Gothenburg, Sweden – February 26, 2023 – It was a pivotal moment in the career of 44-year-old Frenchman Marc Dilasser (FRA) today when winning the last qualifier of the 2022/2023 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Western European League in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Partnering the 13-year-old gelding Arioto du Gevres he pinned Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer (SUI) and Vancouver de Lanlore into runner-up spot while Denmark’s Lars Bank Andersen (DEN) on Ethene and Andreas Schou (DEN) with Darc de Lux finished third and fourth in a thrilling four-way jump-off.
“This is my first ever World Cup win, and to do it at an iconic show like Gothenburg makes it even more special!”, Dilasser said with the broadest smile this evening.
Swedish course designer, Peter Lundstrom (SWE), set a tough first-round test to which only these four combinations found all the answers. There were 11 Swedes on the start-list including the world number one combination of Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) and King Edward, but none of them went clear over the 14-fence track.
Time and again riders made it all the way to the final line on which they had to rebalance their horses after a massive triple bar three fences from home, only to be defeated by the penultimate double of gold poles or the final water-tray oxer.
“The course was something special and it asked a lot of questions. It was technical but there were at least 10 riders who deserved to be clear but had a fence down”, Lundstrom pointed out. And in fact a total of seven finished with just four faults.
Threw it down
Marc Dilasser (FRA) was first to go against the clock and really threw it down to the other three with a spectacular run from Arioto du Gevres. Lundstrom left the bogey double from the first round in place to test them once again, but the Frenchman just set off like a rocket and with a fearless long shot to the final fence broke the beam to set the target when clear in 41.02 seconds.
Pius Schwizer (SUI) was next to take his turn and was also fault free but 1.33 seconds slower with the 14-year-old Vancouver de Lanlore when stopping the clock on 42.35. Denmark’s Andreas Schou and the handsome stallion Darc de Lux were looking good until clipping the first element of the double that had broken so many hearts first time out.
Last man in, his compatriot Lars Bak Andersen (DEN), made no mistake. Although having to settle for third with the 11-year-old mare Ethene who crossed the line in 42.55 seconds he was more than delighted because she is proving well capable of stepping up a level.
“We had great courses throughout the week, not just today, and a lot of them have been very technical. But after this show I see a big future for Ethene who I have had for more than two years. She gave me such a good feeling during the week. Normally I compete her in the Saturday classes at a show but now I see she is ready for the big Sunday competitions like the World Cup and it’s very exciting!”, pointed out the Dane who has been based in Elmshorn near Hamburg in Germany for over a decade now.
Dilasser talked about the gelding he has been competing for more than seven years now. “Arioto was not always an easy horse, when he was young he was difficult to ride but he has always been a fighter!”, he said. His jump-off tactics were pretty simple today, “to go as quick as I could, to do my very best and to wait and see how it was for everyone else”, he explained.
He was thrilled with his success, so much so that he decided to change his travel plans for tonight. “This has been a fantastic day for me and for my owners. I had a plane to catch this evening but instead we cancelled that and we will stay one more night and break out the champagne here in Gothenburg – it’s important to celebrate the big moments!”, he said happily.
Meanwhile the final word tonight went to Show Director Tomas Torgersen.
Due to the pandemic Gothenburg Horse Show hasn’t run since 2020 and he said “we are so happy to be back and so pleased with the great sport throughout the week! Our great audience came again and we are very thankful for that. We celebrate 46 years this year and we look forward now to what is to come, including our 50th anniversary!”
Final Results – SEK $2,700,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Gothenburg CSI 5*-W, presented by MIPS
1) Marc Dilasser (FRA) & Arioto du Gevres – 0 / 0 – 41.02
2) Pius Schwizer (SUI) & Vancouver de Lanlore – 0 / 0 – 42.35
3) Lars Bak Andersen (DEN) & Ethene – 0 / 0 – 42.55
Source: Press Release by Louise Parkes for FEI – Fédération Equestre Internationale
Photos: © FEI / Kim C. Lundin