MADRID – Germany’s Marcus Ehning, riding Pret A Tout, won the sixth stage of the Jumping World Cup on Sunday, finishing ahead of countryman Christian Ahlmann and Belgian Pieter Devos in a quick jump-off.
The 45-year-old Ehning, who completed the round without a penalty, took 43.30 seconds to clear the eight fences in the Madrid arena, with the second-place Ahlmann, riding Dominator 2000 Z, crossing the line in 43.53 seconds and Devos, on Espoir, in 43.66 seconds.
Ehning picked up the second victory of his career in Madrid and said he was happy with the win in the discipline once again and with the performance of his horse.
“Pret A Tout is 16 years old, he is an experienced horse, so it was no surprise that we went fast in the jump-off,” Ehning said in a press conference after the competition.
It was the opposite for Ahlmann, who admitted that he was surprised to come in second, because he competed with a young 9-year-old mare that “even got a little scared by the pace.”
In the first round of the event, in which 38 riders competed, only nine managed to clear the course without penalty, as a triple complicated the performance of riders and, above all, a variety of light colors used on the poles hindered the horses’ vision.
This led to five riders withdrawing from the contest after picking up too many penalty points; among them were Spaniards Sergio Alvarez Moya and Eduardo Alvarez Aznar, the only local competitor with a chance to represent Spain at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in the individual program.
Pieter Devos leads the European division rankings of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) Jumping World Cup, and with 55 points is the first rider to punch his ticket for the grand finale in Las Vegas in 2020.
The competition now travels to A Coruña, Spain on Dec. 13, when Alvarez Aznar could qualify for the Olympics on his best horse, Rokfeller.