Equestrian - Schwizer claims Swiss leg of World Cup qualifying

Switzerland's Pius Schwizer looks set for a place at the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in April after recording a fine victory in the eighth leg of the Western European League qualifying series in Zurich.

Equestrian - Schwizer claims Swiss leg of World Cup qualifying

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Switzerland's Pius Schwizer

The 51-year-old delighted the home contingent with a brilliant effort from his nine-year-old horse, Toulago in the latter stages of the competition. Belgium-based British rider Joe Clee with the talented Diablesse de Muze claimed the runners-up prize, while World Cup Jumping champion, Christian Ahlmann from Germany with Aragon Z slotted into third.

A total of nine went through to the jump-off against the clock, and few could have expected that two riders currently placed well down the Longines rankings would give some of the sport's biggest stars a real run for their money.

Yorkshire-born Clee is ranked 112, but increased the pressure in the competition with a fabulous clear round on Diablesse de Muze, setting the first meaningful target in a time of 34.79 seconds.

However Schwizer and Toulago clinched the day's honours with an outstanding round when third-last to go with a time of 34.65. Ahlmann's slightly cautious approach on Aragon Z saw them finish behind Clee in third in 35.46.

Despite lying 345 on the latest Longines rankings table, South Africa's Oliver Lazarus secured fourth place aboard Pour le Passage. Switzerland's Jane Richard Philips on Pablo de Virton took fifth in the final analysis, while Patrice Delaveau and Lacrimoso HDC from France - winners last time out in Leipzig, Germany - had to settle for eighth.

Talking about his winning ride, Schwizer said: “I tried the horse for the first time on the Saturday morning of CSIO St Gallen last year and it has been a success ever since. We finished second in the Grand Prix at Humlikon, and 10th in the Global Champions Tour legs at Valkenswaard and Lausanne, so 2013 was a great year for us."

Schwizer has a fantastic record in the World Cup series, and this result moves him up to eighth place on the Western European League from which the top 18 will qualify for the final at Lyon, France in April. With the last two legs coming up in Bordeaux February 9 in Gothenburg two weeks later, many more of the top riders are still chasing down those elusive qualifying points to make the cut. Clee now lies in that top 18 - currently sitting 14th on 28 points, but still has more to do to hold his position.


1. Toulago (Pius Schwizer) SUI 34.65

2. Diablesse de Muze (Joe Clee) GBR 34.79

3. Aragon Z (Christian Ahlmann) GER 35.46

4. Pour le Poussage (Oliver Lazarus) RSA 34.47

5. Pablo de Virton (Jane Richard Philips) SUI 35.34

6. Estoy Aqui de Muze HDC (K Staut) FRA 35.87

7. Castlefield Eclipse (Paul Estermann) SUI 38.38

8. Lacrimoso 3 HDC (Patrice Delaveau) FRA 33.17

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