Steve Guerdat is the new European jumping champion. Before an enthusiastic crowd which filled every seat around the competition field at the Snai San Siro Racecourse, the Swiss rider won the gold medal of the Italia. Open to Meraviglia – FEI Jumping European Championship Milan 2023 with an exciting performance.
After the last two challenging rounds valid for the individual final designed by the chef de piste, Uliano Vezzani, Guerdat rode Dynamix de Belheme to win with 0.43 penalties ahead of the German rider, Philipp Weishaupt (Zinaday, 4.31) and the French rider, Julien Epaillard (Dubai du Cedre, 4.61).
Out of the ‘Top 25’ riders qualified, only five jumped unscathed over the 12 fences of round 1, and Guerdat was the only one to repeat his successful performance again with no mistakes after three clear rounds in the previous days. This nth feat allowed him to outrank the Swedish rider, Jens Fredricson, who had been on top in the provisional ranking since the first competition last Wednesday but who unfortunately made a mistake with Markan Cosmpolit.
The decisive second round for the ‘Top 12’ riders qualified produced only four clear rounds. The new leader in the field became Guerdat who finished his fifth fault-free round to win the individual title for Switzerland. The Swiss ace was taking part in the European Championships for the ninth time. In the individual event, his best result to date was his sixth place in 2003, while he had already won two team gold medals in 2009 and in 2021, a silver medal in 2005 and two bronze medals in 2003 and 2017.
Fredricson made another mistake, slipping off the podium, which was then occupied by Weishaupt and Epaillard, both with no faults in the final round. The fourth clear in the second round was obtained by Britain’s Ben Maher with Faltic HB.
(ph. Massimo Argenziano)