h. Bret St Clair
Time flies and as of November 2nd, more than four months before the 2016 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final is set to take place in Göteborg, Sweden, from March 23-28th, 2016 (note that earlier than usual date), the Longines FEI World Cup Qualifying North American League is already half over.
Split into West Coast and East Coast leagues, the calendar has seen four dates on each coast take place in steady succession since mid-August.
In the East, Jack Towell has taken a 10-point lead by accumulating steady points in four qualifiers, including a 2nd place in the Jumping Del Mar CSI4*-W qualifier Grand Prix on October 17th (pictured above). And after a banner week at The Royal West CSI3*-W in Calgary, Canada, which included his 2nd World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix win, Chile’s Samuel Parot has shot up the East Coast standings to sit in 2nd place behind Towell, while Quentin Judge is bumped down to 3rd.
However, whether or not Towell’s lead will hold remains to be seen, with three of Team USA’s hottest riders, Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden and Kent Farrington, on the heels of the top three. Madden won the Del Mar qualifier two weeks ago, and Farrington just won the Jumping Lexington CSI4*-W qualifier this past Sunday, November 1st. The East Coast League sees one more fall qualifier take place in two weeks at The Royal in Toronto, Ontario before taking a winter break to return in February with the final, Florida-based pair of qualifiers.
West Coast League
In the West the top-ranked riders lie within just a few points of each other, with Will Simpson and Karl Cook tied for the lead on 25 points. Canada’s Ben Asselin and Richard Spooner are just behind them with 23 points each in a tie for 2nd place, and Richard Fellers is tied on 22 points with Alyssa Hecht. West Coast riders have one more chance this fall to break those respective ties at 2015’s final World Cup Qualifier in Las Vegas, NV on November 14th. After that it will take a journey to Valle de Bravo, Mexico on January 23rd to pick up precious points during the CSI3*-W there, before the final West Coast winter qualifier at CSI3*-W Thermal in February.
While this league is a different beast than the former, date-heavy calendar, where one could settle in at Thermal for three qualifiers at the same location, or hurry up and down each coast to chase points at any number of qualifiers, the new, streamlined calendar of the Longines North American League is giving way to a tighter race, a higher standard, and as always, an intense race to claim those seven East Coast, and three West Coast World Cup Final qualifying slots.
See the full ranking list of the Longines North American West Coast League here.
See the full ranking list of the Longines North American East Coast League here.