Longines FEI World Cup Jumping 2017/2018 – Western European League

Belgium’s Pieter Devos came to the second-last leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League in Bordeaux (FRA) tonight hoping to pick up enough points to qualify for the Longines 2018 Final in Paris (FRA) next April, and his 14-year-old gelding, Espoir, helped him do it in style with a superb victory. (FEI/Richard Juillart)
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Three-time champion Marcus Ehning from Germany finishes second ahead of Spain’s Manuel Fernandez Saro in third; Leaderboard taking shape ahead of last qualifier in Gothenburg

By Louise Parkes

A brilliant performance from his horse called Espoir secured a place at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2018 Final for Belgium’s Pieter Devos (31) at the second-last leg of the Western European League in Bordeaux (FRA) tonight. Setting a sizzling standard at the halfway-stage of the 10-horse jump-off against the clock, the pair couldn’t be caught despite the best efforts of three-time champion Marcus Ehning (43) from Germany who had to settle for runner-up spot and Spain’s Manuel Fernandez Saro (43) who lined up in third.

With 29 points already to his credit, Devos knew he had it all to do. Something in the region of 40 points is required to confirm that ticket to the finale in the French capital city next April and time is running out. But it wasn’t just the win and those 20 extra valuable points that pleased him most tonight, it was the two spectacular rounds produced by his 14-year-old gelding, whose name in English translates to “hope”, that really lifted his spirits.

““I came here in the hope of qualifying, this was one of the last chances and even though I had a good indoor season I needed those extra points. Of course the win is great and I’m excited to go to the Final, it will be my first and I’m really looking forward to the experience. But to be honest the very best thing is the feeling Espoir gave me today. He had a break and did his first World Cup in Leipzig when we had one down, and tonight he felt like he is right back in great shape and that makes me very, very happy!”

Pieter Devos BEL 

Switzerland’s Paul Estermann and Lord Pepsi were first to go clear over Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani’s jump-off track, but Saro and Cannavaro set a new target when clearing the line in 38.40 seconds. Sixth to go, Devos always looked like he meant business, galloping into the ring and setting off with fierce determination.

““Before I went in I thought I’d be happy to finish in the top five, but in the end I took a risk between the first two fences and that went well, so of course then I got more ambitious and I just wanted to win! The crowd were great, they were shouting at me all the way to the last so I took the risk there as well!””

Pieter Devos BEL

His time of 36.53 seconds was always going to be difficult to beat, and although Ehning, second-last into the arena, looked set to put up a big challenge with Cornado NRW they broke the beam in 38.09 seconds for second place.

Ehning has now moved up to third place on the Western European League table which continues to be dominated by Frenchman Kevin Staut while Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann lies second and today’s victory sees Devos make a meteoric rise to seventh position. The top 18 qualify for the Final and the pressure will be at boiling point when the last qualifier gets underway in Gothenburg (SWE) in three weeks’ time.

Watch jump-off highlights here

1. Espoir (Pieter Devos) BEL 0/0 36.53
2. Cornado NRW (Marcus Ehning) GER 0/0 38.09
3. Cannavaro 9 (Manuel Fernanez Saro) ESP 0/0 38.40
After Round 12 in Bordeaux (FRA):
1 Kevin Staut FRA 79
2 Henrik von Eckermann SWE 64
3 Marcus Ehning GER 57
4 Christian Ahlmann GER 56
5 Roger Yves Bost FRA 52
6 Edwina Tops-Alexander AUS 50
7 Pieter Devos BEL 49
8 Daniel Deusser GER 48
9 Denis Lynch IRL 47
10 Carlos Enrique Lopez Lizarazo COL 46
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About Longines FEI World Cup Jumping
The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping is the world’s premiere individual Jumping series, and the breeding ground of equestrian legends. Now in its 40th season, the first FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final took place in Gothenburg (SWE) in 1979.
The very best human and equine athletes from 16 leagues in 43 countries around the world will battle to qualify to compete for this most coveted title and a jackpot of more than US $1.4 million (€1.3 million) at this year’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final for the prestigious Final to be held in Paris (FRA) 10–15 April 2018.
The USA’s McLain Ward took the overall title with his horse HH Azur and a faultless display of horsemanship at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals 2016/17 in Omaha (USA).
About Longines
Longines has been based at Saint-Imier (SUI) since 1832. Its watchmaking expertise reflects a strong devotion to Elegance, Tradition and Performance. It has generations of experience as the official timekeeper at world championships and as a partner of international sports federations. Longines’ passion for equestrian sports began in 1878, when a timepiece was made with a horse and jockey engraved on the watch face. Over the years, the brand has built strong and long-lasting links with equestrian sports. In 1912, for the first time, the brand was involved as timekeeper for a show jumping event in Portugal.

Today, Longines’ involvement in equestrian sports includes jumping, endurance and flat racing. Longines is a member of The Swatch Group S.A., the world’s leading manufacturer of horological products. With an excellent reputation for creating refined timepieces, the brand, whose emblem is the winged hourglass, has outlets in over 150 countries.

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