U.S. Qualifies Seven for Final Competition of 2013 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final; Madden Stands Second

RELEASE: April 26, 2013

Beezie Madden & Simon (Rebecca Walton/
Phelps Media Group)
Beezie Madden & Simon (Rebecca Walton/ Phelps Media Group)
Gothenburg, Sweden
- Valuable World Cup points were at stake Friday evening in the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final as riders vied for a place in Sunday's final competition. Uliano Vezzani tested the 38 riders that returned for round two over a flowing 13-obstacle track in the Scandinavium Arena. Riders within the top 26 placings following tonight's round qualified to jump in Sunday's final competition and of those entries seven will be representing the United States.

Thursday's Speed Leg winner, Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, NY), proved why she is consistently ranked among the best in the world as she guided Simon to another clear round over Vezzani's course. The pair returned as the final pair in the jump-off and looked ready to maintain their lead going into Sunday. However, Madden made an aggressive move to the final oxer with Abigail Wexner's 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding resulting in four faults.

"I thought the pace was good for my horse," said the Olympic and FEI World Equestrian Games medalist. "I got a little too excited to the last; I'm kicking myself." The pair finished in ninth position in tonight's class and lay second in the overall standings heading into Sunday's finale on one fault.

"I think he'll be good; he's relaxed and comfortable in this place. I can be on the real offensive," said Madden of her strategy heading into the final rounds of competition. "It's pressure but we've been in that position before."

Finishing just ahead of Madden in tonight's competition was her teammate from the last three Olympic Games, McLain Ward. Riding Grant Road Partners LLC's 11-year-old Belgain Warmblood stallion Super Trooper De Ness, Ward (Brewster, NY) looked to seize valuable World Cup points with a strong finish on Friday evening. In the jump-off the pair set a quick pace from the beginning but an additional stride to the second jump resulted in four faults. The two-time Olympic Team Gold medalist nonetheless was very pleased with his rising star who is stepping up to everything asked of him.

"I was thrilled with Super Trooper; he jumped fantastic. This is his first time indoors andI wasn't even sure if I would use him in this leg," said Ward. "I added up in the seven in the first line, it wasn't his rail it was mine. I feel like he's in a hair of winning at this kind of show."

Ward stands in a three-way tie for sixth in the overall standings on five faults. The final U.S. entry in tonight's 15 horse jump-off was 18-year-old Reed Kessler in her Final debut. Kessler (Lexington, KY) demonstrated why she and her 11-year-old Belgain mare Cylana were chosen to be part of the U.S. effort at the London Olympic Games with a stylish clear round this evening. In the jump-off the pair posted a competitive time but a rail jumping into the double resulted in four faults and a 12th place finish. They head into Sunday on nine faults and in tenth place overall.

Charlie Jayne (Elgin, IL) was aiming to improve his 11th place position following round one and looked capable of doing so with Chill R Z as they set off on course. However, Alex Jayne and Maura Thatcher's 10-year-old Zangerscheide stallion let enthusiasm get the better of him, rolling poles at 8A and 11B. They finished in 28th position in round two and occupy the 18th position with a score of 16 heading into Sunday.

Additionally, Katie Dinan, Kent Farrington and Karl Cook have all qualified to represent the U.S. in Sunday's finale. Dinan (Wellington, FL) was looking to repeat her clear performance from the night before with Grant Road Partners LLC's 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding Nougat De Vallet but three rails over the course left them in 35th place for round two. In their Rolex/FEI World Cup Final debut they head into Sunday on 18 faults in equal 20th place. Farrington (Wellington, IL) repeated his eight-fault effort from the previous night with his 2011 Pan American Games Team Gold medalist Uceko. R.C.G. Farm's 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding finished in 29th on Friday and stands 23rd overall on a score of 19. Cook (Woodside, CA) is also making his Finals debut and guided Signe Ostby's 11-year-old Zangerscheide stallion Jonkheer Z to an eight-fault trip in round two. They complete the U.S. entry for Sunday on a 20 faults in 25th position.

The U.S. was also represented by Rich Fellers, Lucy Davis, Ashlee Bond and Christine McCrea in Friday's competition. The 2012 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final Champions, Fellers (Sherwood, CA) and Harry Mollie Chapman's Flexible were looking to make up for a disappointing trip in round one, but an additional four faults in the second round will keep them out of continuing their title defense on Sunday. Davis (Los Angeles, CA) and Old Oak Farm's Nemo 119 jumped a five-fault round, a rail at 11B and one time fault, to finish in 24th place in round two.  Bond (Hidden Hills, CA) returned in round two with Little Valley Farms' Wistful and, in an improved effort over the previous night, completed with eight faults in 25th place.  Pan American Games Gold medalists McCrea (East Windsor, CT) and Candy Tribble's Romantovich Take One incurred 12 faults over the course of their round and completed in 32nd place on Friday.

Portugal's Luciana Diniz heads into Sunday's final two rounds with a total of zero faults and the overall lead. Kevin Staut of France lays third overall behind Madden on two faults. The top five riders are all within a rail of one another.

The winner of the second round of the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final were 2012 Olympic Games Individual Gold medalists Steve Guerdat and Nino Des Buissonnets of Switzerland, posting a speedy time of 34.09 seconds in tonight's 15-horse jump-off.

The final competition of the Rolex/FEI World Final, which is being held in conjunction with the annual Gothenburg Horse Show, gets underway Sunday at 2:00pm CEST.

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