Italian star Emanuele Gaudiano is feeling like a lucky man despite the frustration of missing out on his first-ever appearance at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final.
Gaudiano had a fabulous indoor season, with a string of solid performances on the improving Chalou guaranteeing his place in Las Vegas as early as December. However, his dream of taking part in the final for the first time at 33 years old was not to be after the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
While he has been based in Germany for 15 years, Gaudiano has been keeping in close contact with friends and family back home in his native Italy as that country endures such a dreadful time. “It puts things into perspective,” Gaudiano told FEI.org. “Obviously the main thing we are all thinking about is those that we love and those affected in Italy and around the world.”
“I got an email from the Italian federation which told me the final would not be taking place. Of course, it’s the first time that I qualified and it’s a shame not to be there, but we have a big problem in the world.
“I guess I was expecting it would be cancelled in the end. An event was called off in Hong Kong some time ago and there were some doubts about events in North America quite a few weeks back now. The situation just seemed to get more critical week by week. The Dutch Masters was then called off when my horses were already travelling over there, and then, of course, the US closed flights from Europe.”
“It was a good season for me,” he said. “I did well in Verona early on, which was so good for me as I love competing in front of the Italian fans. La Coruña was my best result and that’s becoming a good event for me as I did well there two years in a row.
“The World Cup season was good for me as I was disappointed that we missed out on an Olympic place with the Italian national team. I was determined to qualify as an Individual and very happy to achieve that.”
Having not finished in the top 30 in the Western European League since 2015-16, Gaudiano put his improvement in the most recent season to the improvement shown by Chalou, his 11-year-old chestnut stallion.
While Chalou has become his No.1 horse, he may well have called on an old friend for Las Vegas. Caspar – his partner at Rio 2016 – is now 14 but was being lined up for a trip to the US before the event was cancelled.
“I’m very pleased with all my horses,” Gaudiano said. “Carlotta has done well, and I still have Caspar. I probably wouldn’t have taken Chalou to Las Vegas as the arena there is too small for him.
"Furthermore Chalou had also started competing in outdoors shows as we started to prepare for the Olympics, and I didn’t really want to take him back indoors.
"I'm lucky to have some good horses and I'm really positive about how things are going with them."