Omaha, Nebraska – March 05, 2023 – The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final began Wednesday at the 2023 FEI World Cup™ Finals Omaha with 40 combinations completing Round I, which was scored in a faults-converted format. The speed track designed by Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR) proved challenging with its lines and tight turns. Three U.S. combinations finished in the top 12 after day one, with Hunter Holloway (USA) and Pepita Con Spita leading the way in eighth place.
“I thought it was going to end up the way it did,” said Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland of the first day of competition. “When we walked it, there really weren’t a lot of options and there were no wild options. In a sense, that was a really good thing because I think it preserves the top horses for tomorrow a little bit better. A byproduct of that was that we were pretty sure the top group was going to be bunched together, so there are going to be awful lot within a rail. That is what we predicted and that’s exactly what happened, so I think it is going to boil down to tomorrow and, obviously, Saturday.”
Holloway (Topeka, Kan.) and Hays Investment Corp.’s 2011 Westphalian mare delivered a fast round, showing confidence in their second World Cup Finals appearance. They crossed through the timers in 61.35 seconds for a solid start in Omaha, just a two-hour drive from Holloway’s home base in Kansas.
“My horse was super,” Holloway said of Pepita Con Spita. “She really handles this environment great. She loves a big crowd and she really tries her heart out every time I walk into a ring. She definitely performed today. There were a few places where I could’ve been quicker, but she certainly gave her all and put in a great effort.”
Aaron Vale (Williston, Fla.) and Prescott, Thinkslikeahorse’s 2012 Holsteiner gelding, had one of the fastest rounds of the night but an unlucky rail resulted in three seconds being added to their time to put them in 10th place on 61.68 seconds. McLain Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Callas, Beechwood Stables LLC’s 2008 Holsteiner mare, had a smooth round in a time of 61.69 seconds for 11th place.
The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final begins continues Thursday with Round II at 7:15 p.m. CT. Jumping competition concludes with Saturday’s Round III at 6:15 p.m. CT, followed by the crowning of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final champion.
Source: Press Release by Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications Department
Photo: © US Equestrian