A smooth run in the first leg of the Longines FEI world cup final 2017 earned victory for the USA’s McLain Ward and the scopey Thunder van de Zuuthoeve mare HH Azur – but only by a whisker.
According to McLain, the course didn’t leave a lot of options.
“It was big enough for the first night! In reality, there was just a whisker between the top three, I was very fortunate,” he said.
Germany’s Henrik von Eckermann lined up in second on Mary Lou just 0.31 sec behind, a small error between the second and third fences taking the extra time.“It should have been seven strides and I took eight, that was the whisker,” said Henrik.
Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, who is aiming for his third consecutive title, claimed third after a thrilling ride on the fiery mare Bianca, 0.48 sec behind Henrik.
With the first leg now turned into points, McLain has a two point advantage over Henrik with Steve a further one point adrift as they go into Friday night’s second leg.
Photo © FEI