Rio 2016 Olympic team gold medallists, Roger Yves Bost and Sydney Une Prince from France, stormed to victory at the ninth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016/2017 Western European League at Mechelen, Belgium today. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)
by Louise Parkes
That enigmatic Frenchman, Roger Yves Bost, did what he does best today when storming to victory in spectacular style at the ninth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016/2017 Western European League in Mechelen, Belgium. Riding the 10-year-old mare Sydney Une Prince who carried him to team gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the 51-year-old rider snatched pole position from 21-year-old Belgian hero Jos Verlooy with a daredevil run that brought the spectators to their feet.
Germany’s Holger Wulschner set a tough target with BSC Skipper in the 12-horse jump-off when clear in 40.08 seconds, but that would only prove good enough for third place at the end of an afternoon that included plenty of thrills, spills and drama. Last year’s winner at the Belgian fixture was current world no. 1 Christian Ahlmann, but the German maestro was eliminated in the first round today when Aragon Z was in uncooperative mood.
Verlooy was first to challenge Wulschner’s time, going well into the lead when breaking the beam in 39.71 seconds when sixth to go against the clock with the 11-year-old Caracas. “I really tried, I didn’t think I could go any faster!” said the young man who finished fifth with Domino at the Longines Final in Las Vegas in 2015. It seemed the target was still vulnerable however when Verlooy’s good friend and rival, 21-year-old Irish sensation Bertram Allen, broke the beam even sooner, although he left the opening vertical on the floor for four faults in 39.43 with his very promising eight-year-old Izzy by Picobello.
Fourth-last into the ring, Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca and Armitages Boy looked set to go out in front until they missed their stride to the very last fence. And the crowd gasped in even greater disbelief when French star Kevin Staut, who leads the Western European League rankings and is more than qualified for the Longines Final in Omaha, Nebraska (USA) at the end of March, then parted company with Ayade de Septon when they got into a muddle earlier on the track. Last man in however, Bost would make no mistake, storming home in 38.86 seconds to put the result beyond doubt.
“Sydney is very fast, I didn’t take the maximum risk but at the last two jumps I tried a little more” said the man whose unorthodox riding style sets him apart from the rest and whose personal popularity is universal. The Belgian crowd applauded the Frenchman as if he was one of their own, and today’s result has settled Bost’s resolve. “I only need about 10 more points to qualify so I’m going to try some more shows now because I really want to go to America for the Final!” he said tonight.
Result: 1, Sydney Une Prince (Roger Yves Bost) FRA 0/0 38.86; 2, Caracas (Jos Verlooy) BEL 0/0 39.71; 3, BSC Skipper (Holger Wulschner) GER 0/0 40.08; 4, Galine la Cour Zichelhof (Pilar Lucrecia Cordon) ESP 0/0 41.30; 5, Mary Lou (Henrik von Eckermann) SWE 0/0 41.44; 6, All Star (Denis Lynch) IRL 0/0 41.60; 7, Finishing Touch Wareslage (Juulia Jylas) FIN 0/0 42.68; 8, Izzy by Picobello (Bertram Allen) IRL 0/4 39.43; 9, Don VHP Z (Harrie Smolders) NED 0/4 39.77; 10, Armitages Boy (Lorenzo de Luca) ITA 0/4 40.33; 11, Sea Coast Atlantic (Gudrun Pateet) BEL 0/8 40.53; 12, Ayade de Septon et HDC (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/Elim.
Full result here
Facts and Figures:
Mechelen in Belgium played host to the ninth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016/2017 Western European League today.
This was the 36th anniversary of the fixture that is staged in memory of the late Belgian showjumping star Eric Wauters.
40 horse-and-rider combinations from 16 countries competed.
The start-list included five of the top 10 riders, and nine of the top 18 in the Longines world rankings.
12 qualified for the second-round jump-off.
Today’s course was the last to be created by world-famous international course designer Lucien Somers who is now retiring. Assisting him today was fellow-countryman Eddy Geysemans.
7 completed double-clear rounds and the competition was won by Rio 2016 Olympic Games team gold medallists Roger Yves Bost and Sydney Une Prince from France.
The top 18 in the Western European League qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017 Final which will take place in Omaha, Nebraska (USA) from 27 March to 2 April 2017.
There are just four qualifying competitions left to go – at Leipzig, Germany on Sunday 22 January, at Zurich, Switzerland on Sunday 29 January, at Bordeaux, France on Saturday 4 February, and at Gothenburg, Sweden on Sunday 26 February.
Roger Yves Bost FRA (1st): Talking about his mare, Sydney Une Prince – “after Rio she jumped in Barcelona and then had a break. Then I took her to Stuttgart, Paris and Geneva before coming here.”
Holger Wulschner GER (3rd): “the course designer did a super job – every big class this week we had 12 clears so everyone in jump off had money/ This show always has a lovely audience – they are a very happy crowd!”
John Roche, FEI Jumping Director: “I’d like to congratulate the owner of winning horse, Monsieur Francois Badel, and also the course designer Lucien Somers for producing excellent sport this afternoon. On behalf of the FEI I’d like to thank Lucien for all his wonderful work. As this is his last show I’d like to thank him very sincerely for his enormous contribution to the sport over the years.”
Standings: Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016/2017 Western European League
After Round 9 at Mechelen (BEL):
- Kevin Staut FRA – 61
- Lorenzo de Luca ITA – 60
- Denis Lynch IRL – 45
- Steve Guerdat SUI – 44
- Romain Duguet SUI – 43
- Marcus Ehning GER – 41
- Scott Brash GBR – 35
- Henrik von Eckermann SWE – 34
- Lauren Hough USA – 33
- Simon Delestre FRA – 31
- Holger Wulschner GER – 31
- Nicola Philippaerts BEL – 31
- Martin Fuchs SUI – 29
- Carlos Lopez COL – 28
- Roger Yves Bost FRA – 28
- Daniel Deusser GER – 28
- Ludger Beerbaum GER – 28
- Pieter Devos BEL – 28
- Olivier Robert FRA – 26
- Jane Richard Philips SUI – 25
- Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum GER – 25
- Sergio Alvarez Moya ESP – 25
Full standings here