For the second time this season, 20 qualifying points for Riyadh finals 2024 were up for grabs when Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifier 160 cm took place in Helsinki. The competition offered the best of five star jumping and we saw eight clear rounds in the first phase – promising an exciting deciding round.
For a while it looked like the win was heading to Germany but then came Richard Howley of Ireland on Consulent de Prelet Z, last to start in the jump-off, and galloped to the victory with this flying round. The World Cup season is off to a perfect start for the Irish who also topped the first leg in Oslo last week.
“Super jump-off. I always want to win, I never want to come second. Competing against these super star riders, you have to be on your best and give everything to win these classes. My horse is incredibly careful so I feel I can dare him maybe a little bit more than other people can their horses. That way I can be a little bit quicker. To canter really fast and slow down as late as possible – a bit like in Formula One, who breaks the last wins the race”.
Winning two back-to-back World Cup qualifiers was in Howley’s mind, but he didn’t think it would happen.
“I always aim for the Grand Prix, trying to be competitive on the biggest stage and where there are the most money and also points. I really want to ride World Cup finals. I’ve never done those before, never had the opportunity to do that”.
Howley has had his winning horse for a year and a half and thinks he is getting better and better.
“My horse is super. He actually is a little bit inexperienced, believe it or not, he hasn’t done as much as maybe other horses of his age. But I think he can do everything; he has all the scope, he is careful, ridable – everything you want really. And nowadays the horses have to be so fast and so competitive”.
Show jumping circuit’s rising star Philipp Schulze Topphoff with Carla NRW from Germany also put two amazing rounds on the leaderboard and finished second behind Howley. Despite not winning, the German was happy with the second place.
“Actually, if I had followed the instincts of Carla maybe it would’ve been faster. I think in the beginning of the jump-off it was my fault to not really come in, I was a little shy and little bit more on the back movement. But she is super careful, she wants to do her best always. Whenever she comes to the course, she hears the bell and we start jumping, then she tries her best. She’s super”.
The reigning World Cup winner and World Champion Swedish Henrik von Eckermann on Dzara Dorchival was left third despite his fast double clear.
The course designer, Brazilian Guilherme Jorge, was satisfied with the course and competition as well.
“Eight clears is my favourite number for any GP, any class. So of course, I was very pleased with the number. Even when we were not getting clear rounds I was very happy with the way the course was jumping and everything was working. As a course designer, after you set the course and the time allowed, you can only hope for a good result and we had that today”.
Event director Tom Gordin himself was once again very happy with the Horse Show weekend and thanked the riders for making the long trip to Finland.
“I think we ended up with about the same attendance as last year which was the new record. But it’s not our aim to grow bigger and bigger, we aim at focusing and developing quality. I think this 50 000 or around for five days is really perfect. I’m extremely pleased for the top riders to come, especially when you see looking at the map how difficult it is for the horses. And you have 150 five star events to choose and you come to Helsinki, wow, that’s amazing. Thank you really from the bottom of my heart”.
With 40 points, Howley is leading the FEI Western European League standings after Helsinki with von Eckermann on the second place (21 p.). Schultze Topphoff and Simon Delestre share the third place with 17 points. Next World Cup qualifier will be in Lyon, France in two weeks.
LONGINES FEI JUMPING WORLD CUP™ Helsinki 160 cm, with jump-off. Starts 38, placings 12.
1) Richard Howley – Consulent de Prelet Z, IRL 0/72,90-0/34,18
2) Philipp Schulze Topphoff – Carla NRW, GER 0/71,35-0/36,77
3) Henrik von Eckermann – Dzara Dorchival, SWE 0/70,55-0/36,86
4) Daniel Deusser – Bingo Ste Hermelle, GER 0/74,07-0/40,56
5) Martin Fuchs – Commissar Pezi, SUI 0/73,43-4/38,30
6) Yuri Mansur – QH Alfons Santo Antonio, BRA 0/73,44-8/39,71
7) Leopold van Asten – VDL Groep Iron Z, NED 0/73,38-8/40,62
8) Lorenzo de Luca – Cappuccino 194, ITA 0/75,07-8/41,99
9) Julien Anquetin – Gravity of Greenhill, FRA 4/69,55
10) Peder Fredricson – Hansson WL, SWE 4/70,20
11) Max Kühner – EIC Cooley Jump the Q, AUT 4/71,05
12) Jens Fredricson – Diarado’s Rose Elith, SWE 4/71,28