Just a few weeks after clinching team silver at the FEI World Equestrian Games, and hot on the heels of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Spain, the reigning European champion, Peder Fredricson from Sweden, scorched to victory in tonight’s Prestige Jump-Off at Jumping Verona.
He’s never a man to get overly emotional, but this evening he was particularly pleased with the performance of his winning horse. “It’s the first class I’ve won on H&M Christian K!” he said with a big smile on his face. “There were quite a few riders going into the jump-off and I know he’s not the fastest horse naturally, but today we had a good round!” he pointed out in his typically under-stated manner.
With 16 of the best horse-and-rider combinations in the world making the cut into the race against the clock this was never going to be an easy one to win, and it was Ireland’s Mark McAuley who set the fast early target with Vivaldi du Theil who galloped through the timers in 36.83 seconds. German legend Ludger Beerbaum looked set to overtake the Irishman with a heart-stopping round from Chiara, but the mare kicked out the front pole of the final fence which also proved the bogey for many others.
Fredricson went out in front when eleventh to go and clear, his turning skills and placement of his horse allowing him to break the beam in 35.95 seconds. The crowd were on the edges of their seats as Italy’s Alberto Zorzi set off with his foot to the floor with Ulane de Coquerie, but they hit the vertical second-last before stopping the clock on 35.03. It was Irishman Bertram Allen who was quickest of all, through the finish in 34.43 with Christy Jr but at the expense of the final oxer where he knocked both top poles.
In the end it was a combination of control and pace that won the day. “If you’re in control you can be quick enough. My time was beaten a few times and I was a bit lucky that some riders had the last fence down but today the luck was on my side and I’m very happy for the win!” Fredricson said.
He’s planning to compete Catch Me Not in Sunday’s Longines FEI World Cup qualifier. “He’s a 12-year-old gelding I’ve had for about six months. He was double-clear at his last show in Barcelona (Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final) and this is his first indoor, but I jumped him here yesterday and today and he was really good, so I’ll have a go on Sunday!” the Swedish star said.