Longines FEI World Cup China League Final Part I: Event Results

Longines FEI China League final: event report.

The China League of the Longines FEI World Cup for 2015 concluded in thrilling style at Beijing’s Chaoyang Park on October 6th. Leading up to the event, the China League was closely contested with several riders vying for top spot. Patrick Lam (HKG) held a narrow lead over Raena Leung (CHN), with John Zhuangzhuang Han (CHN) in third position.

Several international riders made the trip to China for this event. Olympic silver medalist and current team European Champion Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) arrived in Beijing as the defending champion from last year’s event. He claimed victory in 2014 riding the Dutch Warmblood Ziemar. Man of the moment and world number one Scott Brash (GBR) was also competing, having arrived in China at 5am local time on the day of the first qualifying class. Brash flew in from the USA, where only two days before he had finished second in the FEI 5* Los Angeles Masters event. Sydney Olympian Jerry Smit (ITA) was also in attendance as were competitors from Korea, Taiwan, Germany, and Belgium.

Qualifying event, October 6th

Van der Vleuten set the pace early, winning the qualifying event against the clock with a fast clear round 0.3 seconds ahead of Ciren Bianba (CHN) and Simon Buckley (GBR). Scott Brash overcame some serious jetlag and an unfamiliar horse to finish the qualifier with two fences down on the grey KWPN mare Wavanta. China League points leader Patrick Lam was sixth with a slower clear round while Raena Leung was not on top form with eight penalties.

Main event, October 7th

Wednesday’s final competition offered prizemoney of 240 000 Yen (equivalent to 30 000 Euros). A difficult jumping course produced only two clear rounds: local 2008 Olympian and 2014 China League winner Zhao ‘Daniel‘ Zhiwen (CHN) riding the 14yo gelding Bolero and Liu Tongyan (CHN) riding the 12yo mare KuBu Qi.

Zhiwen rode first in the jump-off to finish with a fast time of 42.96 seconds. Tongyan had the more advantageous position riding last, but he sensibly retired his horse midway through the jumpoff when he realized he would not be able to beat Zhiwen’s time.

Zhiwen was clearly on form for this competition, also finishing fourth on his second ride Fancyface. Fellow Chinese rider Ciren Bianba also continued his success from the qualifying event to finish fifth.

L to R: Scott Brash (GBR) and Daniel Zhiwen (CHN). Photos by Baker Equine Photos and Sasse & Schockemohle.