 17 years to once again raise the World Cup trophy. In 1996 in Geneva, the Austrian triumphed with the phenomenal E.T. FRH at the outcome of a jump-off — the second in the history of the Final — against local Willi Melliger, (who passed away a few days ago), on his loyal Calvaro V. The Swiss rider rode clear, but the risk-taking approach of Simon made the difference, taking tight turns and finishing two seconds ahead of his rival.

Designated favourites by the experts for the following year's Final, Hugo Simon and his out-of-this-world E.T. FRH did not bend under the pressure. At the Scandinavium arena in Gothenburg, the city where Simon had won the first Final, the pair led the pack from beginning to end, leaving only the crumbs for John Whitaker, on Grannusch and Welham. Franke Sloothaak rounded out the podium thanks to his BWP Joli Cœur.

Hugo Simon continued competing until the CSI 2* of Vienna in October, 2016, where he finished second in the Grand Prix on C T. He officially retired last year after an amazing career. On January 4, 2014, E.T. FRH had to be put down, the same day as Apricot D, another great champion who notably permitted the Austrian to win the Team silver medal at the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992. 

Reserve your tickets for the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final and FEI Dressage Final here. 

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