Omaha, Neb.—April 2
Can he do it? Will McLain Ward win the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final? We’re going to find out this afternoon, and you can follow along with the Chronicle’s round-by -round commentary here. The first horse goes on course at 2:15 p.m. Central time, 3:15 p.m. Eastern time.
Ward and HH Azur won on Day 1 and then again on Day 2, so they’re leading the overall standings going into the two rounds of the last day. World Cup scoring assigns each rider faults based on their placings over the first two days, and they add the faults from Day 3–the rider with the least faults at the end of the day is the winner. Ward is on 0 faults, but he’s got no margin of error as Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet is right behind him with 3 faults and Switzerland’s Romain Duguet is in third with 4 faults.
There are 26 riders on the order of go for the first round today, and they compete in reverse order of their placings, so Ward and HH Azur go last. After Round 1, the top 20 in the standings will jump again for the final results.
Right now, fellow U.S. riders Laura Kraut on Zeremonie, Charlie Jacobs on Cassinja S and Todd Minikus on Babalou are also jumping in Round 1. U.S. riders’ approximate times of go:
3rd—Todd Minikus/Babalou (2:21 p.m. CT/3:21 p.m. ET)
11th—Charlie Jacobs/Cassinja S (2:45 p.m. CT/3:45 p.m. ET)
15th—Laura Kraut/Zeremonie (3:07 p.m. CT/4:07 p.m. ET)
26th—McLain Ward/HH Azur (3:40 p.m. CT/4:40 p.m. ET)
Chronicle reporters will be doing a round-by-round live blog reporting in real-time what happens with each rider, and after the end of the day will also post in-depth coverage and a gallery full of great photos. Follow along at www.coth.com and on COTH’s Facebook and Twitter.
IMPORTANT LINKS: Round 1 order of go / the standings going into Day 3 / live streaming / live results / Round 1 course map / Round 2 course map / COTH’s What You Need To Know / All COTH’s World Cup Finals coverage
5:16: HH Azur & Mclain Ward are just walking in and I’m already holding my breath. This mare makes it look so easy. We’re 2 jumps away from the end. THEY’VE DONE IT!!!!!! THEY’VE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!! MCLAIN WARD IS YOUR WORLD CUP CHAMPION WITH HH AZUR!!!!!! Romain Duguet will finish 2nd with Twentytwo des Biches, and Henrik Von Eckermann moves up to 3rd with Mary Lou.
5:14: Twentytwo des Biches & Romain Duguet bring in only 4 faults. They have a rub at the first fence and the second, but both stay up. The rail gods are on their sides in this round! A lot of lucky touches so far, but they’re staying up. They’re clear! They’re guaranteed 2nd place at worst.
5:12: Here’s Forlap & Gregory Walthelet, coming in with 7. Forlap isn’t even touching the jumps. This is nerve-wracking when the top 3 are so close! They have B of the triple combination down, bringing their total to 11.
5:09: Mary Lou & Henrik von Eckermann come in sitting on 8 faults. Mary Lou is very vocal with each effort, she’s trying so hard! They’re clear as well, and they’ll finish on 8 with a big smile from Henrik!
5:07: Clooney & Martin Fuchs are the other 9 faulter. Clooney is jumping better in this round than he did in the last, and he jumped pretty well then! They’re clear! They’ll finish on 9 as well!
4:05: Arrayan & Sergio Alvarez Moya are the first of the 2 9-faulters to jump in this round. Arrayan skims over the first fence, but doesn’t touch it. He’s making some pretty big bids at a few of these jumps, Sergio is having to really hold him back. They’re clear! 9 faults remains their total.
5:03: Qinghai & Guido Klatte Jr. are next with their 11 fault total. Guido is using his stick quite a bit in this round to help Qinghai off the ground. They have a great go through the triple. They’re clear! What a great first World Cup Final for this pair.
5:00: Now we see the very special Bianca & Steve Guerdat, the last of the 12 faulters. This mare is such a spicy little thing, and really wants to leave the jumps up. They get very deep to the triplebar and then have to run for the 4 strides, but Bianca is so catty in the combination that she leaves it up! They’re clear! They’ll finish on 12.
4:58: Now we see VDL Groep Zidane N.O.P.& Leopold Van Asten, another of the 12 fault pairs. They have a hard rub at 2, but it’s still up. The first really tall vertical comes down as they get there a little too early. Zidane makes a strong effort through the triple and then has the next fence down. They add 8 faults to their score for a total of 20.
4:55: After a drag break, we’re back in the swing of things with one of the pairs coming in with 12 faults, Maikel Van Der Vleuten & VDL Groep Verdi Tn N.O.P. This is the first pair of the top 10, bringing in 12 faults. They have a hard rub at fence 1, but it stays up, and Verdi jumps about 3 feet over the second fence. Another hard rub at C of the triple, but it’s up. They’re clear! They’ll finish on 12.
4:46: Chadino & Simon Delestre come in next with 15 faults. Fence 2 comes down in front, as does the in of the double combination. Chadino looks like he’s tiring and just having to work harder than he did in the first round today. What a trier, though! They finish with the 8 faults, bringing their total to 23.
4:44: Reveur de Hurtebise H D C & Kevin Staut are in now. They bring in 16 faults. Reveur has to work pretty hard to get out of the double combination, but he stretches and makes it. He’s clear! They finish on 16 as well.
4:41: Ensor de Litrange LXII & Lorenzo De Luca are in next, bringing 16 penalties. They had a great clear in the last round. Ensor is really on form today and Lorenzo is riding very well. They have light rubs at B & C of the triple, but the rails stay up. They’re clear! Double clear today for Lorenzo and Ensor, and a big smile from Lorenzo.
4:39: Pret A Tout & Marcus Ehning are in the ring next, bringing 18 faults. Pret A Tout makes a wonderful effort through the double combination. He bulges quite a bit coming to the triple combination, but Marcus stays chilly and makes it work. They’re clear! They’ll finish on 18.
4:37: Next in is All Star & Denis Lynch, bringing in a score of 19. This horse has such a rocking horse canter, it’s so metronomic. Denis clucks quite a bit to get through the line with the triple combination, and All Star comes through for him. A of the triple combination comes down with a light rub. They finish with 24 faults total; they picked up a time fault with their rail.
4:35: Now we’ll see Cassinja S & Charlie Jacobs, starting with 20. They get quite deep into the first combination and have A down. Cassinja is putting in some really great efforts at the oxers. They finish with 4 faults this round, a 24 fault total.
4:33: Next up is Zeremonie & Laura Kraut, starting off with 23 faults. Zeremonie puts in a huge effort over the first fence – she won’t have it down, that’s for sure! They have a clear round! They’ll finish on 23.
4:31: Chalcorada & Chris Surby are in next. They are the second team to have the first fence down. They finish with that as their only blip for a total of 27 faults.
4:28: Next in is Catypso & Eric Navet. They’re starting on a score of 25. Fence 1 comes down, and Catypso gives some serious air to the next few. They finish with the 4 faults, total of 29. This horse is only 10, and I predict we’ll see a lot more of him in the future.
4:26: The second round kicks off with Keean White and For Freedom Z. They come in with 27 penalties. Here we go! The second oxer is very wide and they have a light rub. A of the triple combination comes down. They finish on the 4 faults and with a 31 fault total for the week.
3:22: I’m holding my breath for final rider McLain Ward and superstar mare, HH Azur. The crowd is absolutely silent. This mare is the epitome of scope. THEY’RE CLEAR!!!! They’ll stay on 0!!!
3:20: Gregory Wathelet and Forlap are in now. They’re less than a rail behind Mclain, coming in with 3 faults. Forlap takes a hard look at the liverpool, and A of the double combination comes down. They finish the round with 4 faults, total of 7.
3:18: We’re down to the final 3, and next in is Romain Duguet and Twentytwo des Biches. They’re coming in with only 4 faults. This mare doesn’t look challenged by these fences at all, although she seems to be tiring a bit as the round goes on and having some rubs. They’re clear! They’ll stay on 4!
3:15: Now we’ll see the big grey Clooney and Martin Fuchs. They’re carrying 5 faults coming into this round. Clooney has such a pony face. They’re making the course look easy. The penultimate fence comes down, bringing their total to 9 faults.
3:13: Now we’ll see young rider Guido Klatte Jr. on his horse Qinghai. Guido is only 21 years old and is starting on 7 faults. Qinghai makes a big effort in the double to stay clear, but gets down the 6 early to have a rail down. They’ll finish with the one down and an 11 fault total.
3:11: Now we’ll see Mary Lou and Henrik von Eckermann for Sweden. They’re another pair entering with 8 faults. They have a rub out of the triple, but it stays up! They’re clear to stay on the 8 faults!
3:09: Here’s one of the favorites to win, Steve Guerdat and Bianca. They enter with 8 faults. This is a special horse, and a little feisty after the jumps! The crowd is gasping with each effort she makes. B of the triple comes down as they get there deep. The mare’s efforts are just amazing. They have a total of 12 faults after today’s round, but what a star that mare is.
3:06: Now we’ll see Sergio Alvarez Moya and Arrayan for Spain. They’re coming in with only 9 faults over the week. This horse is relatively inexperienced, but is very talented and has a lot of heart. They have a phenomenal clear to stay on 9 faults!
3:03: Marcus Ehning and Pret A Tout are in for Germany now. They’re starting on 10 faults. They have a rail after the combination. Marcus is such a quiet rider, so educational to watch. They have the last fence as well, bringing their round today to 8 faults and 18 for the week.
3:00: Leopold Van Asten & VDL Groep Zidane N.O.P. are in now. Zidane has a bit of a unique way of jumping, but it certainly seems to work for him. They’re clean! They’ll stay on 12 as well. Great ride by Leopold Van Asten.
2:58: Now we’ll see Maikel Van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Verdi Tn N.O.P. They have a few rubs here and there, but the horse is jumping very well over this whole course. They’re clear and Verdi lets out a big buck after the last fence! They’ll finish on 12 faults for the week.
2:55: Next up is Laura Kraut and Zeremonie for the US. This mare always looks so excited and happy doing her job. She’s jumping so well! The last part of the triple gets a little too long and the back rail comes down. The last jump comes down as well, and they have a time fault. They have 9 faults today, 23 total.
2:53: Back to it! Simon Delestre and Chadino are up. The horse makes a tremendous effort over the first fence, and rubs a block on the wall but it stays up. This horse’s hind end is fantastic over each jump. They’re clear! They’ll stay on the 15 faults they brought into this round.
2:46: We’re on a drag break now, but should get underway again shortly. The next pair we’ll see is Chadino and Simon Delestre for France.
2:43: Denis Lynch and All Star are in. This stallion has a massive stride! They have a block off the wall. The 4 faults is disappointing, it’s a lovely ride. They’re at a total of 19 faults for Ireland.
2:39: Next in for the US is Charlie Jacobs and Cassinja S. They come in with 16 faults. Cassinja makes a big effort at the liverpool oxer, but the back rail comes down. That’s their only rail, bringing their total for the week to 20 faults.
2:34: Sheik Ali Al Thani riding Carolina is on course now, riding for Qatar. The front rail of the liverpool oxer comes down as the horse gets a little strong. He’s having to work quite hard to bring her back in between the jumps, and she looks a bit tired. They finish with 16 faults today (33 total), and he looks very disappointed, but gives her a big pat on the way out.
2:41: Here’s Kevin Staut on Reveur de Hurtbiste. They have some hard rubs early in the course, but so far, so good. They’re clear, and finish on 16 faults total.
2:36: Lorenzo de Luca & Ensor de Litrange LXII come in now. This horse is giving the jumps a lot of room. A few rubs at the end, but they finish with a clear round! They’ll stay on 16 penalties total.
2:32: Next we’ll see Keean White & For Freedom Z, also riding for Canada. They have a hard rub at the first fence and a block off the wall. The in of the last line comes down as well for a total of 8, plus 1 time penalty for a 9 fault finish, 27 total.
2:29: Chris Surby and Chalacorada are in for Canada. Apparently it’s Chris’s birthday! Chalacorada jumps fantastically through the triple. They have the last fence down in a heartbreaker, but he should be really pleased with that round. Their total at this point is 23 faults.
2:27: Eric Navet & Catypso are in for France. Catypso takes a good look at the wall, but jumps it well. The skinny white plank comes down. Catypso jumps well through the triple combination. They finish on the 4 faults, 25 total.
2:25: Next is Gabor Szabo Jr. & Timpex Bolsescz. This horse is a tail-flipper in the air with each effort. B and C of the triple come down for 8 faults. Their week wraps up with 29 faults.
2:22: Markus Brinkmann & Pikeur Dylon are in next. These jumps look easy for this horse! They get down the 7 a little soon and have the front rail of the oxer down. The pair finishes with 8 today, 31 for the week.
2:20: Here’s the first US rider, Todd Minikus & Babalou. This mare is so tidy with her knees! Fence 3 comes down, as does an oxer mid-course and the last fence. 12 faults for this pair today, bringing their total to 36.
2:18: Rein Pill & A Brok are on course now. They have a block off the wall and A Brok jumps very high over the wall right after, almost jumping him a little loose! They finish with 8 faults in this round and 38 over the week.
2:15: Here we go! The first rider is in, Christian Heineking coming in with NKH Caruso. They’re coming in with 29 faults. Caruso jumps huge over the first fence! Hard rub at the liverpool oxer, but it stays up. B of the combination comes down. They’ll finish on 4 for this round, 33 total.
1:52: Welcome to the final day of the World Cup Jumping Final! This is COTH blogger Emily Pope here to keep you updated as it happens. We should be getting underway as soon as the ring is dragged. The first US rider we’ll see is Todd Minikus at 3rd in the order. McLain Ward is the leader coming into today with 0 faults and will be going last in this round.