The ladies were up first and after accomplished performances by Sheena Bendixen of Denmark and Marina Mohar of Switzerland, who finished fifth and fourth, respectively, the battle was on for the podium positions.
Ross turned in a confident, smooth programme in her first World Cup qualifier, highlighting her flexibility and clean transitions with a score of 7.762 and 7.779 overall for the two days.
FEI Vaulting World Cup™ and FEI World Equestrian Games™ champion Kristina Boe entered the arena next.
Her fast-moving Star Wars-themed routine featured a tricky dismount, which she nailed. But a loss of balance midway through the performance and a lower horse score gave her some trouble, and with a 7.594 score - and 7.746 overall - it was not enough to overtake Ross.
Derks rises to the occasion
The final performance by Janika Derks to romantic music had a few inconsistent transitions. However, her seamless artistry showed through, as well as her harmony with the horse, Dark Beluga, and with an 8.814 score, and 8.622 in total, she took the win.
On the men’s side American Kristian Roberts and German Viktor Brüsewitz showed great skill, especially Roberts’ enormous dismount and Brüsewitz’s storytelling in a Godfather-themed performance, for fifth and fourth places, respectively.
Juan Martin Clavijo, only 18 years old, has been an up-and-comer in the vaulting world and once again showed why he was a threat to the more seasoned athletes. He gave a subtle, extremely fluid performance that put a spotlight on his dance-like flexibility and clean finishes for a score of 8.416 and 8.275 overall.
Thomas Brüsewitz, brother of Viktor, had a brief mistake where he lost his position aboard Danny Boy Old and stepped off the horse. But with an otherwise smooth programme that showed off effortless transitions and daring drops, the four judges were won over, awarding him a score of 8.556, for 8.979 in total.