Switzerland’s Romain Duguet and the brilliant Quorida de Treho won the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Western European League leg at Helsinki in Finland for the second year in a row today. In another heavyweight jump-off against the clock, the 36-year-old rider came with a late run to snatch victory from long-time leaders Mathieu Billot and Shiva d’Amaury from France, while third spot went to Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Comanche.
Today’s result sees Duguet share equal-fourth place on the Western European League table with Italy’s Alberto Zorzi who won last weekend’s opening round of the 13-leg series at Oslo in Norway. Heading the League table is Belgium’s Pieter Devos who finished fourth with Dream of India Greenfield today.
The small ice-hockey arena in Helsinki is testing for competitors and course designer alike but, with another quality field of contestants, not even Rio 2016 Olympic Games course designer, Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge, could keep the numbers in check as 15 of the 36 starters found the key to his twisting first-round track.
Fourth to go in the jump-off, Billot set the target with a super round in 32.70 seconds and stayed out in front until Duguet set off with just three left to go. “Mathieu is a really fast rider so I knew I had to take a risk to beat him!” the Swiss rider said after taking a super-sharp turn to the second fence and launching himself at the last to break the beam in the winning time of 30.96.
He wasn’t completely surprised at his repeat victory on a horse with such a big stride and extravagant jump. “Yes the arena here is tight, but Quorida is fast across the ground and really reactive – she’s full of quality” he said of the mare who was on the Swiss team that finished sixth in Rio, who took team bronze and individual 11th place at the 2015 European Championships in Aachen, Germany and who finished 16th at the 2016 World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.
“I have been riding her since she was seven years old and she’s 12 now and has always been in my stables, so we are a team”, Duguet pointed out. “The best thing about her is that she always tries her hardest on the big days!”
He now heads for the third leg of the series at Lyon, France next Sunday.
Photo: SATU PIRINEN/FEI