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 2016/2017 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 the dramatic eight-horse jump-off with 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 in fourth, 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 that claimed a large number of victims including three-time World Cup champion Marcus Ehning from Germany riding Pret a Tout.
Robert set the jump-off target in 44.96 seconds only to be overtaken by Lynch in 44.57 and then Duguet in 43.68 as the gallop down to the final oxer got faster and faster. With three French into the closing stages it seemed a home win could still be on the cards, but it all went wrong for Simone Delestre on the rollback to the double at the halfway point, his stallion Chesall slamming on the brakes and decanting the world no. 2 rider after a mistake at the first element.
Third-last to go, 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 with a thrilling run in 42.93. Final French contender, Kevin Staut, was 0.28 seconds quicker but left a pole on the floor while last man, de Luca, went clear in 43.80.
Deusser admitted this evening, “I didn’t feel I was the man to win today because, to be honest, this whole weekend didn’t go according to plan! I had two down in the qualifier and I was lucky in first round, but my mare likes to go fast and today she just wanted to win!”
Duguet now tops the Western European League leaderboard ahead of the fourth leg of the series at Verona in Italy in two weeks’ time.