Blum Holds Lead Going Into Final Round Of WEG Show Jumping

Sep 23, 2018 - 11:46 AM

Mill Spring, N.C.—Sept. 23

In a competition that boasts lists of FEI World Cup, FEI World Equestrian Games and Olympic Games champions—not to mention the World No. 1—Simone Blum stands out. The 29-year-old rider has never competed in a major championship before and right now she’s on top of the world going into the final round of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch World Show Jumping Championship.

Twenty-five riders returned for the first round on the final day, and while a number of the starters faulted, Blum turned in yet another clear round aboard DSP Alice to retain her lead on a score of 2.47.

WEB 1 DSP Alice Simone Blum WEG_9893
Simone Blum leads with DSP Alice. Photo by Mollie Bailey.

She doesn’t have a lot of breathing room as Austria’s Max Kühner also looks good with Chardonnay; that pair added only a time fault and sit second on a 3.97. Another WEG newbie, Martin Fuchs of Switzerland, had a lovely clear aboard Clooney 51 to hold onto third with a 4.68.

WEB 2 Chardonnay Max Kuhner BBB_0060
Max Kühner and Chardonnay are in second. Photo by Mollie Bailey.
web 3 Clooney Martin Fuchs BBB_0047
Martin Fuchs jumped to third with Clooney 51. Photo by Mollie Bailey.

A spectacular clear performance with Zeremonie means Laura Kraut leapfrogged up the placings to occupy the sixth spot.

“Oh my god I just can’t believe how well she did that,” said Kraut. “I was saying yesterday I barely worked her at all. I think all the horses were a bit tired and worn out from the battle they had to do the day before [in the jump-off for the team gold], but this morning she was bucking and playing and wild again, so it was nice to have it a bit cooler this morning and not quite so much humidity. If I make it to the second round this afternoon I think it’s going to be hot again, so I’m lucky I’m on a horse with so much energy.”

WEB 7 Zeremonie Laura Kraut BBB_9731
A clear round put Laura Kraut and Zeremonie in sixth. Photo by Mollie Bailey.

McLain Ward had a rail at the second fence of the triple combination on Clinta to sit seventh.

“I thought the mare jumped brilliant,” said Ward. “I honestly wouldn’t have ridden my line any different; she didn’t touch it very hard; she felt like she jumped [the first element] brilliant. I was a little concerned about it after how high she jumped the liverpool the other day, but I thought she came off the ground well and had an unlucky rub, four faults. So it’s a bit disappointing, but I’m not disappointed in the horse or the way I rode.”

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McLain Ward and Clinta are seventh. Photo by Mollie Bailey.

Another U.S. rider, Adrienne Sternlicht, currently sits 12th with Cristalline.

“I was the most relaxed I think I’ve been in five months of jumping since the observation events began,” said Sternlicht. “I walked the course, and I was so excited to jump; I told McLain and [Chef d’Equipe] Robert [Ridland] that. My horse actually felt best—last time I can remember her feeling this good in the morning when I rode her it was at the Devon Horse Show [Pennsylvania], so I can’t ask for anything more.

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Adrienne Sternlicht will be first back in the ring for Round 2. Photo by Mollie Bailey.

“I think I got a little bit ahead of myself and turned my body a little bit in the air jumping out in the triple, but sometimes we have rails. It’s been an incredible first championship experience for me, and I’m really, really happy,” she continued.

The final American representative, Devin Ryan, didn’t have luck fall his way—Eddie Blue ticked a rail and picked up a time fault to fall out of contention.

“He felt great,” said Ryan. “He made a huge effort I thought on the whole course. It was a little bit rider error there; I took that vertical for granted, and he was taking me a little bit; we were sort of playing tug of war, and we just got  little too close to it and made him work a little hard. But the whole course, he made a huge effort. Even the last jump you could feel his power and scope, and he still felt fresh like he could go another round.”

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Devin Ryan and Eddie Blue ticked one rail and logged a time fault. Photo by Mollie Bailey.

Twelve riders will return to the U.S. Trust Arena to compete over a final round at 12:35 p.m. to decide the world champion.

web 4 Bianca Steve Guerdat BBB_9892
A clear round has Steve Guerdat and Bianca fourth. Photo by Mollie Bailey.
WEB 5 Irenice Horta Lorenzo de Luca BBB_0022
Lorenzo de Luca rode Irenice Horta to fifth. Photo by Mollie Bailey.
WEB 8 Amara Carlos Enrique Lopez LizarazoBBB_9527
A clear round was hard to come by, and Carlos Enrique Lopez Lizarazo made a giant leap up the leaderboard from 25th to eighth after his fault-free trip with  Admara. Photo by Mollie Bailey.

For full results from the FEI World Equestrian Games, click here.

For everything you need to know, including broadcast schedules, click here.

For all WEG coverage, click here.

We’ll be onsite for the full two weeks of WEG to bring you all the news you need to know plus gorgeous photos and insight into the competition. Be sure to check out the Oct. 8 issue of the Chronicle for detailed analysis.

 

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