Olympic champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, showed nerves of steel when galloping to victory at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final for the second year in a row today.
The crowd in the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg (SWE) went wild after the 33-year-old rider produced two faultless rounds with the 10-year-old gelding Corbinian to claim the €172,500 prizewinner’s purse. It was the perfect end to a great final for the Swiss champion, bringing his earnings for the weekend to €232,100.
The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders took the runner-up spot and a handsome pay cheque of €131,250 for today’s two rounds and must now be one of the hot favourites for a place in Rio.
Germany’s Daniel Deusser, winner of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Final in 2014, stood on the third step of the podium and was all too happy to join forces with Smolders to hoist Guerdat and the trophy into the air in celebration.
Guerdat was out in front going into today’s final decider, but had to leave all the fences on Santiago Varela Ullastres’ brilliant course standing if he was going to do the back-to-back double after his win in Las Vegas (USA) today. Despite the pressure and with the passionate crowds oohing and aahing over every fence, he held his nerve to finish on a perfect zero for the win.
“It’s really special”, an emotional Guerdat said. “I wasn’t really thinking I would stand here in front of you as the Final winner today. I have a really strong team supporting me, people who get up early every morning and work really hard, so I want to thank my whole team, it’s really a team victory. We all have the same goal. It’s me who’s standing here in front of you, but there are many people who should be standing here with me. It’s a team victory more than ever I think.”
Guerdat’s biggest wins have come with three different horses – Nino des Buissonnets at London 2012, the mare Albufuehrens Paille in Las Vegas last year, and now his latest champion Corbinian. Today’s victory was the fourth for Switzerland in the series, with Markus Fuchs taking the cup in 2001, Beat Mandli in 2007 and now two in a row for Guerdat.