Omaha, Nebraska -Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and H&M Harley vd Bisschop jumped to victory in the International Omaha Jumping Grand Prix on Saturday evening at the FEI World Cup™ Finals Omaha 2017. Italy's Lorenzo de Luca was second on Limestone Grey and four-time Olympic gold medalist Ludger Beerbaum (GER) was third with Chiara.
The two-round competition at the CenturyLink Center featured 14 international horse-and-rider combinations with the top 10 returning in reverse order of merit. The battle for victory was narrowed down to four world-class riders who were clear in the first round.
Karl Cook (USA) and Tembla were the first of the quartet to return over the Alan Wade-designed course and knocked down a rail for four faults in a time of 38.95 seconds. Beerbaum also had a rail down, but had better luck with the clock, stopping the Longines timers at 38.17.
"It has been a pleasure. The crowd was very good - they're enthusiastic and the facilities are great. It has been a very nice experience to come here. Even though with my results, I have to be a bit more critical because my goal was to finish in the Final at least in the top 10 and I was quite far away from that."
Philippaerts negotiated the first double clear in a blazing fast time of 38.17 seconds, which put him into the lead with one rider left to compete.
"There were a few really quick ones in the second round and I had to try to go as quick as possible because I saw Ludger had one down, but Lorenzo still had to jump and I knew he would go really fast," said Philippaerts. "I thought it was a very nice class to win. Even though I didn't get through the Final, I'm very happy with this win today."
Although final rider Lorenzo de Luca left the rails intact, his path on Limestone Gray was a little slower stopping the Longines timers at 39.77 for second place.
"I was a little bit wide to the second fence, I could have been a little bit tighter to make up time," said de Luca. "I am really pleased with the way my horse jumped tonight. It was a nice way to finish the indoor season. It was amazing to compete here."
International Omaha Jumping Grand Prix Results
1. Nicola Philippaerts/BEL/H&M Harley vd Bisschop/0/38.65
2. Lorenzo de Luca/ITA/Limestone Grey/0/39.77
3. Ludger Beerbaum/GER/Chiara/4/38.17
4. Karl Cook/USA/Tembla/4/38.95
5. Christian Heineking/GER/NKH Calango/4/41.16
6. Audrey Coulter/USA/Alex/8/38.70
7. Max Kühner/AUT/Cornet Kalua/8/40.21
8. Jamie Barge/USA/Luebbo/8/40.92
9. Jennifer Gates/USA/Bardolino/8/47.65
10. Karen Cudmore/CAN/Ceonto/18/53.11
For more information about the FEI World Cup™ Finals Omaha 2017 please go to www.OmahaWorldCup2017.com.