Steve Guerdat wins after an exciting jump-off with Ferrari, ahead of Hans-Dieter Dreher with Embassy and Laura Kraut/USA with Cedric. 19 pairs qualify for the jump-off – four Swiss riders under the top ten.
The winner Steve Guerdat reached the finish line clear in 47.52 seconds, almost a second faster than Hans-Dieter Dreher, whose time of 48.62 seconds secured him second place. ”I risked everything from the first to the very last obstacle. My horse, Ferrari, is very careful, so I was able to turn very fast to the vertical,” the winner commented.
The 30-year-old Swiss rider already looks back on a wealth of experience competing at Championships: He was a member of the bronze-winning Swiss team at the Olympic Games in Hong Kong, in Athens the team finished fifth. He has participated in the World Cup Finals six times and has represented his country at eight European Championships – initially as a Young Rider. He also competed at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.
Guerdat began riding when he was three and took lessons regularly from the age of seven upwards. His four-legged sports partner, Ferrari, descends from two of the best jumping stallions in the world: His sire is Furioso II and his dam’s sire is Polydor. The progeny of both have earned several millions in the sport over the years. Guerdat is fortunate enough to have three top horses, who could all compete in London. But Guerdat is “going to wait until the last minute to decide”.
For the RWE Prize, the 40-year-old German rider Hans-Dieter Dreher saddled his graded Hanoverian stallion, Embassy II, who descends from Escudo I/Silvio. The pair already won the Grand Prix in Munich earlier this year. “I had a super show here in Aachen in 2011, it looks like things could go the same way this year. My horses are all jumping very well.” The American rider Laura Kraut took third place with the Holsteiner grey gelding, Cedric, a Chambertin/Carolus I son. She jumped clear in 49.36 seconds. “I rode fast, but because I am riding Cedric on Sunday, I didn’t take any risks. We could have perhaps been a bit faster, but he jumped very well.”
The second best German rider was Ludger Beerbaum with Chiara – the pair crossed the finish line in 51.64 seconds, which meant eighth place for the four-time Olympic gold medallist. Staged for the first time in 1949, the jumping competition that is endowed with EUR 90,000 in prize-money is one of the most traditional competitions at the CHIO Aachen.