Guerdat drawn first and Ahlmann last for Rolex Final opener

Guerdat drawn first and Ahlmann last for Rolex Final opener

As the anticipation and excitement continued to mount in Gothenburg, Sweden tonight, Olympic champion Steve Guerdat from Switzerland was drawn first to go in tomorrow’s (25 April) opening competition of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2012/2013. And 2011 Rolex champion and current World No. 1, Christian Ahlmann from Germany, was at the other end of the spectrum when awarded the coveted last-to-go slot in the field of 39 starters.

The 35th FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final has attracted riders from 17 countries, and Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann was joined by Hong Kong’s Raena Leung in drawing the names and numbers out of the hat at the Scandinavium Arena tonight. Von Eckermann was none too pleased when calling out his own name against the number six slot. Fellow-Swede and reigning FEI European Champion, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, will be fourth to go tomorrow when the action kicks off at 18.30 local time.

Defending Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping champions, America’s Rich Fellers and the Irish-bred stallion Flexible will be the 29th horse-and-rider partnership to tackle the course set by Italy’s Uliano Vezzani. Asked about his plans for defending his title, Fellers said tonight, “I think I’ll try to go fast and clear!” He pointed out that his 17-year-old horse “feels as good as last year” and was very fresh and happy in himself after arriving in Europe. “I went to ride him last Friday afternoon and I had trouble getting on him, so that tells me he’s feeling alright!” the rider from Oregon pointed out.

Three Competitions

The results of three competitions will be taken into account before the fate of the title is decided next Sunday afternoon. Riders can compete with two different horses, but can enter just one horse in each competition.

Tomorrow’s opening class is run under Table C rules over a Table A course, with a maximum fence height of 1.50m. It is not intended that this course should have the character of a Table C “Speed and Handiness” track, but instead should be a Table A type course but with bigger fences. The rules explain that the sole purpose for using the Table C scoring system, in which faults are converted into seconds, is “to give a skillful athlete, with an unlucky knockdown, an opportunity to obtain a reasonable placing”.

The second competition takes place on Friday and is a Table A one-round against the clock with a jump-off which is also against the clock. Fences will stand between 1.50m and 1.60m in height, and riders who are eliminated or retire in tomorrow’s first class are not permitted to compete on Friday.

Every qualified Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final competitor who has collected points in first two competitions of the Final, but who decides not to enter the third and deciding competition on Sunday, is eligible to compete in Saturday’s Grand Prix.

Sunday’s deciding class is a Table A, against the clock, with two rounds over a Grand Prix course, and with approximately the same number of fences in both rounds and the same length of course. However the degree of difficulty in the second round will be greater. There will be no jump-off to decide the winner of this competition.


The result is decided on points, with points allocated to all competitors in the first competition. The winner of each competition gets one more point than the number of starters in tomorrow’s opening class. Runner-up gets two points less, and the third-placed rider three points less and so on. In the event of a tie, points are added up and divided equally. After the second competition, points are transformed into penalties, and the athlete with the highest number of points will begin the last day of competition on a zero score. For all others, penalties will be calculated by multiplying with the coefficient of 0.50 the difference between their number of points and the FEI World Cup™ points of the leading athlete.

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