Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 – Western European League
It was freezing cold outside but the temperature in the Scandinavium Arena was near boiling point today when, for the second year in a row, Swedish superstar Henrik von Eckermann (36) and his brilliant mare, Mary Lou, galloped to victory in front of their home crowd at the last leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2017 Western European League in Gothenburg (SWE). Runner-up was Olivier Phillipaerts (24), the young Belgian whose previous visit to this Swedish city didn’t end so happily, while British veteran Michael Whitaker (57) finished third.
“When I saw the jump-off course I knew it would suit Mary Lou. You can totally trust her, you don’t need to take a pull anywhere, just let her run and use her pace and her long stride, and she was fantastic again today!”
Henrik von Eckerman SWE (1st)
From 36 starters, 11 found the key to Peter Lundstrom’s enormous first-round track, and it was the time of 41.59 seconds set by Frenchman Aldrick Cheronnet (Tanael des Bonnes) that von Eckermann was chasing when fourth to go against the clock. He blew that target right out of the water when scorching through the timers in 36.89 seconds, piling the pressure on the rest of the field. Whitaker and JB’s Hot Stuff came close when breaking the beam in 37.52 – “I thought I’d done it. She’s not big but she has a big heart and she’s fast – today she wasn’t fast enough but she always tries her best” he said of his exciting new ride. However the last man in would push him down to third.
Olivier Philippaerts made an early departure from last summer’s Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg when badly dislocating his shoulder in a fall from H&M Legend of Love during training. “My horses had three months off and this was probably good for my mare, but it takes time to get fit again and I was late starting in the World Cup series so this is great!” he said when realising that today’s result means he is qualified for the 39th annual Final which will take place from 11 to 15 April.
Paris last hosted the series finale back in 1987, and Michael Whitaker competed there that year. “I think I’ve done about 25 Finals so it’s about time I won it!” he said tonight. Von Eckermann also has the most coveted trophy of indoor showjumping clearly in his sights. “I finished third in Omaha (USA) last year and I don’t want to finish lower than that this time” he said this evening.
Watch highlights here
1. Mary Lou (Henrik von Eckermann) SWE 0/0 36..89
2. H&M Legend of Love (Olivier Philippaerts) BEL 0/0 37.42
3. JB’s Hot Stuff (Michael Whitaker) GBR 0/0 37.52
STANDINGS: After Round 13 in Gothenburg SWE
Henrik von Eckermann SWE
2 Kevin Staut FRA 79
3 Marcus Ehning GER 67
4 Edwina Tops-Alexander AUS 58
5 Denis Lynch IRL 57
6 Christian Ahlmann GER 56
7 Michael Whitaker GBR 56
8 Roger Yves Bost FRA 52
9 Pieter Devos BEL 49
10 Daniel Deusser GER 48
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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).
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.