Beezie Madden and Breitling LS Win World Cup Final 2018
“I hoped to do well, but I certainly didn’t expect this. To have Breitling dig in and do well today in a championship format, he proved himself. It was really exciting to bring him here.”
Beezie Madden stayed cool on Sunday, April 15, 2018 to win her second Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final trophy at AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France. She also won the tile in 2013 with Simon. True to form, Madden gave the credit to her horse in his first championship appearance. She led the standings over all three days of the Final.
Americans dominated the top standings on the last day of the three days of jumping, with Madden followed by fellow American rider Devin Ryan and 9-year-old KWPN gelding Eddie Blue (VDL Zirocco Blue x Marlon) in 2nd place. That finish was the surprise of the weekend, with the USA rider whom the commentators couldn’t help but repeatedly point out as an unknown on the world stage, clearing every fence all weekend aboard his nine-year-old horse, the youngest of the competition.
“I’m up and coming, I’m learning, this is my first championship, it’s been fantastic, and I’m proud to be right alongside Beezie,” Ryan said. He and his horse, which he has had since a four year old, are certainly unknowns no more.
“He jumps a lot of clean rounds,” said Ryan when asked about Eddie Blue, who was the only one in the whole competition to not have a rail down all weekend. “He won the five-year-old finals in the States, he won the six year olds, second in the seven year olds, he won five grands prix last year. He won his first grand prix at the end of his seven-year-old season. The track record alone means that he’s a very careful horse.”
On down the leaderboard, Henrik von Eckermann advanced to 3rd place, jumping Tovaks Mary Lou to a costly 4-fault performance in the final round. That pole meant the difference between 2nd and 3rd place, but kept him well on the podium.
“Mary Lou is an extraordinary good horse,” von Eckermann said of the mare that also had him on the World Cup podium last year at Omaha. “She did it very easy, and that’s maybe the most anger with myself; she could win it, but I lost it a little bit. I tried a little bit too much, gave her a pull a little bit too much and she broke up behind. I should have just trusted the quality, and it wouldn’t have happened.”
Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands fell away from his podium chances to finish 17th after a disappointing day with Emerald. And while McLain Ward is certainly disappointed to not follow up on his victory last year, he finished in 4th with HH Azur for the USA.
And on down the standings there was a story for every placing; after having the first fence on the first course down on day 1, Olivier Philippaerts of Belgium rebounded nicely to take 5th place with H&M Legend of Love. And after being admonished by the FEI in an official statement for his hind boots that caused abnormal over-jumping by his horse in Round 2 on Friday, Colombia’s Carlos Lopez loosened the boots and even with Admara jumping “normal,” earned a strong result to slot into 7th place. Spain's Eduardo Alvarez Aznar was just ahead of him in 6th.
But the day belonged to Beezie and Breitling, a 12-year-old SLS gelding (Quintero x Acord II) that is owned by Abigail Wexner. They entered the final round with a fence and a time fault in hand, and used that fence when they had the B element of the triple combination down. It was the first fence that Breitling tipped all week. That narrowed the gap a little and caused extra stress for her team on the sidelines, but Madden sat cool over the final fences to cross the finish timers as winner.
To win here with a horse that we really believed in but took a little while to mature, to have him come through today is fantastic,” Madden said. “It’s been a little while trying to replace Simon and Cortez, but it actually happened a little quicker than I thought, so this is really exciting today.”