Germany’s Christian Ahlmann won Saturday night’s dramatic second leg of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping 2016 Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, but defending champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, leads the standings going into Monday’s third and last competition.
Ahlmann and the brilliant 16-year-old stallion, Taloubet Z, set the standard in the seven-horse jump-off against the clock and couldn’t be caught, but Ireland’s Denis Lynch rocketed up the leaderboard when producing the only other double-clear of the competition to finish second ahead of The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders and Emerald in third, while Guerdat and Corbinian slotted into fourth place.
Marcus Ehning finished fifth with Cornado NRW to keep the potential for a record-breaking fourth series title still very much alive for this popular German star, while his compatriot Marco Kutscher lined up sixth with Chaccorina ahead of America’s Peter Lutz and Robin de Ponthual in seventh spot.
There were no clears until Ahlmann set off, ninth of the 33 starters, and the pure class of the round he produced from the stallion with whom he won the FEI World Cup Jumping title on home ground in Leipzig (GER) in 2011, always suggested that he would be the one to beat.
First to go against the clock, he again cruised home in 36.85 seconds without appearing to be under the slightest pressure.
Guerdat looked set to threaten Ahlmann’s lead when last to go, but the crowd gasped when Corbinian hit the opening vertical. Asked afterwards if this unnerved him and made him change his plan, the Swiss rider said, “no, I just wanted to make sure I didn’t have another fence down, I wasn’t going to catch Christian anyway so I was going for second place. That was the plan – it was never about winning the class today, it was to be in the lead tonight. The championship overall is more important than a single class,” he said wisely.
Ahlmann now lies joint-10th alongside Irishman Lynch and America’s Lutz going into the final afternoon and well within sight of that coveted Longines FEI World Cup trophy.
Guerdat meanwhile reflected on how things have fallen in place for him over the last two days. The possibility of taking his second Longines title in a row looks very much on the cards.
Result: 1, Taloubet Z (Christian Ahlmann) GER 0/0 36.85; 2, All Star (Denis Lynch) IRL 0/0 41.42; 3, Emerald NOP (Harrie Smolders) NED 0/4 39.18; 4, Corbinian (Steve Guerdat) SUI 0/4 40.24; 5, Cornado NRW (Marcus Ehning) GER 0/8 39.05; 6, Chaccorina (Marco Kutscher) GER 0/8 s39.48; 7, Robin de Ponthual (Peter Lutz) USA 0/8 40.58.
Standings after Final Competition 2 (after results are converted into penalty points: 1, Steve Guerdat SUI 0; 2, Marcus Ehning GER 2; 3, Harrie Smolders NED 3; 3, Daniel Deusser GER 3; 5, Nicola Philippaerts BEL 4; 6, Callan Solem USA 5; 6, Simon Delestre FRA 5; 6, Penelope Leprevost FRA 5; 9, Marco Kutscher GER 6; 10, Christian Ahlmann GER 8; 10, Denis Lynch IRL 8; 10, Peter Lutz USA 8.