Harrie Smolders remains #1, but that might not last long

Harrie Smolders with the World No.1 armband, riding Don VHP Z in September, 2018
Credit : Scoopdyga

Tuesday 04 December - 16h09 | Sébastien Roullier and Lucas Tracol

Harrie Smolders remains #1, but that might not last long

With the latest edition the Longines world rankings for show jumping riders published by the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) out now, GRANDPRIX-Replay.com has gotten its calculator out. In December, Harrie Smolders remains number one and has even strengthened his lead over his closest rival, Steve Guerdat. However, the Dutchman will have to have some success in coming weeks to prevent his Swiss rival from overtaking him at the end of the year. The United States' McLain Ward is not far behind either. 

 - Harrie Smolders remains #1, but that might not last long

As a reminder, this world ranking, whose rules will evolve somewhat next year, takes into account the 30 best results of each rider over the past 12 months. In November, Steve Guerdat came close to Harrie Smolders' number one spot. Will Guerdat regain the World No.1 armband again soon, an armband he had already worn in November 2012, a few months after his gold medal at the London Olympics with Nino des Buissonnets? Below, GRANDPRIX-Replay.com looks ahead.

Steve Guerdat shone in Stuttgart and Madrid, however…

Steve Guerdat shone in Stuttgart and Madrid, however… - Harrie Smolders remains #1, but that might not last long

Steve Guerdat and Bianca in Lyon, France in November, 2018
Credit : Scoopdyga

Last month, Steve Guerdat was only 25 points behind Harrie Smolders. However, his total, like that of other riders, was somewhat ‘artificially’ inflated. Indeed, it still took into account points won at the 2017 edition of Equita Longines competition in Lyon, France, whose show jumping events had started on November 1, but also those picked up during the 2018 edition of the same Horse Show, whose first classes – those of the CSI 2* and not those of the CSI5*-W (but the FEI considers the event as a whole) – took place on October 31, 2018. As the Swiss shone in Lyon in both 2017 and in 2018, his total points increased by 120 between October and November, exceeding the symbolic mark of 3,000 to reach 3,040.

In the December ranking, Steve Guerdat has 2990 points, after losing 195 (115 and 80) won in 2017 in Lyon with Albführen's Bianca, but also 100 others from his victory in the Longines World Cup Grand Prix in Stuttgart with Hannah. On the other side of the scale, in November 2018, he picked up 100 points thanks to his second place in the Grand Prix CSI5*-W of Madrid with Ulysses des Forêts and 80 from a 1.55m class in Stuttgart with Vénard de Cerisy. To those two results have been added 55 points from an older reserve performance that will this time be taken into account since the ranking still retains the best thirty of the past 12 months. In short, as GRANDPRIX expected, the Swiss rider has 2990 points in December – a slight dip.

Harrie Smolders on the rise again, but...

Harrie Smolders on the rise again, but... - Harrie Smolders remains #1, but that might not last long

Credit : Scoopdyga

For his part, Harrie Smolders only had 160 points to replace from November, 2017, namely his second place from that time in the Šamorín CSI4* Grand Prix and in a class at the CSI5* of Doha. Given the weight related to this quota of the 30 best performances and his reserve of results not yet taken into account, he would not have lost more than 30 points even if he had stayed at home on recent weekends. But the Dutchman has not been idle. He even picked up 215 points for his third place in Doha in the final stage of the Longines Global Champions Tour on Don VHP Z, and second place with Emerald in a 1.55m class at the same competition. In December, the Dutchman thus has 3130 points, allowing him to hold onto his World No.1 position.
However, the next few weeks will not be easy for the current leader of the circuit. And for good reason: in December, Steve Guerdat can not lose more than fifteen points – namely, seventy points that would be automatically offset by an unaccounted result of fifty-five (one of his reserve results counting toward the 30). The Swiss rider thus has everything to gain in the near term, which will give him additional motivation to excel this coming weekend on home soil in Geneva. For his part, Harrie Smolders will have no less than 500 points to defend/replace linked to his victory last year in the World Cup in Mechelen with Zinius, a second in the Olympia Grand Prix at the CSI5*-W London, and a fourth place with Don VHP Z in the Grand Prix of Geneva, where Zinius won again and finished third in two other major events. If he does not end up scoring anything in December, which seems unlikely, the rider from the EuroHorse stables would lose 193.5 points, even taking into account reserve points.
In any case, while the trend now seems more in favor of the current challenger, the question of who will be World No.1 beyond December remains very much up in the air. 

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