Switzerland’s Schwizer pipped at the post; Belgium’s Vermeir takes third
FEI Press Release by Louise Parkes
Belgian-based German star, Daniel Deusser, stormed to victory with Killer Queen VDM at the ninth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League at Mechelen in Belgium today.
In a fascinating 12-horse second round, the 38-year-old rider who is currently third in the world rankings had to wait until the very end to take his chance. Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer was holding the lead with a run that had clearly not pushed his gelding, Cortney Cox, to the limit of speed when breaking the beam without lowering a pole in 44.02 seconds.
“It was a bit of a strange jump-off, there were plenty of good combinations that got through but then not so many clears, and to be honest I knew I had a chance of beating Pius’ time. In the end I had nothing to lose so I didn’t think about the poles, my horse was feeling really good and I thought if I don’t fight today then when should I try – and it worked out great because she played along with me and she was brilliant!” Deusser said after pinning Schwizer into second and Belgium’s Wilm Vermeir into third.
Belgian course designer, Eddy Geysemans, set a first-round track that demanded cautious negotiation in the small Nekerhal arena. And when it came to the second-round race against the clock it was all about tight, balanced turns and the ride down to the final vertical.
Vermeir’s elegant IQ van het Steentje put on a jumping exhibition first time out and took the early lead with the first clear of the jump-off, but in the slow time of 45.16 seconds which left the door wide open. And when Germany’s Christian Kukuk also decided to go for safety rather than speed, stopping the clock in 48.45 with the 10-year-old Quintino, it was still all to play for.
Switzerland’s Schwizer set the new target at 44.02 seconds when fifth-last to go, but with three speed merchants following him it still looked like a wide-open race.
Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano is always fast with the extraordinary Chalou, but their time of 41.05 wouldn’t be a winning one when they hit the vertical third fence. And when young Belgian hero, 24-year-old Jos Verlooy who claimed team gold and individual bronze at this summer’s FEI European Championships in Rotterdam (NED), had two fences down then only Deusser was left to challenge.
Setting off with determination from the start he was confident that he could do it with his ever-improving mare. And Killer Queen lived up to her promise when cruising home clear in 41.37 seconds for a clear victory.
“She has done a few amazing things already and she’s still only nine years old! I have her for two years now, she won quite a few youngster classes including the best Young Horse in Aachen when she was eight. From year to year she steps up and gets better and better, I just need to improve her dressage some more because she has huge potential for the future – she’s a very exciting horse!” Deusser said.
He won the Mechelen leg of the Western European League qualifying series before, back in 2013 with his former great horse Cornet d’Amour who went on to win the 2014 series title. After today’s win Deusser, a member of the silver-medal-winning German team in Rotterdam this summer, is now going to try to qualify for the 2020 Longines Final in Las Vegas, USA next April.
He’s planning to take in the next three legs of the Western European League at Basel (SUI), Leipzig (GER) and Amsterdam (NED) which all take place in rapid succession in January. “Tobago is out with a little injury for a few weeks so maybe Killer Queen will go to Basel”, he said this evening.
Today’s result was a special one for the man whose career highlights also include team bronze and individual ninth place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and who finished just off the podium, in fourth place, at the 2019 Longines Final in Gothenburg (SWE).
His wife, Caroline, and the family are all involved in running the Mechelen event which is staged in memory of her late father, Eric Wauters. “And we live very close to the showgrounds, so a lot of our friends also come to the show expecting to see me win – in one way it’s a lot of pressure but in another way it’s also support from all my friends and the organisation as well. I’m really happy I could win here because I do it for them. I know how hard they work for this show so the win is not just for myself, but for everyone!” he said.
The next leg of the Western European League will take place in Basel (SUI) on Sunday 12 January 2020.