He was last to go, both in the first round of the Verona Rolex FEI World Cupâ„¢ competion and in the jump off, but in the prize giving ceremony, Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst was first to be congratulated. Verona was a dream coming true for this very experienced rider from Germany and his mount, one of the best show jumpers in the world. For some reason they never won a FEI World Cupâ„¢ qualifier before, although they both know the way to the final. In a three rider jump off, Pollmann-Schweckhorst only had to bring his horse safely home, after Omar Bonomelli, obviously the big favourite of the Verona crowd, and Steve Guerdat, each made a mistake.For a long time it looked as though Omar Bonomelli would be the only rider capable of dealing with all the technical and physical challenges of Giovanni Bussuâ€™s difficult, yet fair design. It was a truly magnificent clear round of local hero Bonomelli. His superbly trained horse Quintero made all distances â€“ both long and short â€“ look absolutely normal. Whereas others had problems attacking the big Liverpool oxer number 7, consecutively approaching the delicate high vertical number 8 in five strides. Or doing the very long three strides to oxer number 7, placed in a corner, or doing the short four to the SNAI oxer number 10.Omarâ€™s wive Jonella Ligresti-Bonomelli was one of the â€˜victimsâ€™ of Giovanni Bussuâ€™s clever course designing. Her scopy stallion Toulon made a huge jump over the 1.53-1.70 oxer number 11, which was the beginning of the line towards the double. Toulon was a little close and a little flat taking off for the first element of the double combination, which resulted in a rail down. Jonella Ligresti was the only rider having time problems, but her 5 faults was not a bad result in this tough competition. Her Belgian bred and BWP approved stallion, a former prize winner under the saddle of Hubert Bourdy, jumped superbly with the small lady rider from Italy.Then Steve Guerdat entered the arena, with the winning feeling of Lyon, one week before, still in mind. Tresor V, his Lyon winner, was in the stable getting a rest, Jalisca Solier was strong and fit and cleared the fences with an ease resembling Quintero. The crowd didnâ€™t know how to react. At last, after 27 combinations a jump off was ensured, but at the expense of their compatriot Bonomelli.Last rider to go Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst proved that Giovanni Bussuâ€™s design was far from unjumpable. It became clear that some of the four faulters, like Edwina Alexander, Giuseppe dâ€™Onofrio and SÃ¶ren Pedersen had just been unlucky missing the jump off due to a silly mistake. Pedersen and dâ€™Onofrio must have been pleased with their round in Verona, as they added some valuable Word Cup points to their competition result so far.It doesnâ€™t matter how much experience international top riders have, they never get used to winning. Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst was even more excited as he never won a FEI World Cupâ„¢ qualifier before aboard Lord Luis. â€œI was lucky to be the last to go in the jump offâ€, said Pollmann-Schweckhorst. â€œIt took not more than ten minutes, between my first round and my jump off round. Lord Luis jumped fantastic, he was not tired at all. On the contrary, he was still very much concentrated and eager to go.â€â€œI also was a bit lucky that Steve Guerdat made the mistake in the jump-off. Lord Luis is a super horse with a lot of scope, but he certainly is not faster than Jalisca Solier. I would have had a hard time beating Steveâ€™s time.â€This was Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorstâ€™s first qualifier in the Rolex FEI World Cupâ„¢ competition. â€œI havenâ€™t made a note yet in my agenda for the final in Las Vegas. Iâ€™ve been there twice, would love to go for the third time, but April is still a long way. If I would win another 20 World Cup points, that would bring me in a favourable position!â€Steve Guerdatâ€™s plan fell to pieces after the second jump of the jump off. â€œI know my horse, sheâ€™s naturally fast, for sure faster that Lord Luisâ€, commented Steve Guerdat. â€œAfter Omar made his mistake I knew I only needed a clear round without being stupid racing for an incredible time. I didnâ€™t need that to put the pressure on Alois. But my mare hit the last pole of the second oxer. Yet Iâ€™m very happy with her, this was her first big class after the Olympics. Alois deserved to win, in two rounds his horse didnâ€™t touch one rail. ThatÂ´s our sport, you canÂ´t win if the other guy stays clear.â€Things are working out really well for Steve Guerdat. He won the 5* Grand Prix of Lyon last week, riding is other top horse Tresor V. â€œFor the short term my aim is to qualify for the top 10 in Brussels. I was 12th on the world ranking last week, so I should be able to make it. And for sure for next year Las Vegas is on the top of my list!â€The man who is on top of the list for this moment is an Italian by the name of Omar Bonomelli. Doing well in all three of the Rolex FEI World Cupâ„¢ qualifiers, Bonomelli has gathered 25 points and leads the race towards the final in Las Vegas. â€œLast year I missed the final at only one point, this is not going to happen again if I can prevent itâ€, said Bonomelli.The big favourite of the Italian crowd impressed once more with his riding and could have won the 8th FEI World Cupâ„¢ qualifier in Verona, if his fans in the audience wouldnâ€™t have misjudged the jump off course. â€œAfter the double combination the people thought the ride was over and made some noiseâ€, explained Bonomelli. â€œBut I still had fence 15 to go. My horse lost concentration, started to buck and we had the fence down. But it was exciting to do so well in front of my home crowd. The Italian people are very friendly to their own riders, they really would have loved to see me win. Maybe some other time!â€Result Rolex FEI World Cupâ„¢ competition in Verona:1) Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst (GER), Lord Luis, 0-0/56.04sec.2) Steve Guerdat (SWI), Jalisca Solier, 0-4/46.54 sec.3) Omar Bonomelli (IT), Quintero, 0-4/48.72 sec.Not in the jump off:4) SÃ¶ren Pedersen (DEN), Lobster, 4/70.05 sec.5) Ludo Phillipaerts (BEL), Cavalor Winningmood, 4/70.91 sec.6) Robert Smith (GBR), Vangelis S, 4/71.12 sec.7) Edwina Alexander (AUS), Isovlas Ithot du ChÃ¢teau, 4/72.00 sec.8) Roger Yves Bost (F), Ideal de la Loge, 4/72.24 sec.9) Giuseppe dâ€™Onofrio (IT), Landzeus, 4/72.39 sec.10) Daniel Etter (SWI), Peu a Peu, 4/72.54 sec.Rolex FEI World Cupâ„¢ points in Verona:Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst 20Steve Guerdat 17Omar Bonomelli 15SÃ¶ren Pedersen 13Ludo Phillipaerts 12Robert Smith 11Edwina Alexander 10Roger Yves Bost 9Giuseppe dâ€™Onofrio 8Daniel Etter 7Marcus Ehning 6Michael Whitaker 5Ludger Beerbaum 4Marco Kutscher 3Pilar Cordon 2Albert Zoer 1Standings after three Rolex FEI World Cupâ„¢ competitions:1) Omar Bonomelli 252) Daniel Etter 223) Ludo Phillipaerts 214) Geir Gulliksen 215) Gerco SchrÃ¶der,eq. 6) Rutherford Latham,eq. 6) Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst 208) Nicolas Delmotte 20Further details are available on www.feiworldcup.org Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! 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