Ecstatic Swedish fans celebrated late into the night as home star Peder Fredricson pulled off an epic fairytale win at the debut LGCT Grand Prix of Stockholm against compatriot Malin Baryard-Johnsson.
In a nail-biting climax to the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Stockholm Peder and H&M All In took the crowd’s breath away with a sensational jump off in the City’s stunning and historic Olympic Stadium. Malin and H&M Indiana finished in second place with Belgium’s Jos Verlooy in third with Caracas.
Peder is now qualified for the LGCT Super Grand Prix at the GC Playoffs in Prague in November and rocketed up the overall LGCT ranking to third place behind Daniel Deusser and Pieter Devos. He said: “I am really happy I have qualified for Prague it is a great show.“
Emotional after his extraordinary win Peder admitted: “Today feels like the biggest one (win). I am so, so happy, it is a great feeling winning in front of this home crowd in Sweden. It is the best crowd in the world – thank you for coming here today. I am really happy we have another great show in Sweden and I am really grateful for this.”
As the Swedish national anthem played out on a warm balmy evening, the ice cool show jumping supremo sang along with the crowd and a beautiful choir before the lap of honour which was overflowing with patriotic pride.
It was an exceptional night in front of a sell-out crowd in Sweden’s beautiful capital city under a full moon as the world’s best riders and horses went into combat in the Olympic Stadium where stars like Ludger Beerbaum competed 30 years ago and the Olympic Games were staged in 1912.
It was the LGCT circuit’s first-ever event in Sweden and in Scandinavia and today’s LGCT Grand Prix was a Hollywood script writer’s dream.
Young Belgian Jos Verlooy and Caracas set the pace rolling back efficiently to the Stadium upright and spot on into the Longines combination before slicing the blue Stockholm City fence and galloping to the finish to stop the clock in 36.82.
In front of a full house Leopold van Asten (NED) took seven strides to the VW oxer and was tighter to the Stadium vertical but despite pushing hard to the finish he was slower in 37.33.
Speed ace Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) riding Ensor de Litrange LXII was brave from the start but fell out of contention with four faults at the VW oxer.
Michael G Duffy (IRE) and Lapuccino were not fast enough despite six strides to the VW oxer by the big striding grey finishing in 38.58.
Verlooy watching rider after rider fail to beat his time including Great Britain’s Ben Maher who was slower in 37.91 and Belgium’s Wilm Vermeir who had the penultimate vertical down for four faults.
Three-time LGCT Grand Prix winner Marco Kutscher was faster at the split time mid course but his hopes were dashed when he knocked the penultimate vertical for four faults.
Young Dutchman Frank Schuttert and Lyonel D set off at a lightning pace and although they were slower in the mid section of the course they made up time and stopped the clock in 36.90 a fraction behind Verlooy who puffed out his cheeks in relief.
The atmosphere was electric ahead of the final two riders Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Peder Fredricson.
Malin and H&M Indiana, one of the leading horses on the circuit, were instantly fast and ahead at the Stadium fence. It was stunning jumping as the quick but careful mare went in front at the split time by a second. There was an unbridled explosion of joy as Malin and H&M Indiana jumped into the lead in 35.36. Malin punched the air and the stadium was buzzing.
It was down to the wire in Sweden and the gloves were off as Peder Fredricson and H&M All In entered the stadium arena looking formidable.
Spectators held their breath and there was a deafening silence as Peder and H&M All In were ahead by more than half a second at the mid point. The extraordinary combination sliced the blue Stockholm City fence at an amazing angle edging further ahead. The power over the final fences was breathtaking as they flew over the last to triumph in a blistering 33.95.
The crowd were on their feet in a frenzy of delight. Peder blew a triumphant kiss to the fans and made a victory salute.
It was a Swedish one two for Peder and Malin and the super-talented H&M horses. A perfect ending to the inaugural LGCT of Stockholm.
Peder Fredricson, 1st place: „I saw Jos’ jump-off – I had the same plan as him and then I saw Malin’s and it was really fast so I knew I had to do something risky. I went on 9 strides to the combination and H&M All In did it. He can shorten to get deep to the vertical and then lengthen and jump forward and still be clear. He is just an amazing horse. I didn’t want to be second! For sure there is a lot of pressure in one way but a great crowd can also help in another way. Normally Malin and I we don’t sit like this [next to each other in a winning press conference] and it’s because of the home crowd. I am really happy I qualified for Prague and I would like to thank the organisation for this show and all the riders for making it so special.“