Course designer Frank Rothenberger tested the 40 starters with a massive first-round track that began with a maximum-height vertical that claimed a large number of victims including three-time World Cup champion Marcus Ehning from Germany riding Pret a Tout.
Robert set the jump-off target in 44.96 seconds only to be overtaken by Lynch in 44.57 and then Duguet in 43.68 as the gallop down to the final oxer got faster and faster. With three French into the closing stages it seemed a home win could still be on the cards, but it all went wrong for Simone Delestre on the rollback to the double at the halfway point, his stallion Chesall slamming on the brakes and decanting the world no. 2 rider after a mistake at the first element.
Third-last to go, Deusser spotted a short-cut as he entered the arena. He explained after thrilling the crowd as he snatched the lead with a thrilling run in 42.93:
“I decided that if I had a good jump at the vertical (second fence) then I’d cut inside (the double), and that would give me time to get control going down to the last!”
Final French contender, Kevin Staut, was 0.28 seconds quicker but left a pole on the floor while last man, de Luca, went clear in 43.80.
Deusser admitted this evening:
“I didn’t feel I was the man to win today because, to be honest, this whole weekend didn’t go according to plan! I had two down in the qualifier and I was lucky in first round, but my mare likes to go fast and today she just wanted to win!”
Duguet now tops the Western European League leaderboard ahead of the fourth leg of the series at Verona in Italy in two weeks’ time.
Result: 1, Equita van T Zorgvliet (Daniel Deusser) GER 0/0 42.93; 2, Quorida de Treho (Romain Duguet) SUI 0/0 43.68; 3, Ensor de Litrange (Lorenzo de Luca) ITA 0/0 43.80; 4, All Star (D Lynch) IRL 0/0 44.57; 5, Quenelle du Py (Olivier Robert) FRA 0/0 44.96; 6, Reveur de Hurtebise (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/4 42.65; 7, Golden Hawk (Shane Breen) IRL 0/8 48.51; 8, Chesall (Simon Delestre) FRA 0/Elim.
Full result here
Daniel Deusser GER (1st):
“I have been jumping young horses in Belgium for the last three weeks so I just started the World Cup here in Lyon. My plan now is to go to Verona, Stuttgar and Madrid, and I will also be competing with First Class and Cornet D’Amour over the next few weeks. In December I will then make a new plan but I’m definitely hoping to get to Omaha for Final!”
Romain Duguet SUI (2nd):
“I used to like Daniel, but not anymore! Lyon is a fabulous show and I’m very happy with second place today. My horse is in super form at the moment!”
Lorenzo de Luca ITA (3rd) – when asked if he walks the course and discusses things with Daniel Deusser since they both work for Stephex Stables:
“yes, sometimes we do, but Daniel didn’t share all the good advice today!”
Frank Rothenberger, Course Designer:
“I was worried about getting too many clears because there were a lot in the jump-offs at the first two legs in Oslo and Helsinki. So for the first time I put the first obstacle at 1.60m, it’s not technically difficult but it’s big for a first fence. I was aiming for less than 10 in the jump-off off and we had eight so I was happy. The infrastructure here at Lyon is very good, the warm-up by the stables and another warm-up beside the competition arena – the actual arena is big for an indoor show so horses jump well here and that makes my job more difficult!”
Olivier Robert FRA (5th):
“In Helsinki I had one down in the jump-off but today we had only eight (in the jump-off) so I was in a better position. Because I was first in in the jump-off I had to be a bit careful but it looks good for coming season. My next competition will be at Stuttgart and then we will see. I’ve had quite a difficult year and had to take time in September to have a think about things. Philippe Guerdat has helped me a lot and Michel Robert also.”
Sylvie Robert, Show Director Lyon:
“Thank you to Frank for his great courses and to the FEI for having the confidence in Lyon to stage a World Cup qualifier. And thank you to Longines for supporting the World Cup and for helping the sport to develop and get more media attention.”