Gothenburg, Apr 8 : World number one Steve Guerdat of Switzerland claimed his third FEI Jumping World Cup title at the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg on Sunday.
The 2012 Olympic individual gold winner put on a flawless performance in the two rounds in the final day's competition with his 11-year-old gelding Alamo, winning the title with a total of two faults, which he committed on Friday.
His compatriot Martin Fuchs finished second on three points and local hero Peder Fredricson took third on five. "I was a bit unsure going to the final today as this is his first championship and I was a little nervous on Friday after the speed class, but in the end he has been amazing all week," said the 36-year-old, who won his first title in Las Vegas in 2015 and his second here in 2016.
Guerdat had thrown down the gauntlet when topping Thursday's opening competition, but a fence down on Friday saw him come into final day's two-round finale in the third place, two points off Spain's Eduardo Alvarez Aznar at the head of the leaderboard.
There were only five first-round clears, and Guerdat moved into pole position when Alvarez Aznar dropped out of contention with two fences down, and second-placed Fredricson faulted once with his horse Catch me Not.
But Fredricson, the home hero and reigning European champion, was still a title contender by placing third with only five penalty points as round two began with Guerdat at the head of affairs carrying two, followed by the 26-year-old Fuchs with three. After both Fredricson and Fuchs had made no mistakes, Guerdat had no room for manoeuvre and he lived up to the expectations by clearing all the hurdles in style.
"It's up to the horse to jump the fences so I really tried to focus on my riding and give him his best chance, and he responded really well," Guerdat said.
Fuchs, who also finished second in last year's World Championships, said, "If I have to be beaten, it is great if Steve wins, he is my friend and training partner." Guerdat has joined an elite group of three-time World Cup winners that includes Germany's Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Marcus Ehning, Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa and Austria's Hugo Simon, the man who won the very first title in Gothenburg in 1979. "When I was young I used to dream of winning the World Cup, and when I finished second twice I wondered if it would ever happen. So when I won in 2015 it was very special, and to win here in Gothenburg the next year was even better," Guerdat said. (XINHUA)