Why Steve Guerdat is the King of the World Cup Finals
Steve Guerdat. Photo by SportFot
After two straight years of cancellations, the long-awaited Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals return in Leipzig, Germany, April 6-10.
And while it’s been more than 24 months, no one has forgotten: It’s Steve Guerdat’s (SUI) title to lose.
The defending champion has not only won this event on three previous occasions, but he has also been the World Cup Champion in three of the last five years—with three different horses. Should Guerdat win in Leipzig, he would become the first rider in history to hoist the World Cup Finals trophy four times.
What has made Guerdat the king of the World Cup Finals? Let’s dig deeper:
Guerdat has made 13 World Cup Finals appearances since 2005. In those appearances, he has finished outside the top 10 just once. That was in 2010—the only year that he brought two horses to the event. His average finish position, remarkably, is 5.
Guerdat won his World Cup titles with Albfuehren’s Paille (2015), Corbinian (2016) and Alamo (2019). However, the great Nino des Buissonnets also stands out in his impressive Finals record. The Selle Francais gelding, who earned Guerdat his individual Olympic title in 2012, never won a World Cup Finals, but he finished second on two occasions, both times losing in jump-offs for gold.
Let that sink in for a moment. Guerdat has led or shared the lead at the end of the World Cup Finals on five occasions. Only jump-offs—and two American riders— kept him from two additional Finals victories.
In the last five years, Guerdat has averaged just 4.4 faults at the World Cup Finals. Since 2012, that average is 5.3 faults.
What about the rider coming into these Finals with the greatest momentum? Look no further than Conor Swail (IRE), who enters his first ever Finals appearance off the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League title, having won three of the eight qualifying events—Vancouver, Sacramento and Fort Worth.
Swail jumped in just two other qualifiers and only once lost a jump-off, when he was fourth, still with a double-clear effort, in the season finale at Live Oak. In his only other World Cup—at Las Vegas—he had a rail at the final fence of the first round. Yes, in five World Cup events, along with four jump-offs, Conor Swail has had just one rail this season. This undoubtedly is part of the reason why Swail is currently ranked a career-best fifth in the World on the prestigious Longines Jumping Rankings—16 places higher than Guerdat, a former World No. 1.
Thirty-six athletes representing 19 nations will converge at the 2022 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals. Make your fantasy selections at Prixview.com/fantasy.