Nicola Philippaerts Triumphs in the International Omaha Jumping Grand Prix

Photo by Lili Weik

The Omaha Jumping Grand Prix opened to a roaring crowd on Saturday, April 1, at the FEI World Cup™ Finals Omaha 2017. Although the Grand Prix would not help determine who would be a finalist within the FEI World Cup, the competition featured some of the best equestrian athletes throughout the world, and it did not disappoint.

The two-round competition at the CenturyLink Center featured 14 international horse-and-rider combinations with the top 10 returning in reverse order of merit. The battle for victory was narrowed down to four world-class riders who were clear in the first round. In the end it was the team Nicola Philippaerts and H&M Harley vd Bisschop who jumped to victory. Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca was second on Limestone Grey and four-time Olympic gold medalist Ludger Beerbaum was third with Chiara.

Karl Cook and Tembla were the first of the quartet to return over the Alan Wade-designed course and knocked down a rail for four faults in a time of 38.95 seconds. Beerbaum also had a rail down, but had better luck with the clock, stopping the Longines timers at 38.17.

“It has been a pleasure. The crowd was very good – they’re enthusiastic and the facilities are great. It has been a very nice experience to come here. Even though with my results, I have to be a bit more critical because my goal was to finish in the Final at least in the top 10 and I was quite far away from that.”

Photo by Lili Weik

Philippaerts negotiated the first double clear in a blazing fast time of 38.17 seconds, which put him into the lead with one rider left to compete. “There were a few really quick ones in the second round and I had to try to go as quick as possible because I saw Ludger had one down, but Lorenzo still had to jump and I knew he would go really fast,” said Philippaerts. “I thought it was a very nice class to win. Even though I didn’t get through the Final, I’m very happy with this win today.”

Although final rider Lorenzo de Luca left the rails intact, his path on Limestone Gray was a little slower, stopping the Longines timers at 39.77 for second place. “I was a little bit wide to the second fence, I could have been a little bit tighter to make up time,” said de Luca. “I am really pleased with the way my horse jumped tonight. It was a nice way to finish the indoor season. It was amazing to compete here.”

Photo by Lili Weik

International Omaha Jumping Grand Prix Results

Nicola Philippaerts/BEL/H&M Harley vd Bisschop/0/38.65
Lorenzo de Luca/ITA/Limestone Grey/0/39.77
Ludger Beerbaum/GER/Chiara/4/38.17
Karl Cook/USA/Tembla/4/38.95
Christian Heineking/GER/NKH Calango/4/41.16
Audrey Coulter/USA/Alex/8/38.70
Max Kühner/AUT/Cornet Kalua/8/40.21
Jamie Barge/USA/Luebbo/8/40.92
Jennifer Gates/USA/Bardolino/8/47.65
Karen Cudmore/CAN/Ceonto/18/53.11

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