As the first clear of the day, Douglas Lindelow and Zacramento were first to tackle the jump off with a clear in 39.27 seconds and a heartstopping moment as one pole was tapped, rattled and then luckily stayed on the rails! The gauntlet had been laid down for the next six riders and boy, did they rise to the occasion.
Mark McAuley had four faults as his horse spooked coming round the corner in front of a large oxer and just lacked the impulsion to get over cleanly. Edwina Tops-Alexander and California rode a positive and very forward round to shoot into the lead on 38.22 with four horses left to go. It seemed at this stage that the time would be very hard to beat with the small arena giving very limited chances to cut corners and shave off seconds but former world number one Kevin Staut and his very careful, scopey gelding For Joy Van't Zorgvliet achieved the impossible and posted yet another clear in a time of 36.96. Daniel Deusser and the wonderful Cornet went around looking far less rushed – but were deceptively fast with a time of 36.83.
The last to go of the seven riders in the jump off was young Bertram Allen and Izzy by Picobello. You could hear a pin drop in the arena as he started his jump off round, but a tight turn to the oxer meant he finished with four faults and a time of 37.50. His time put him into 6th, with Peder Fredricson in 4th, Douglas Lindelow in 5th and fellow Irishman Mark McAuley rounding up the jump-off competitors in 7th.
Text by Sophie Baker
Images by Mette Sattrup