Henrik von Eckermann and Mary Lou in GothenburgCredit : FEI Photos
Monday 26 February - 14h22 | Ian Clayton
Next stop, Paris.
After this weekend’s 13th and final qualifier in Gothenburg, Sweden, 18 riders from Western Europe plus two others competing in the region have stamped their tickets for the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final, scheduled for April 11-15 at Paris’ AccorHotels Arena.Following the opening leg in Oslo last October, the continental qualifying circuit has wound its way through Helsinki, Verona, Lyon, Stuttgart, Madrid, La Coruna, London-Olympia, Mechelen, Leipzig, Zurich, and Bordeaux before wrapping up in the southwestern Swedish city – a place which has its own long history with the equestrian World Cup, including hosting the inaugural Final in 1979.In Gothenburg this year, it was World No.6 Henrik von Eckermann and his mare Mary Lou 194 who won Sunday’s CSI5*-W qualifier (as they had done the year before), riding clear over the 1.60m obstacles in both the first round and tie-breaking jump-off, with a jump-off time of 36.89 seconds. Second place went to Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts on H&M Legend of Love, with Great Britain’s Michael Whitaker and JB’s Hot Stuff in third. “When I saw the jump-off course I knew it would suit Mary Lou,” said Von Eckermann. “You can totally trust her, you don’t need to take a pull anywhere, just let her run and use her pace and her long stride, and she was fantastic again today!” And for his win on home ground at the Scandinavium arena, Sweden's Von Eckermann – who finished third in the 2017 Omaha Cup Final – not only collected around €43,500, but also picked up 20 points, leaving him on top of the star-studded league standings. Video below.The full list of finalists having qualified out of Western Europe is now set:- Henrik von Eckermann- Kevin Staut- Marcus Ehning- Denis Lynch- Christian Ahlmann- Michael Whitaker- Roger-Yves Bost- Pieter Devos- Daniel Deusser- Harrie Smolders- Alberto Zorzi- Steve Guerdat- Eduardo Alvarez Aznar- Robert Whitaker- Douglas Lindelöw- Mark McAuley- Olivier Philippaerts- Simon DelestreWith 18 spots allocated to Western Europeans in the Final, the most in the world, Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts and France’s Simon Delestre slipped it into the top group as Australian Edwina Tops-Alexander and Colombian Carlos Enrique Lopez Lizarazo – who finished above them in the standings – are based in Europe and earned extra spots in Paris.For his part, Great Britain's Michael Whitaker competed in the French capital the last time the city hosted the World Cup Show Jumping Final, in 1987. “I think I’ve done about 25 Finals, so it’s about time I won it!”, the 57-year-old observed. In North America, where last year's Final winner McLain Ward qualified with HH Azur, there is one qualifier remaining in the Eastern sub-league, at the Live Oak Plantation in Ocala, Florida on Sunday, March 18. Tickets for the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final and FEI World Cup Dressage Final are available here. Video below by the FEI.
Saturday 24 February - 05h17
Thursday 01 March - 14h51
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CSI 5* Paris
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CSI 2* Barcelone
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