Site icon Horse Network

Leone Jei Has Big, Grey Shoes to Fill (and He Is)

Longines League of Nations™ 2024 - Ocala USA FUCHS Martin from Switzerland rides Leone Jei during Longines League of Nations in Ocala USA on 23 March 2024 ©FEI/ Richard Juilliart

Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei started the month of March out with a coveted fourth place finish in the Rolex Grand Prix at the Dutch Masters in ‘s-Hertogenbosch

A few weeks and one, expansive ocean later, they ended it in the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida.

There, the Swiss rider likely had a singular goal in mind: a double-clear performance in the Longines League of Nations Ocala. And, like so many things Martin Fuchs puts his mind and a plan to, it was a case of mission accomplished—and then some.

Not only did he and Leone Jei jump 0/0 for Switzerland on Sunday, on Thursday, March 21, they also took the win in the $330,000 CSIO 5* 1.60m Lugano Grand Prix. Despite a star-studded field that included combinations such as world #3 Steve Guerdat and Albfuehren’s Iashin Sitte, Laura Kraut and Baloutinue, and Darragh Kenny and VDL Cartello, Fuchs and the 12-year-old KWPN gelding proved yet again that they are the pair to beat.

Fuchs has said you can’t compare Leone Jei to his other grey wonder, Clooney 51, calling the latter “the most successful horse in the history of Swiss show jumping.” But it’s clear that his newest grey phenom is no one’s idea of a placeholder.

If Leone Jei is a placeholder, he’s a very, very good one.

In their five years together, the pair have 21 climbed podiums and earned 12 wins, including team gold and individual silver at the 2021 European Championships. They’re also one of the rare combinations to take home not one but two Rolex Grands Prix in the span of a year, winning Dinard in July of 2022  and Geneva in December of 2021.

Last September, Fuchs made another one of his trademark jet-sets across the pond to ride to victory in the CSIO5* CPCK International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows and—lest we forget—take that now-famous photo over the CPKC oxer.

So is there really no comparison between Fuchs’s Westphalian gelding, Clooney 51, and Leone Jei? It depends on the Jumpr stats you consider.

In 2023, Leone Jei’s 11-year-old season, the gelding averaged just 2.88 faults in 24 rounds at 1.60m, jumping clear at 46% and finishing in the top-10 53% of the time. During Clooney’s 11-year-old season back in 2017, he averaged fewer faults—2.32 in 31 rounds at 1.60m—and jumped clear at 52% and finishing in the top-10 59% of the time.  

Leone Jei, however, already has the edge when it comes to prize money: sitting at #8 on the all-time list of horse rankings by winnings, he’s earned €2,661,969 compared to Clooney 51’s €2,320,882 at #9.

What’s more: Clooney competed in his final Olympic Games at 15 years of age and won multiple classes, including the Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva and individual gold at the European Championships in 2019, at the age of 13.

Could these next few seasons aboard Leone Jei take even Martin Fuchs by surprise? Stay tuned!

Exit mobile version