France’s leading hope for Longines FEI World Cup Jumping glory have been dashed with the withdrawal of Patrice Delaveau’s horse Lacrimoso.
And Ireland’s only representative, Billy Twomey, has also withdrawn Tinka’s Serenade from the event.
Patrice Delaveau announced this morning that Lacrimoso has a minor foot problem and therefore cannot fight for the coveted trophy. “Je suis desolé,” the 49-year-old rider said
Delaveau had claimed a share of the lead with Olympic champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, after the first two competitions and hopes were flying high in the French camp that a French win could be on the cards. France has only taken the title once before in the 36-year history of the event when Bruno Broucqsault and Dileme de Cephe produced a surprise victory in Milan (Italy) 10 years ago.
“After the first round yesterday I thought I felt something but I was not sure, and he was not as good as usual in the jump-off. Afterwards I knew he was not right, he was a bit lame but it wasn’t anything dramatic. We presented him at the horse inspection today and he was rejected. We were offered the possibility of presenting him again tomorrow morning but we decided – Philippe (Guerdat, French Chef d’Equipe) and the owners – that we will withdraw.”
“I am very disappointed for a lot of people, and for everyone here in France,” Delaveau continued. “It would be a wonderful story to see a French rider winning in France, but this is just the way it is, and the horse is only 10 years old and will surely have many other good years ahead of him.”
Event Director Sylvie Robert said she was disappointed for Patrice, “and for the French team, the owners and for French sport. There are still two French riders in the competition however and I wish them well,” she said.
Philippe Guerdat said Delaveau had a great chance to take the title. “But it is fate for him and that’s just the way it is. We were all in the stables together today, including the horse’s owners, Armand and Emmanuele Perron-Pette, and I have to congratulate them for their unselfish decision to withdraw Lacrimoso. They thought only of their horse’s well-being – that came first and not the possibility of victory.”
Delaveau described Lacrimoso’s injury as a possible sprain in a front foot, “but we can’t say for sure just yet, he has to be examined further”. Asked if he regretted leaving his other horse, Carinjo, at home he replied, “no, he doesn’t like jumping indoors, he is more of an outdoor horse,” adding that his other top ride, Orient Express, is only just back after an injury and is not yet fit.
Ireland’s hopes have also been dashed with the withdrawal of Billy Twomey and Tinka’s Serenade.
The Cork-born rider, who is Ireland’s only representative at the event, said: “Considering I’m four fences off the leader I decided to save Tinka for another day. There’s Grands Prix and Nations’ Cups on the horizon, and considering her age I feel this is the right decision.”
Twomey and Sue Davies’s 17 year-old Tinka’s Serenade had finished eighth in the opening competition of the Final on Friday, and on Saturday, despite having two rails down in the first round of the class, were still ranked equal 17th in the 38-strong table.
The top 30 riders achieved qualification for the first of Monday’s two final rounds, so Twomey was well within the classification zone. He would had to have finished in the top 20 after the first round to be eligible for the final competition.
It is Olympic champion Steve Guerdat who now holds the lead, with a narrow two-point advantage over Germany’s Daniel Deusser in second, while Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum, defending champion Beezie Madden from the USA and first-day winner Pius Schwizer from Switzerland are only another two points further adrift.
The class that will decide the 2014 champion begins on Monday at 2pm local time.
Additional reporting: Colin McClelland