Steve Guerdat has won the fifth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Western European League in Stuttgart, Germany.
It looked like a host nation win was a sure bet, with 11 German riders on the 40-strong start-list – three of which made it through to the jump-off. However, Steve shaved more than a half-second off long-time leader Philipp Weishaupt’s time to take the title.
“You have to really believe you have a chance, especially when you are going at the end of a jump-off,” said the Swiss rider, who won the World Cup series in both 2015 and 2016.
“I’ve been second five times in the Grand Prix here in Stuttgart and I really wanted to win it one day. I would have preferred to have one down in the fastest time than not to be fast enough today, so I really went for it!”
Philipp had to settle for the runner-up spot riding Asathir, while compatriot Christian Ahlmann was third with Epleaser van’t Heike.
Steve was riding a 10-year-old mare called Hannah, who jumped indoors for the very first time in the Oslo World Cup last month.
“Here in the big Stuttgart arena it’s more like jumping outdoors so she was very happy with that,” said Steve.
“She feels like she really loves her job – as soon as she sees a fence she really wants to jump it and it’s lovely to compete with a horse that loves so much what they do. I think she has fantastic times ahead.”
Steve now tops the Western European League table, and with 43 points has already qualified for the Longines 2018 Final in Paris next April.
The next leg in this thrilling series is in Madrid on Saturday 25 November.