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Frenchman Roger Yves Bost took top spot in the Madrid leg of the FEI World Cup™Jumping after a very hotly contested jump off round, with Niels Bruynseels hot on his heels in second place and Mark McAuley in third.
The Western European league is famed for the quality of horses and riders, and is considered the toughest league in which to compete, so spectators are always in for a treat during these legs.
The course was fairly kind, providing a welcome relief from the tight, technical courses we have seen so far throughout the FEI World Cup™ series.
Eric van der Vleuten kicked the day off with what was a superb round right up until the last fence, where he had an unexpected stop after appearing to try and rush the approach in order to cross the finish line within the allowed time.
Ireland’s Cameron Hanley and the incredible eight-year-old Quirex put up the first clear round of the day. At such a young age, Quirex is definitely one to keep your eyes on in future. The clears came hard and fast with eighteen combinations making it through to the second round.
Aldrick Cheronnet was second to go clear, and though speed does not count in the initial round, he made sure that everyone knew he was in it to win it, coming home with five seconds in hand.
Luca Maria Moneta jumped a fast clear to gain his first leaderboard points with the sixteen-year-old Connery.
Meanwhile, familiar names such a Bost, Michael Whitaker and Daniel Deusser also made the cut.
Spain’s sole representatives came in the form of Julio Arias and his mount Lennox Luis.
The jump off course gave plenty of room for tight turns and some galloping. Hot favourites Daniel Deusser, Pieter Devos, Simon Delestre and von Eckermann all had surprising poles down, so the win was there for the taking.
McAuley - third rider to go – really got stuck in and took some risks putting him into first place, which set the tone for the fifteen to follow.
Eighth rider and former European champion Bost was the one to knock McAuley off the top spot by shaving half a second off his time, and he remained on top right until the very end.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Arias had the last pole down, much to the disappointment of the home crowd.
There were plenty of challengers for the top spot, notably Belgian rider Bruynseels and Marcus Ehning, who ended up fourth, with only half a second splitting the top four.
With the series now nearing the halfway point, Guerdat is just clinging on to his top spot with 43 points. von Eckermann is only three points behind, and Staut finds himself jostling for his third place spot with McAuley just one point behind him in fourth place.
Images by FEI/Łukasz Kowalski