Switzerland’s Romain Duguet and his 12-year-old mare Quorida de Treho put in a thrilling jump-off performance to win the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping ™ Western European League qualifier at the Helsinki International Horse Show for the second year running.

In a field of 36 horse and rider combinations, 15 jumped faultlessly around Guillerme Jorge’s track, making for a competitive jump-off that included defending World Cup champion Steve Guerdat and numerous Rio Olympians.

The 6 obstacle, 7 effort jump-off proved a challenge as only 6 of the 15 second round starters managed to maintain their 0 fault score. France’s Mathieu Billot, 4th to jump-off aboard the stallion Shiva d’Amaury, was fast and tidy, the first to jump clear with a quick time of 32.70.

A blistering pace set by Niels Bruynseels, 7th in the order, and Cas de Liberte had the crowd roaring as the Belgian rider clocked in at 31.87 seconds, but a heartbreaking rail at the final jump-off fence, a Longines oxer, knocked Bruynseels out of contention.

Marco Kutscher, Pieter Devos, and Steve Guerdat all jumped clean but none were fast enough to knock Billot from the top spot.

Enter defending champions Romain Duguet and Quorida de Treho. A dramatic slice of the second fence, a black and white plank, told the crowd Duguet meant business. He never let off the gas, making a daring run through the 5th element of the jump off, an oxer to vertical combination, and then a full on gallop to the final oxer to land in 30.96 seconds – a full 1.74 seconds faster than Billot. Quorida even lost a shoe for her efforts but the game mare never faltered.

Last to jump off was Meredith Michaels Beerbaum aboard Comanche. The pair gave Duguet a run for his money, but a time of 32.78 landed them in 3rd position.

“Yes the arena here is tight, but Quorida is fast across the ground and really reactive - she’s full of quality,” he said of the mare, adding, “I have been riding her since she was seven years old and she’s 12 now and has always been in my stables, so we are a team. The best thing about her is that she always tries her hardest on the big days!”

1.Romain Duguet (SUI) – Quorida de Treho – 0/0, 30.96
2.Mathieu Billot (FRA) – Shiva d’Amaury – 0/0, 32.70
3.Meredith Michaels Beerbaum (GER) – Comanche – 0/0, 32.78
4.Pieter Devos (BEL)– Dream of India Greenfield – 0/0, 32.92
5.Steve Guerdat (SUI) – Bianca – 0/0,33.67
6.Marco Kutscher (GER) – SIEC Carsten 0 0/0, 34.00

By Ashley Fairfield-Remeza
*Quote from FEI press release