Chinese rider Zhao (Daniel) Zhiwen has taken out the 2015 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping China League in Beijing, besting a field of international riders in the €30,000 competition on Wednesday.
None of the international riders, including World No.1 Scott Brash and qualifier winner Maikel van der Vleuten, made the jump-off, which came down to Zhiwen with the 14-year-old gelding Bolero, and his compatriot Tongyan with the 12-year-old mare KuBu Qi.
Third place went to Vincent Lambrecht from Belgium with the hanoverian Enjoy. Maikel van der Vleuten finished sixth, and Scott Brash was 11th.
Afterwards, van der Vleuten spoke of the challenges of riding an unfamiliar horse: “The course was difficult today, there were certain decisions to be taken by the rider and all this on an unknown horse, which we don’t know as well as our own, it is a difficult thing. That might have been the reason.”
The win in the third of the three league competitions also sealed Zhiwen’s overall lead in World Cup Jumping China League, which offered prize money of €170,000. Hong Kong’s Patrick Lam finished second in the league rankings, with China’s Liu Tongyan third, ahead of Hong Kong rider Raena Leung.
Zhiwen was very happy about his victory in such a strong field of competitors. He has ridden in Germany at Ludger Beerbaum stables and represented China at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
He has now won a berth to the World Cup Finals in Göteborg, but is seeking a sponsor for a horse in Europe, because his China-based horses are unable to leave the country because of quarantine regulations.
FEI showjumping director John Roach, who was last in Beijing in 2013, said he was pleased with the improvements that had been made in the sport, and also with the organisation of the event.
Easing the quarantine restrictions for import and export of horses to and from China was still a work in progress by the FEI.