Ecstatic Swedish fans celebrated late into the night as home star Peder Fredricson pulled off an epic fairytale win at the debut LGCT Grand Prix of Stockholm against compatriot Malin Baryard-Johnsson.
In a nail-biting climax to the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Stockholm Peder and H&M All In took the crowd’s breath away with a sensational jump off in the City’s stunning and historic Olympic Stadium. Malin and H&M Indiana finished in second place with Belgium’s Jos Verlooy in third with Caracas.
Peder is now qualified for the LGCT Super Grand Prix at the GC Playoffs in Prague in November and rocketed up the overall LGCT ranking to third place behind Daniel Deusser and Pieter Devos. He said: “I am really happy I have qualified for Prague it is a great show."
Emotional after his extraordinary win Peder admitted: “Today feels like the biggest one (win). I am so, so happy, it is a great feeling winning in front of this home crowd in Sweden. It is the best crowd in the world - thank you for coming here today. I am really happy we have another great show in Sweden and I am really grateful for this.”
As the Swedish national anthem played out on a warm balmy evening, the ice cool show jumping supremo sang along with the crowd and a beautiful choir before the lap of honour which was overflowing with patriotic pride.
It was an exceptional night in front of a sell-out crowd in Sweden’s beautiful capital city under a full moon as the world’s best riders and horses went into combat in the Olympic Stadium where stars like Ludger Beerbaum competed 30 years ago and the Olympic Games were staged in 1912.
It was the LGCT circuit’s first-ever event in Sweden and in Scandinavia and today’s LGCT Grand Prix was a Hollywood script writer’s dream.
LGCT Grand Prix Round One
The action got underway in the first round as riders faced Uliano Vezzani’s big course which took no prisoners and required power and precision.
Geir Gulliksen (NOR) raised Scandinavian hopes jumping clear on Gin Chin van het Lindenhof but ending up with a painful time fault. Ludger Beerbaum (GER) and Casello looked effortless initially but were too deep at the VW double combination ending on four faults.
Jos Verlooy (BEL) raised the temperature with the first clear round on the powerful grey Caracas but there was disappointment for compatriots Constant van Paesschen who retired and Jerome Guery who end up on eight faults dropping the purple and white Fabege vertical and the final fence.
Jur Vrieling (NED) and Davall were another combination to jump clear but his careful round meant another agonising time fault. It was down to Leopold van Asten who put in an energetic ride on VDL Groep Miss Untouchable with six strides on the inside line to the Fabege vertical and finishing clear to ensure a jump off.
Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) riding Ensor de Litrange LXII set off at a characteristically efficient pace squeezing through the Longines triple combination and drifting to the outside to give his horse more room to the tall Fabege vertical for a clear round.
Michael G Duffy (IRE) and Lapuccino set off in careful determined fashion aiming for that precious clear round just crossing the finish line inside the time allowed of 82 seconds for a place in the jump off.
Fresh from their win in the GCL Emily Moffitt (GBR) was unable to repeat her triumph on Winning Good but teammate Ben Maher (GBR) and Concona delivered an impressive round earning a place in the jump off.
Wilm Vermeir (BEL) was the next to qualify for the jump off on Jacqmotte followed by Marco Kutscher (GER) and the 11-year-old Chades of Blue. The duo put in some smart inside turns and maintained an excellent rhythm throughout the course ensuring he would be on the grid for the jump off.
Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Mr President failed to qualify after four faults at the Agria oxer but Frank Schuttert (NED) and Lyonel D were the next combination to go clear.
There was a tense silence around the arena as Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) and H&M Indiana paced round the track with Malin working brilliantly to keep her mare under control. As the combination landed clear the crowd erupted in delight.
The adrenaline surged around the arena as Peder Fredricson (SWE) and the exceptional H&M All In pulled off a picture perfect round ensuring the two Swedish Champions were set for an extraordinary showdown in the jump off.
Young Belgian Jos Verlooy and Caracas set the pace rolling back efficiently to the Stadium upright and spot on into the Longines combination before slicing the blue Stockholm City fence and galloping to the finish to stop the clock in 36.82.
In front of a full house Leopold van Asten (NED) took seven strides to the VW oxer and was tighter to the Stadium vertical but despite pushing hard to the finish he was slower in 37.33.
Speed ace Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) riding Ensor de Litrange LXII was brave from the start but fell out of contention with four faults at the VW oxer.
Michael G Duffy (IRE) and Lapuccino were not fast enough despite six strides to the VW oxer by the big striding grey finishing in 38.58.
Verlooy watching rider after rider fail to beat his time including Great Britain’s Ben Maher who was slower in 37.91 and Belgium’s Wilm Vermeir who had the penultimate vertical down for four faults.
Three-time LGCT Grand Prix winner Marco Kutscher was faster at the split time mid course but his hopes were dashed when he knocked the penultimate vertical for four faults.
Young Dutchman Frank Schuttert and Lyonel D set off at a lightning pace and although they were slower in the mid section of the course they made up time and stopped the clock in 36.90 a fraction behind Verlooy who puffed out his cheeks in relief.
The atmosphere was electric ahead of the final two riders Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Peder Fredricson.
Malin and H&M Indiana, one of the leading horses on the circuit, were instantly fast and ahead at the Stadium fence. It was stunning jumping as the quick but careful mare went in front at the split time by a second. There was an unbridled explosion of joy as Malin and H&M Indiana jumped into the lead in 35.36. Malin punched the air and the stadium was buzzing.
It was down to the wire in Sweden and the gloves were off as Peder Fredricson and H&M All In entered the stadium arena looking formidable.
Spectators held their breath and there was a deafening silence as Peder and H&M All In were ahead by more than half a second at the mid point. The extraordinary combination sliced the blue Stockholm City fence at an amazing angle edging further ahead. The power over the final fences was breathtaking as they flew over the last to triumph in a blistering 33.95.
The crowd were on their feet in a frenzy of delight. Peder blew a triumphant kiss to the fans and made a victory salute.
It was a Swedish one two for Peder and Malin and the super-talented H&M horses. A perfect ending to the inaugural LGCT of Stockholm.
Sara Johansson, LGCT Stockholm Sport Director: "Today was absolutely amazing - I still have goosebumps. We couldn’t have asked for any other result. Extremely happy and to have two Swedish as one and two in the Grand Prix we couldn’t have asked for more. Everything ran smoothly, the crowd have been amazing and the riders have proved Sweden is one of the best nations in the world at the moment."
Jan Tops, LGCT Founder and President: "In your home town to get this result it is what everyone hopes for. Sweden has strong combinations - not only this year but next year for the Olympics Sweden has a strong team and they confirmed this form again. We started in 2006 with 6 events, this year we have 20 events. We always wanted to come to Scandinavia because it has such a good fan base and it was amazing today. Daniel is still in the lead of the ranking but it’s getting close, Ben [Maher] is fourth, our winner form last year. I cannot say who is going to win this year - they are all fantastic. And it’s fantastic that Peder has qualified for the LGCT Super Grand Prix."
Jos Verlooy, 3rd place: "It felt like a long wait until they beat me. The crowd was amazing they made it really special. I was hoping to win but I am very happy, it’s not a shame to be behind these two and it is super for the crowd to have a Swedish one-two."
Malin Baryard-Johnsson, 2nd place: "I have had quite some week! Today was totally amazing. Jos had a perfect jump-off but that doesn’t always win it, you have to be crazy and do something risky and I took the risk and I was lucky today. When you have Peder after you on the fastest horse at the highest level you can’t compete. We have the same sponsor, same horse owner and have known each other for years. You have to be lucky but today it paid off. A rider is nothing without its horse we are very fortunate to have them."
Peder Fredricson, 1st place: "I saw Jos’ jump-off - I had the same plan as him and then I saw Malin's and it was really fast so I knew I had to do something risky. I went on 9 strides to the combination and H&M All In did it. He can shorten to get deep to the vertical and then lengthen and jump forward and still be clear. He is just an amazing horse. I didn’t want to be second! For sure there is a lot of pressure in one way but a great crowd can also help in another way. Normally Malin and I we don’t sit like this [next to each other in a winning press conference] and it’s because of the home crowd. I am really happy I qualified for Prague and I would like to thank the organisation for this show and all the riders for making it so special."