Who will get a ticket from North America to the Longines FEI World Cup Final in April?

Eve Jobs and Venue d'Fees des Hazalles in Belgium in 2018
Credit : Scoopdyga

Tuesday 05 February - 15h42 | Ian Clayton

Who will get a ticket from North America to the Longines FEI World Cup Final in April?

Who can go to Gothenburg?

 - Who will get a ticket from North America to the Longines FEI World Cup Final in April?

Beezie Madden with Simon in 2015 in Las Vegas
Credit : Scoopdyga

For several months now, elite-level show jumpers around the world have been competing for a spot in the 2019 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in the Swedish city, scheduled for April 3–7. 

Last year, around 40 riders got a ticket to the 2018 Final in Paris, France, where American champion Elizabeth 'Beezie' Madden triumphed on Breitling LS. And as is the case each year, horses and riders have been battling for points in various regional leagues across the planet this season – including in the largest league, Western Europe, which has 18 places allocated to riders from the continent (plus extras for others based there such as Australia's Edwina Tops-Alexander).

In North America, two separate qualifying leagues have hosted competitions since August (in the West) and September (in the East). In the eastern half of the continent, World Cup qualifiers have taken place in North Salem, New York, Columbus-Johnstown, Ohio, Washington, DC, Lexington, Kentucky, Toronto, Ontario and Wellington, Florida. And in the West, riders have been able to choose between Vancouver-Langley, British Columbia, Sacramento-Rancho Murieta, Del Mar Fairgrounds and Thermal, California, Las Vegas, Nevada and Guadalajara, Mexico.

There are two qualifying competitions left in North America now – in Ocala, Florida in the east and Leon, Mexico in the west – with a rider’s four best results counting for their final place in the standings. And given that a victory in a World Cup stage is worth 20 points, second place 17, third place 15 and so on, the standings could still be shaken up at the last stops, especially as riders can choose to compete in events in the two zones.

While less than the 18 places in Europe, the East in North America still has seven spots up for grabs for Americans in the Final, while the West has three. In addition, competitors who do not have the nationality but compete in the region can qualify as extras in both sub-leagues if they place high enough in the standings. Finally, Canada and Mexico are guaranteed two places each overall to ensure geographical representation in the Final. 

Currently, in the Eastern Sub-league, a familiar name is on top of the standings with six of the seven events completed: Elizabeth 'Beezie' Madden. With two victories (back-to-back in Washington and Lexington) and additional results in New York and this past weekend in Wellington, the 55-year-old World No.8 has racked up a total of 58 points and easily has a place in Sweden. But then again, she already had one automatically as defending champion from last year. 

Up in the air

Up in the air - Who will get a ticket from North America to the Longines FEI World Cup Final in April?

Molly Ashe Cawley and Balous Day Date at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival
Credit : Sportfot

Madden’s compatriot Molly Ashe Cawley, who started the season with a victory and finished second in Lexington, is right behind the leader with 55 points, and is in as well. In third place is Germany’s Wilhelm Genn, who competes in the region, with 47 points, good for qualification as an extra. Then comes McLain Ward, Laura Kraut, Lucy Davis, Devin Ryan and Georgina Bloomberg with 45, 42, 40, and 36 (tie) points respectively. They are followed by two Irishmen, Conor Swail and Shane Sweetnam, with 30 points each. 

With the aforementioned 20 points up for grabs for each victory and a couple opportunities left for riders to pick some up, it is not possible yet to provide the definitive list of World Cup competitors in eastern North America. For example, there are riders all the way down to 29th place who have at least 16 points, which in the case of a win would tie them with Ryan and his 36 (assuming Ryan, who finished second in Paris last year with Eddie Blue, picked up none himself). 

And that kind of scenario – with last-minute changes in the standings – is not far-fetched when one considers that in 2018 American Kristen Vanderveen clinched a down-to-the-wire qualification with her Grand Prix victory at the Live Oak in Ocala. ““This is a bit of a last minute decision for me to come here and see if we could do something special today and get it,” she said at the time. “I’m over the moon excited about it. Winning the Grand Prix alone is a big deal to me, but going to Paris makes me really excited.”

In the West, the top three spots (and likely qualifiers) are currently held by Richard Spooner (49 points), Eve Jobs (48) and Egypt’s Nayel Nassar (46), followed by American Kelli Cruciotti in fourth (34), with Zazou Hoffman, Uma O'Neill, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and Jamie Barge right behind. Barring some leap-frogging, Spooner and Jobs appear quite secure, while the third reserved American place is more open. Weekend winner Alex Granato is also within striking distance of that third-place spot, with 24 points. 

As for the Canadians, John Pearce, Ali Ramsay, Lisa Carlsen and Laura Jane Tidball have 16, 15, 15 and 10 points respectively, while for Mexico, the current top four are: Eugenio Garza Perez (20 points), Salvador Onate (20), Lorenza O'Farrill (19) and Carlos Hank Guerreiro (17). Those who choose to compete in one of the last events could thus cause some movement in the final make-up of the field. 

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