23-year-old German Philipp Schulze Topphoff debuted in the World Cup in La Coruña, Spain, and earned victory after a stunning performance with Concordess NRW.
The fifth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup 2021/2022 Western European League has been one of the toughest, as only seven out of the 39 horse and rider combinations made it to the jump-off of Tokyo 2020 Olympic course designer, Santiago Varela.
With confidence and supported by his grey mare, Schulze Topphoff produced a perfect run in the opening round, with a time that couldn’t be improved. He repeated the same formula on the jump-off, achieving victory in La Coruña.
“This is definitely the biggest win I’ve ever had and I don’t know what to say except I’m really, really happy!” -Philipp Schulze Topphoff
Three-time Longines FEI Jumping World Cup champion Marcus Ehning with Stargold was not able to move on to the jump-off at the Casas Novas Equestrian Centre in La Coruña. Moreover, the Dutch partnership of Maikel van der Vleuten and Beauville Z, who clinched the individual bronze in Tokyo also missed on the jump-off after the final two fences.
First to go against the clock, Schulze Topphoff performed impressively fast, dashing through the finish line in 37.69 seconds. He then claimed he was more nervous watching the rest of the contenders trying to beat him rather than riding his own jump-off.
Marc Houtzager and Sterrehof’s Dante NOP were next to go, but they lowered the second element. Augustsson-Zanotelli and her 11-year-old mare Kalinka van de Nachtegaele finished in 38.39 seconds.
Cottard rode into action afterwards, and despite taking the longer route to the second fence, he came close to taking the lead when finishing in 37.78 seconds. Irish Mikey Pender and Brazilian Eduardo Pereira both finished in less time, but after accumulating faults they lost the chance of winning this leg of the World Cup.
Jos Verlooy who came in last was frustrated when, despite going well on the clock, fell for four faults and had to settle for the fifth place.
After a successful week with several top placings, Schulze Topphoff is hoping to collect more points towards qualification for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup 2022 Final in Leipzig. Now, he and his horses are taking a Christmas break and missing out on London (United Kingdom), but they will be reappearing in Basel (Switzerland) and Amsterdam (The Netherlands) in January.
Irish rider Denis Lynch is still on the lead of the Western European League, while Brazil’s Pereira de Menezes is in second after placing sixth in the competition. Kevin Jochems is in third place, going to the London leg which will start next Sunday 19th December.
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