Having been the runner-up to Marcus Ehning last year, the German Philippe Weishaupt (still with stallion Catoki) took revenge in Bordeaux on Saturday night, by winning the 33rd edition of the French qualifier of the FEI Rolex World Cup in Bordeaux.
Last year there were two riders in the jump-off: Weishaupt and Ehning. This year, twelve riders got into the jump-off! What situation does Saturday night’s champion prefer? “The one where I finish first”, he says amused. Except that this time, he had to put eleven other riders away and in order to succeed, he had a secret recipe: to turn in front of an obstacle that should have been circumvented. “I had enough time to think about a strategy for the jump-off and I saw that it was possible, although there was a massive flower decoration that made this shortcut even less doable. Then I watched René Lopez’ jump-off (with Noblesse des Tess) and I knew that it was impossible for me to go with a faster gallop and that I simply had to try out this idea…” which the beautiful stallion Catoki understood, as he cooperated flawlessly.
Nobody else (except Beerbaum, the “boss” of Weishaupt) dared to take this risk, which proved to be the key to victory. “I had considered the possibility like everyone else did”, explains Simon Delestre, the happy runner-up “but Napoli de Ry is a bit anxious when something unusual happens and I would have been risking a refusal. I preferred to gallop without taking risks, which resulted in this second place and an almost definite qualification for the final of this World Cup.”
Those are good news considering that in a jump-off with four out of five competing Germans, Simon Delestre was the only one from the initial French battalion that had survived. Kevin Staut and Sylvana had been perfect, but got surprised by an obstacle that didn’t belong to the difficulties of the course in any way.
This belongs to an ingenious rider’s right to mistakes and it doesn’t even harm the world’s number one since he stays ahead of the provisional FEI Rolex World Cup ranking, being closed in by the Swede Rolf-Göran Bengtsson who became third tonight with his Olympic silver medal accomplice Ninja La Silla: “Because I knew I could not use this option. Ninja doesn’t turn as well as that and I admit that in the last right line I abated a little, letting him slow down because I was afraid to make a mistake similar to that in London.” The Swede did thus not take the high risk that only the great Beerbaum had the courage for. He succeeded as to show that he was still the boss, but apparently without the intention to improve the time of his student once this first class performance was shown. It should be noted that his stallion Chanan is not (yet) a great galloper.
One could have guessed that this 33rd Bordeaux World Cup jump-off would follow the tradition of being breathtaking. Uliano Vezzani, the course designer, is used to this success: twelve riders in the jump-off, a perfect number for a great show. The Bordeaux audience seemingly surprised the Italian: “I also built the course in Stuttgart in a hall with a capacity of 8000 seats. Tonight I had the impression there were twice as many spectators!” Meanwhile, although already enlarged, the grandstands of hall 3 hold “only” 5800 seats!
This beautiful evening was completed by the show of three great drivers that competed in a jump-off at unbelievable speed. In the end, the Dutchman and multiple World Champion Ijsbrand Chardon was victorious once more, followed by the Swede Tomas Eriksson whose second place secures him the last ticket to the final in Leipzig that will take place in seven weeks.
Complete results: www.jumping-bordeaux.com