PARIS, France--Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, N.Y., on Breitling LS won both the speed class Thursday, April 12 and the time first jump-off class on Friday to go into Sunday's final rounds with a rail in hand.
The American contingent was spectacular, putting three into the top 10 going into Sunday's competition, with Devin Ryan of Long Valley, N.J., in third, McLain Ward of Brewster, N.Y. tied for forth.
After two rounds, Madden leads with 0 faults, Henrik von Eckermann of Sweden is second with 4 faults, Ryan is third with 5 faults, and Olivier Philippaerts of Belgium, Ward and Dglas Lindelow 0f Sweden tied for fourth with 8 faults.
Madden won Friday's class with a final time of 33.22 seconds in the jump-off.
Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands and Emerald finished second with 33.44 seconds, while Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann and Toveks Mary Lou finished third on 33.92 seconds.
“MY HORSE feels amazing and he has made my job easy,” said Madden. “If it looks easy, it is to Breitling LS’s credit. Every time I call on him, he does exactly what I want. He is careful, he is clever, and I couldn’t ask for more. He has always been a good horse by nature. He has a super temperament, even though he is a stallion.”
In a starting field of 37 competitors, three American riders jumped clear for the U.S., including Madden, Jamie Barge of Malibu, Calif., and Ward.
These three, along with six other riders, advanced to the jump-off round.
Barge, as well as Madden both jumped double-clear rounds over a course that included a tricky left turn to a double of verticals, causing several athletes trouble, but not Madden.
“You have to be smart in your strategy,” said Madden. “A left turn to the vertical used to be my nemesis with this horse. He has figured it out. I thought there were places I could take a shot. I thought that being smooth and fast, I could still be fast enough with him to take a shot and try to get a bigger lead.”
“It is always nice to have a rail in-hand, but we are really only half-way through,” she said. “And we might do that again on Sunday. A lot can change. I just hope my horse stays on form and I stay on form, and we keep jumping clear rounds. But, it can change a lot still.”
Thirty will advance to Sunday’s final competition, which will determine the 2018 FEI World Cup Jumping Final Champion. In a two-round format, and 20 will move on to the second round.
Eight U.S. riders will compete in Sunday’s Final, including Madden, Barge, Ward, Ryan, Alison Robitaille of Upperville, Va., Kristen Vanderveen of Wellington, Fla., Richard Spooner of Agua Dulce, Calif.,, and Andy Kocher of Howell, N.J.
IN THURSDAY evening's class, the speed class, Madden won with a time of 61.89 seconds.
Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Cornet d’Amour finished in second with 62.61 seconds, and Final newcomer Ryan placed third at 62.84 seconds.
“I thought Breitling was fantastic today,” said Madden. “You know, I think this class is one of the hardest parts of the world cup. The courses get harder, but today is strategy and trying to execute it perfectly is difficult, and it went according to plan. He was fantastic; he was right there for me every time I called on him.”
Madden and the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Abigail Wexner come fresh off wins during the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival, including winning the $205,000 Grand Prix CSI4* and the $205,000 CSIO4* Grand Prix.
“He has gotten quite fast and he’s won quite a few classes in the last year,” continues Madden. “Some horses you might not take such a risk today because you need the horse to be rideable and careful for the rest of the competition, but those are his strong points: he’s rideable and he’s careful. So I thought it was okay today to take a shot.”
Madden won the Final in Göteborg in 2013 on Simon.
When asked if she remembered what position she was in after the first class in 2013, she said that she won that first class as well.
Ryan and Eddie Blue, the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by LL Show Jumpers, LLC made a splash in their FEI World Cup Jumping Final debut with a clear round, heading into the second class in the third position.
“I know I have a really good horse,” stated Ryan. “He has been competing very well in the States. It has always been a dream of mine to represent the United States, so here we are. I am very happy to be here, and it’s great that there are two of us up here tonight.”