Germany’s Daniel Deusser (36) and the unusually-coloured gelding Cornet produced a spectacular winning round at the first leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League in Oslo, Norway today.
Second-last to go in the seven-horse jump-off, the pair pinned Rio Olympic team gold medallist Kevin Staut from France (36) into runner-up spot with For Joy van’t Zorgvliet HDC while Australian wonder-woman, Edwina Tops-Alexander (43), clinched third with the mare California, just 11 weeks after giving birth to her baby daughter, Chloe.
Deusser was delighted with his new horse which was previously competed by America’s Lauren Hough.
“He’s very sensitive, you have to get to know him a little bit but he has great character – he wants to help you in the end, he wants to win and he has a great instinct in the ring,” said Daniel Deusser.
The move from outdoor shows to the confinement of an indoor arena for the first time this season tested reflexes, control and accuracy, and even some of the biggest star partnerships of the past summer found it difficult to leave all the timber intact over the 13-fence first-round track designed by Britain’s Bob Ellis. It was Tops-Alexander who set the early target in the jump-off with her fiery 10-year-old mare that was formerly competed by Egypt’s Abdel Said when galloping through the timers in 38.22 seconds, and recently-crowned individual European champion, Sweden’s Peder Fredricson, was just 0.2 seconds shy of that with H&M Christian K when fourth to go.
Staut blew the competition wide open however with a breath-taking run from his 12-year-old gelding, putting his foot on the accelerator from the very start and racing through the finish in 36.96 seconds to really raise the bar. He thought he’d done a pretty good job.
“I had a plan, and I wasn’t expecting anyone to be faster,” said Kevin Staut.
But Deusser also had a strategy, and his worked out even better.
“I didn’t see Kevin go, but I did see the first two [Douglas Lindelow SWE and Mark McAuley IRL] and I realised it would be easy to get too deep to the second-last,” said Deusser. “I thought maybe if I just stayed in the same canter stride I might get a better jump there and then really go for it to the last”
And that was exactly how he clinched it, with a flowing run and a super-fast finish in 36.83 seconds that couldn’t be bettered by last man in, Ireland’s Bertram Allen, who faulted at the penultimate oxer.
Deusser took the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping title with his great Cornet d’Amour, also by the stallion Cornet Obolensky, back in 2014 in Lyon (FRA) and today’s victory has set him on the path to the 2018 Final in Paris (FRA) next April. This was his first indoor show with Cornet whose colour scheme seems to suggest he has splashes of black ink on his grey coat. And he’s excited about his future with the horse which came his way from Hough, who, as the tall German rider explained at today’s press conference, “is an American rider with an American way of riding – and she’s half my size so there’s been a period of adjustment! Lauren asked me to help her a little bit with him in July and it worked out good so my owners, Stephex Stables, bought him for me to ride and I’m really happy with him!”
Deusser is now targeting more qualifying points at the second leg of the Western European League in Helsinki (FIN) next weekend.