Patrik Kittel has eight times contested the FEI Dressage World Cup Finals.

Eight times, since 2010, he’s finished in the top 10 and with five different horses. Twice, he just missed the podium. Kittel was fourth at the 2016 World Cup Final in Göteborg on Watermill Scandic and again in the 2018 Paris Final aboard Deja.

This year, he returned with a new World Cup partner in Touchdown and, on his ninth try, scored a “touchdown” 14 years in the making.

In Wednesday’s Grand Prix, Kittel was second on a score of 73.292 behind Lottie Fry (GBR) and Everdale. It was his then best World Cup finish.

“I’ve done a lot of Finals but I’ve never been second!” said Kittel after. “I’m a bit surprised because I thought OK you know The Queen (Isabell Werth) is coming. But then I saw she had some mistakes, which is a bit unusual for her, and then I got a message that I was second and, of course, I was happy about that!”

On Thursday, he did one better. When Fry and Everdale were eliminated before the competition after blood was spotted in the horse’s mouth, Kittel’s mission switched gears from trying to overtake the lead to maintaining it.

And he delivered. Aboard the 12-year-old Swedish warmblood (Quarterback x Sack) and performing to new James Bond themed music, he danced to an 81.661 score, finishing just ahead of Denmark’s Nanna Skodborg Merrald and Blue Hors Don Olymbrio (81.429). German living legend Werth and DSP Quantaz took third on 81.404.

It was first time Kittel has been last into the ring at a major event and said it was a lonely feeling in the warm-up beforehand.

“I think this moment is something I will never forget!” he said. 

“Touchdown just flew with me today. I had to try to control my nerves all day but he was just unbelievable! The power and the fighting spirit that he showed for me is the biggest win. The winning of the show is unbelievable but to go in with so much atmosphere—before I came in the audience was going crazy—but he just stayed with me and I cannot thank him enough!”

Kittel is the second Swede in history to win the World Cup Final. He watched his trainer, Louise Nathhorst, accomplish the feat 24 years prior in Gothenburg. 

“I cannot believe it—seriously! My trainer Louise (Nathhorst) won it the first time for Sweden and I’ve won it for Sweden again. I just want to thank everyone for supporting us—I’m very overwhelmed!”