The small ice-hockey arena in Helsinki is testing for competitors and course designer alike but, with another quality field of contestants, not even Rio 2016 Olympic Games course designer, Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge, could keep the numbers in check as 15 of the 36 starters found the key to his twisting first-round track.
Fourth to go in the jump-off, Billot set the target with a super round in 32.70 seconds and stayed out in front until Duguet set off with just three left to go. The Swiss rider said after taking a super-sharp turn to the second fence and launching himself at the last to break the beam in the winning time of 30.96.
“Mathieu is a really fast rider so I knew I had to take a risk to beat him!”
He wasn’t completely surprised at his repeat victory on a horse with such a big stride and extravagant jump. He said of the mare who was on the Swiss team that finished sixth in Rio, who took team bronze and individual 11th place at the 2015 European Championships in Aachen, Germany and who finished 16th at the 2016 World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden:
“Yes the arena here is tight, but Quorida is fast across the ground and really reactive – she’s full of quality”
Duguet pointed out:
“I have been riding her since she was seven years old and she’s 12 now and has always been in my stables, so we are a team. The best thing about her is that she always tries her hardest on the big days!”
He now heads for the third leg of the series at Lyon, France next Sunday.
Result: 1, Quorida de Treho (Romain Duguet) SUI 0/0 30.96; 2, Shiva d’Amaury (Mathieu Billot) FRA 0/0 32.70; 3, Comanche (Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum) GER 0/0 32.78; 4, Dream of India Greenfield (Pieter Devos) BEL 0/0 32.92; 5. Bianca (Steve Guerdat) SUI 0/0 33.67; 6, SIEC Carsten (Marco Kutscher) GER 0/0 34.00; 7, Cas de Liberte (Niels Bruynseels) BEL 0/4 31.87; 8, Market Irminka (Shane Breen) IRL 0/4 32.26; 8, VDL Groep Arera C (Maikel van der Vleuten) NED 0/4 32.26; 10, Aran (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/4 32.76; 11, Babylotte (Yuri Mansur) BRA 0/4 33.13; 12, Quenelle du Py (Olivier Robert) FRA 0/4 33.71; 13, Antonio (Gianni Govoni) ITA 0/4 34.42; 14, Lord Chambertin (Philipp Weishaupt) GER 0/8 35.27; 15, VDL Groep Beauty (Leopold van Asten) NED 0/8 35.86.
Full result here