Gothenburg, Sweden—April 5
Last night Peder Fredricson sat in the press conference for the Longines FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final speed round, since he was the highest-placed Swedish rider in 11th, but he looked dejected. Today he admitted his face had given away his true feelings.
“I was disappointed because I thought my horse jumped great and had a great round, but I had the 4 faults,” he said.
But what a difference a day made for Fredricson, who took the center spot at tonight’s press conference, beaming, after topping the World Cup Final grand prix class on Catch Me Not S.
“I didn’t expect to win today,” he said. “I’m really happy.”
Fredricson wasn’t the only happy one on the Scandinavium, however. The Swedish crowd adored his performance, cheering loudly every time he entered, producing pandemonium after both his clear first round and the jump-off round, and then holding up phone flashlights as lighters before he came in for the prizegiving.
Though the Swedish rider boosted his fortunes before Sunday’s final two jumping rounds, he’s still sitting second in the overall standings to Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar, who was second in tonight’s class on Rokfeller De Pleville Bois Margot. (Speed class winner Steve Guerdat had one rail tonight to drop to third overall in the World Cup Final ranking for Switzerland.)
“I was not expecting this,” said Alvarez Aznar. “I was expecting a good result. The horse has been jumping good through the whole season. Today he jumped fantastic, and I could not go and try to win in the jump-off because, OK, it was safer to be in the top places for Sunday. But I’m very happy, and what can I say? I’m the leading rider now, and I could not be more happy.”
The top U.S. rider tonight was Beezie Madden, who had a clear first round and then a rail at the very last in the jump-off—with a time that was nearly 4 seconds faster than Fredricson’s. She finished the class fifth with Breitling LS and will start Sunday tied for fourth overall in the standings.
“I thought it was pretty big and difficult,” said Madden of the first-round track. “[I thought] if he’s in a good frame of mind and going well, he’s certainly capable of that. He felt great in the warm-up and felt good going in.”
Georgina Bloomberg took a giant leap up the leaderboard after putting in a round with just one rail on Chameur 137. She sitting tied for 20th overall and finished 14th in today’s class.
“I was really happy with him. Yesterday was a bit of a disappointment,” said Bloomberg, who had four rails down in the speed round. “We came a bit unprepared for a couple of reasons. No. 1 he’s a new horse, so I don’t have the indoor experience on him, especially jumping jumps this size. And I hurt my back a couple weeks ago, so I haven’t been riding so much, and I didn’t get the chance to school him before we came over here and be as prepared as I would have liked to have been.
“We knew we were coming in unprepared. But I still feel like I made two errors yesterday, and then we had two cheap rails,” she continued. “We didn’t have grand expectations for anyone, but we still hoped it would go better. It was really wonderful to come in here and show what we can do.”
Kelli Cruciotti had two rails with Hadja Van Orshof, and she’ll start Sunday in 18th.
“The round felt great,” she said. “I thought my horse jumped absolutely amazing. It was definitely a much harder track than yesterday—bigger, more technical, more challenging. I thought she handled it amazing. The two jumps we had down were really light and a little bit unlucky, but I was really happy with how she jumped.”
Fellow World Cup Final first-timer Eve Jobs is just outside of the top 20, in 22nd, after also having two rails down on her mount Venue d’Fees Des Hazalles.
“I walked it, and I thought, ‘It’s pretty big!’ ” said Jobs. “There are a lot of related distances that are quite technical. I thought it was quite tall, and especially the double of planks I thought was hard, and then the five [strides] after the triple combination. I was just going in focused and had a plan. I was so happy with my mare. She jumped fantastic.”
Devin Ryan rounds out the U.S. contingent in a tie for 23rd with Cooper after a three-rail round tonight.
“I came here with my second horse this year to give my other horse a little bit of a break, and I thought the experience is well worthwhile to compete at this level against the caliber of riders and the caliber of the course designing—you don’t get to do that every day at a championship level,” he said. “I took a jump at the opportunity and came here, and also to support the other riders.”
The show jumpers have tomorrow off while the dressage competition concludes. Show jumping finishes on Sunday, starting at 2 p.m. local time, 8 a.m. EDT.
You can also read more information about this year’s World Cup schedule and see all of the Chronicle’s coverage.