Oslo was the first of 13 CSIO 5*-W (Concours de Saut International Officiel – World Cup) Western European competitions over the next five months as athletes battle to earn a spot in next April’s Final in Gothenburg in Lindelöw’s homeland. Indeed, it was in that west coast Swedish city that the currently 111th-ranked rider in the world won a Team silver medal at last year’s Longines FEI European Championships.
“He is taking risks today,” observed the television commentator as Lindelöw and Zacramento flew around the tight jump-off course at the Telenor Arena. “It is just going to get faster and faster here.” But in fact the pair’s speedy clear round in 44.67 seconds would not end up being beaten by any of the 11 other horse-and-rider combinations in the tie-breaking round, with France’s Kevin Staut on Silver Deux de Virton HDC second and Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander and California third – both also clear in times of 45.51s and 45.56s respectively.
“Zacramento has been in really good shape since finishing second in the Grand Prix in Brussels last month,” explained Lindelöw – who hopes to represent his country at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo – after the event, “so I came here with a great feeling and from the first day I believed we could give it a go!” Responding to the comment that they had ridden bravely, the rider replied, ““I thought so too!”.
Before Tokyo, however, Lindelöw’s sights are thus set on the 2019 World Cup Final (whose most recent edition in Paris was won by the United States’ Beezie Madden and Breitling LS) next spring: “I am based in the south of Sweden so of course I want to get to Gothenburg!”. And indeed, the 20 points he picked for the victory in the Norwegian capital (in a field of 38 horse-and-rider combinations) has set up the rider ideally to chase after that goal. The best seven results for each combination count in the final standings.
The top Irish finisher in Oslo was Denis Lynch, in seventh with The Sinner, while Great Britain’s Michael Whitaker on Strides Hilanasterne was highest-placed for his country, in 19th. Qualifying for the World Cup Final has also begun in other parts of the world, including North America.
For its next leg, the Western European World Cup jumping circuit will head east in Scandinavia, to Helsinki, Finland, whose International Horse Show takes place from October 17–21 at the city’s Ice Hall.