American showjumper Karl Cook (26), whose girlfriend Kaley Cuoco from “The Big Bang Theory” is also a keen equestrian, drew plenty of belly-laughs himself during the draw for the starting order at the FEI World Cup™ Finals 2017 in Omaha, Nebraska (USA) tonight. At the event staged in the theatre of the city’s Henry Doorly Zoo, and assisted by fellow-American and 2008 Olympic team gold medallist Laura Kraut (51), Cook also managed to give himself the perfect position on tomorrow’s starting grid as last to go of the 37 battling for the coveted Longines Jumping title.
Kraut pointed out however this will be a tough one to take. “Winning it is always difficult, and we’ve got so many of the best riders in the world here” she said. Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat will bid to become only the fifth three-time champion in the 39-year history of the prestigious series when 32nd to go.
The FEI World Cup™ Dressage draw was lively too, with Britain’s Carl Hester tipping Germany’s Isabell Werth (45) for top spot in the field of 16 crack contenders. And with the most medalled rider in the history of equestrian sport drawn in the prime last-to-go spot, Werth is clearly going to be a tough nut to crack.
She will ride into the arena tomorrow just after America’s Laura Graves who finished fourth at the Rio Olympics and who is carrying the hopes and dreams of US fans. But Hester’s co-host, Judy Reynolds (35), wasn’t going to be intimidated by all that tonight. When asked who she thought will be standing on the top step of the Dressage podium this weekend the Irish phenomenon gave a big cheeky grin and replied - “Me!”
Starting order for Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017 Final, competition 1 here
Starting order for FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017 Final Grand Prix here
Facts and Figures:
Defending champion Steve Guerdat (SUI) is going for his third consecutive Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping title in Omaha (USA).
The first FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final took place in Gothenburg (SWE) in 1979 where Austria’s Hugo Simon came out on top with Gladstone. Gothenburg has hosted the FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final on 14 occasions.
Paris (FRA) will host the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping and the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals in 2018.
Four riders have claimed the FEI World Cup™ Jumping title on three occasions: Hugo Simon (AUT), Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Marcus Ehning (GER) and Rodrigo Pessoa from Brazil. Pessoa is the only rider to have won three back-to-back FEI World Cup™ Jumping titles on the same horse, the stallion Baloubet du Rouet.
The first FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final was held in ’s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands in 1986.
The first winner was Denmark’s Anne-Grethe Jensen riding Marzog.
The first time the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final visited the USA was in 1995 when it was staged in Los Angeles.
The first American rider to win the FEI World Cup™ Dressage title was Debbie McDonald with the mare Brentina in Gothenburg 2003. There have only been two US champions, Steffen Peters and Ravel reigning supreme in Las Vegas 1990.