A decisive weekend: Live Oak International is last shot at 2019 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final

Georgina Bloomberg is currently well-placed to qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup Final
Credit : Scoopdyga

Friday 08 March - 15h13 | Ian Clayton

A decisive weekend: Live Oak International is last shot at 2019 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final

Who will go to Gothenburg? 

 - A decisive weekend: Live Oak International is last shot at 2019 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final

Credit : Live Oak International (Facebook)

The season-ending North American qualifier for the 2019 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final takes place this weekend at the CSI 3*-W Live Oak International in Ocala, Florida. And there could still be some changes to the group of show jumpers who will have the first choice to go to Gothenburg, Sweden in April to challenge defending champion Beezie Madden for the global title she won last year in Paris with Breitling LS.

Madden herself automatically qualified for the 2019 Final with her victory last year, but the veteran rider has nevertheless had a league-leading World Cup season this year, topping the East Coast sub-league with 
58 points after North Salem, New York, Johnstown/Columbus, Ohio, Washington, DC, Lexington, Kentucky, Toronto, Ontario and Wellington, Florida. 

Currently positioned behind Madden in the standings are Molly Ashe Cawley, Wilhelm Genn (of Germany), McLain Ward (winner of the 2017 Final in Omaha with HH Azur), Laura Kraut, Lucy Davis, Devin Ryan (second in Paris with Eddie Blue) and Georgina Bloomberg. In the North American Eastern Sub-League, there are seven spots allocated
to U.S. riders for the World Cup Final. Three Americans will also qualify in the West. In addition, two Canadian and two Mexican riders from the Eastern and Western sub-leagues are eligible for a ticket to Gothenburg. Extra athletes from outside these three countries (such as Genn) who compete on the continent can also qualify if they have equal points to the last qualified American rider. 

A victory in a World Cup qualifier brings 20 points, with the four best results counting for each rider's total. And a look at the
entries list for the first class at Live Oak this weekend – which also includes World No.4 Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands, who did not compete very often in Western Europe qualifying this season – shows that of the current leading group, Ryan, Bloomberg and Genn have chosen to chase after more points in Ocala, which could allow them to solidify their place in Sweden and move up further in the standings. 

But other competitors in Ocala, like Jennifer Gates for example, could shake up the current situation. Gates – who in fact has racked up all of her points to date in Western sub-league qualifiers – is currently in 13th place in the East with 25 points, and a podium finish could move her into the group of top-ranked riders with an option for Gothenburg, and potentially push others out if they do not achieve a similar result.

Nevertheless, there will be stiff competition from riders such as Smolders who are not targeting the Final, such as the U.S.'s Lauren Hough. The 
$100,000 1.60 m World Cup qualifier is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Florida time on Sunday. 


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