Omaha, Nebraska – March 07, 2023 – Forty combinations returned to the CHI Health Center Omaha on Thursday for Round II of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final at the 2023 FEI World Cup™ Finals Omaha. Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR) designed a challenging track with nine combinations returning for the jump-off, including Hunter Holloway (USA) and Pepita Con Spita and Devin Ryan (USA) and Eddie Blue for the U.S. Unlucky rails kept them out of the top spots in the Round II results, but their solid efforts put them within the top 10 in the overall leaderboard.
Holloway (Topeka, Kan.) and Pepita Con Spita, Hays Investment Corp.’s 2011 Westphalian mare, had a fabulous clear round in the class to move on to the jump-off. They started off strong in the jump-off but had a rail at the second to last fence with a time of 38.25 seconds for seventh place in Round II. With strong performances in the first two rounds, Holloway and Pepita Con Spita sit tied in fifth place overall on three penalties based on the World Cup Final format.
“I’m just thrilled. I’m thrilled with my horse. She’s stronger than ever and she has really come this week to play. She’s definitely at the top of her game, and I’m just trying to keep up with her,” said Holloway. “Round I [on Wednesday] was super. Today, she went great again. She fought hard for me. We had an unlucky rail when I got a little deep to a jump in the jump-off, but she was excellent.”
Ryan (Long Valley, N.J.) and Eddie Blue, LL Show Jumpers’ 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding, delivered an excellent clear round to be the first U.S. combination into the jump-off. They almost went double-clear but a rail at the last fence in the jump-off with a time of 38.95 seconds put them in eighth place in Round II. Ryan and Eddie Blue head into Saturday’s final round tied for ninth place overall on 10 penalties.
“He felt great. Yesterday, I thought he was a little fresher, but I think he always rises to the occasion in these environments with the crowd and the atmosphere. He always wakes up a little bit,” said Ryan. “It is indoor show jumping. Because of the indoor, it helped with my horse to organize him a bit. I’m able to use the edges of the ring to hold him out and use the walls to slow him down. That helps me not fight with him, and when I am not fighting with him, I’m relaxing a little bit more.”
Three other U.S. combinations landed in the top 25 after two rounds and will return for the final round of competition on Saturday. Aaron Vale (Williston, Fla.) and Prescott, Thinkslikeahorse’s 2012 Holsteiner gelding, are in 20th place with 15 penalties.
McLain Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Callas, Beechwood Stables LLC’s 2008 Holsteiner mare, are in 21st place with 16 penalties.
Nick Dello Joio (Wellington, Fla.) and Cornet’s Cambridge, a 2012 Warmblood gelding owned by The Berry Group LLC, are in 22nd place with 18 penalties.
The jumping combinations will have a rest day before the FEI Jumping World Cup Final concludes on Saturday with Round III, the final competition of the week. The class will start at 6:15 p.m. CT, and the overall winner will be crowned of the 2023 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final champion.
Source: Press Release by Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications Department
Photo: © US Equestrian