A brilliant bit of last-minute decision-making helped Germany’s Daniel Deusser clinch victory in the third leg of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Western European League at Lyon in France today. The 35-year-old rider who won the World Cup title at this venue two years ago found the fastest route home in a dramatic eight-horse jump-off, riding the mare Equita van T Zorgvliet to pin last weekend’s winners, Romain Duguet and Quorida de Treho from Switzerland, into runner-up spot.
Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca finished third with Ensor de Litrange ahead of Irishman Denis Lynch and All Star, while Frenchman Olivier Robert slotted into fifth with Quenelle du Py.
Course designer Frank Rothenberger tested the 40 starters with a massive first-round track that began with a maximum-height vertical; this claimed a large number of victims, including three-time World Cup champion Marcus Ehning, who was riding Pret a Tout.
Olivier Robert set the initial jump-off target, home clear in 44.96 seconds, only to be overtaken by Lynch in 44.57 and then Romain Duguet in 43.68 as the gallop down to the final oxer got faster and faster. With three French into the closing stages a home seemed on the cards, but it all went wrong for Simon Delestre on the rollback to the double at the halfway point, his stallion Chesall slamming on the brakes and decanting the world no. 2 after a mistake at the first element.
Third-last to go, Daniel Deusser spotted a short-cut as he entered the arena. “I decided that if I had a good jump at the vertical (second fence) then I’d cut inside (the double), and that would give me time to get control going down to the last,” he explained after thrilling the crowd as he snatched the lead in 42.93. Final French contender, Kevin Staut, was 0.28 seconds quicker but left a pole on the floor, while last man, Lorenzo de Luca, went clear in 43.80.
“I didn’t feel I was the man to win today because, to be honest, this whole weekend didn’t go according to plan!” said Daniel afterwards. “I had two down in the qualifier and I was lucky in the first round, but my mare likes to go fast and today she just wanted to win!”
Romain Duguet now tops the Western European League leaderboard ahead of the fourth leg at Verona in Italy in two weeks’ time.
Result: 1, Equita van T Zorgvliet (Daniel Deusser) GER 0/0 42.93; 2, Quorida de Treho (Romain Duguet) SUI 0/0 43.68; 3, Ensor de Litrange (Lorenzo de Luca) ITA 0/0 43.80; 4, All Star (D Lynch) IRL 0/0 44.57; 5, Quenelle du Py (Olivier Robert) FRA 0/0 44.96; 6, Reveur de Hurtebise (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/4 42.65; 7, Golden Hawk (Shane Breen) IRL 0/8 48.51; 8, Chesall (Simon Delestre) FRA 0/Elim.
Standings: Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016/2017 Western European League
After Round 3 in Lyon (FRA):
1. Romain Duguet SUI – 37
2. Pieter Devos BEL – 28
3. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum GER – 25
4. Steve Guerdat SUI – 25
5. Lorenzo de Luca ITA – 21
6. Alberto Zorzi ITA – 20
6. Daniel Deusser GER – 20
6. Lauren Hough USA – 20
9. Shane Breen IRL – 19
10. Mathieu Billot FRA – 18
11. Kevin Staut FRA – 18
12. Niels Bruynseels BEL – 18