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Goteborg is Jessica Kurten Show with Grand Prix Victory, USA's Peter Wylde Close Again

GOTEBORG, Sweden, April 26--The World Cup Final took on the appearance of the Jessica Kuerten show Saturday when she claimed victory in the Goteborg Trophy the day before she seeks to become the first Irish rider to win the annual global title.

Showing the same speed demon success that has her atop the World Cup Final standings with Castle Forbes Libertina after two of three rounds, Kurten raced Quibell through the seven-horse jumpoff to claim the first place purse of $29,000. The results do not count toward the World Cup.

Germany's Ludger Beerbaum on his two-time Olympic mount Goldfever finished second, one-third of a second behind the Irish pair's time of 34.78 secs.

Peter Wylde of the USA's 2004 Olympic gold medal team was third on Louisburg Farm's Campino, a further 0.48 secs. back and collected $17,500.

Wylde, 42, a Massachusetts native who lives in the Netherlands, is in third place on the leaderboard with Esplanade 7, also owned by Louisburg Farm, for Sunday's final of the 30th World Cup Final that had its inaugural event in this stadium.

Sandwiched between Kurten and Wylde in second place in the World Cup Final standings is fellow American Rich Fellers, 49, of Wilsonville, Ore. and Flexibile. The pair was not one of the 34 combinations starters Saturday.

Three of the other four Americans in the Goteborg Trophy were in a group of 13 four-fault rounds.

Lauren Hough, 30, of Wellington and Casadora, owned by Laura Mateo, finished 10th, just out of the money, Danielle Torano, 34, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. on her Marlo, was 14th and Richard Spooner, 37, of Agua Dulce, Calif. on Ace owned by S & B, LLC was 19th.

Margie Engle, 50, of Wellington, on Hidden Creek's Quervo Gold, incurred eight faults and placed 23rd.

Sunday's World Cup Final has been whittled down to 24 horse and rider combinations from 10 nations, including nine of the 10 U.S. riders that made up the squad from the East and West Coast Leagues.

Although the USA dominated the World Cup Final in its early years and still has the most victories at seven, no American has held up the trophy since Katharine Burdsall aboard The Natural in 1987.

After Fellers in 2nd place and Wylde in third, Hough and Quick Study are 11th, Kent Farrington, 27, also of Wellington and Up Chiqui 13th, Spooner and Cristallo and Mandy Porter, 42, of Encinitas, Calif. on Summer in a three-way tie at 19th, Brianne Goutal, 19, of New York and Onira 22nd, Torano and Vancouver d'Auvrey in a two-way tie at 23rd and Todd Minikus, 45, also of Wellington on Olinda 25th.

No one doubts the competition will be tough.

Among other the starters just a single rail from the leader are California-born Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum of Germany on Shutterfly that won the World Cup Final in 2005, brother-in-law and 1993 winner Ludger Beerbaum on All Inclusive and last year's victorious pair, Switzerland's Beat Mandli on Ideo du Thot.

Photo: The USA's Rich Fellers on Flexible in the second round of the World Cup Final that moved him up to second place going into Sunday's championship. Photo: Kit Houghton/FEI


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