The FEI World Cup in Leipzig…

Gerco Schroder and the lovely stallion London

Gerco Schroder and the lovely stallion London

 

Christian Ahlmann wins the 9th leg of the FEI World Cup in Leipzig (GER)…

Christian and Taloubet Z

Christian and Taloubet Z

Well, the enthusiastic German crowd certainly got quite a show yesterday for the 9th leg of the Western European World Cup series held in Eastern Germany. The world number one ranking rider proved his worth yet again when he finished first, ahead of a very competitive field in Leipzig. A total of 40 top-combinations consumed the start list, with nine of the top ten riders in the World Rankings in attendance. The only top-ten ranked rider not in attendance was Nick Skelton, so with the likes of Pius Schwizer, Steve Guerdat, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, Edwina Tops-Alexander and Kevin Staut warming up, we knew it would be a tight competition from start to finish.

Olivier Philippaerts (BEL)

Olivier Philippaerts (BEL)

Belgium’s much-talked about Olivier Philippaerts was first in the ring with his grey stallion Cabrio van de Heffinck. The proven combination made the technical track look very smooth, coming out with only 4 faults. Their single fence fault “was more of a reflection of his growing partnership with Cabrio van de Heffinck than an indication of the difficulty of the track” said Louise Parkes of FEI. Cabrio’s scopey stride and elastic nature proved well suited for the track, so any rider’s looking for an early giveaway on the course’s difficulties would have to wait a little longer.

The first clear came with Sweden’s Jens Fredricson aboard the aptly-named Lunatic and shortly after, seventh on the start list, 24 year old Dutch Silver medalist Maikel van der Vlueten would also join the list for the jump off with his Olympic stallion VDL Groep Verdi. Maikel attacked the course head on, with the same confidence this young superstar shows at every event. In case you didn’t know, Maikel was the youngest rider to grace the Olympic podium last summer in London. You wouldn’t guess the young Dutchman is as young as he is, when speaking to him he displays a clear and quite-confidence that exudes older years and yet, Maikel will turn only 25 years old next month.

Marcus Ehning and Plot Blue, who was the oldest horse of the competition at 16 years young, jumped an exceptional round for the home crowd but had an unfortunate 4 faults. Next in for Sweden, was Malin Baryard-Johnsson with the adorable H&M Tornesch. A frustrating time fault would keep this competitive duo from joining the jump off. The same fate would wait for Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and the talented Bella Donna, who also jumped a picture perfect round but suffered a single time fault at the end.

Luciana Diniz (POR) and Lennox

Luciana Diniz (POR) and Lennox

Luciana Diniz and Lennox, winners of last week’s first CSI5* event of the year, executed a strong clear for Portugal while Edwina Tops-Alexander and her 9 year old Belgian-bred gelding Ego van Orti gave the 1.60 track plenty of room. I know Edwina would have been very happy with that round, mentioning before the course walk, that she had hoped to jump Ego a bit more during the 4 days in Leipzig as to manage the young gelding’s blood but alas, the combination tackled the track very well. Serving up yet another top World Cup finish for the leading lady rider.

After Edwina and Ego, clear rounds followed in quick succession with Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer, Germany’s Christian Ahlmann, Dutchman Marc Houtzager, Ireland’s Denis Lynch, Dutchman Gerco Schroder and France’s Kevin Staut.

Pius Schwizer was faster with 40.56 seconds

Pius Schwizer was faster with 40.56 seconds

With the Western European series moving into the final stages, all but three further qualifiers remains, the battle for a qualifying spot at the Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April is intensifying with every round and yesterday was no exception. With a ten horse jump-off, the Leipzig World Cup winner would have to fight for the title.

A hopeful Jens Fredricson and Lunatic started things off for Sweden, as the first combination in the jump off. Fredricson made it all the way to the third element of the former triple combination before earning a fault. Dutchman Maikel van der Vleuten was only one fence from home when VDL Groep Verdi gave it a slight rub. Unfortunately for Portugal’s Luciana Diniz, Lennox touched two rails to earn a score of 8 faults, leaving everything wide open for the remaining seven riders.

Edwina, winner of the sixth leg in Geneva with the lovely Itot du Chateau, issued out the first fault free round with a moderate time of 41.21 seconds. Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer followed suit, picking up the pace only slightly, with a time of 40.56 seconds.

Christian Ahlmann, currently ranked number one in the world, made a breath-taking turn to fence three that gave Taloubet Z only two strides on approach. The number one ranked rider, who was not fashioning his Rolex armband, attacked the course from start to finish. Taloubet Z, ears forward, handled the pace with ease, stopping the clock at an amazing 36.45 seconds. The time was sure to put the pressure on the remaining four riders. Would Christian win for a second year in a row?

Marc Houtzager and Tamino Z, winners of the World Cup event in London Olympia before Christmas, had two down while Ireland’s Denis Lynch and Abbervail van het Dingeshof handled the quick pace well. Denis’ time was strong enough to put him into second place, despite being more than two seconds off the pace with his big bodied gelding.

Marc’s Olympic team mate Gerco Schroder was also clear but slightly cautious with a time of 39.53 seconds with his kind-hearted stallion London. Last to go was Frenchman Kevin Staut, who is currently second on the World cup standings under Sergio Alvarez Moya.  The number one ranked Frenchman set his pace early, aboard his trusty grey mare, Silvana HDC.

Kevin was last to go but unfortunatley got dislodged at the 3rd fence

Kevin was last to go but unfortunately got dislodged at the 3rd fence

The mare, who crushed the opposition in the thrilling fifth leg at Stuttgart, Germany in November, was looking strong enough to catch Taloubet Z. Unfortunately, Kevin took a wide turn back to fence three and, arriving on awkward distance, Silvana reached out and paddled through the red poles before accidentally dislodging Kevin. Luckily, the Frenchman landed on his feet and made a quick but smooth exit. (Both horse and rider were fine).

It was all over! Christian had won for the home crowd of 9,000 spectators and ensured his second World Cup win in a row in Leipzig, Germany. A perfect way for Taloubet Z to end his winter season, the stallion now goes to stud for a few months, before returning to work later in the spring.

“For sure, he was in great shape today, he was amazing in the first round”, said Ahlmann. “He gave me such a super feeling, so I tried to take all the risks in the jump-off because of that. In Mechelen we were placed (10th) and I took him to Basel last week but we had a bad Grand Prix so it is great to finish the season in such good shape!” he added.

Referring to Taloubet’s extraordinary record of success at this show in Leipzig, Christian said “it’s a super, super show, everything is perfect for the riders and the horses and Taloubet always goes unbelievably well here!”  The world’s number one rider plans to compete at Zurich next Sunday, “I will probably ride Codex there” he pointed out, but he is unsure what horse he will take to the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April.  “Maybe Taloubet will be ready again, who knows, we will wait and see!” he concluded.

Well done Christian and his team for this wonderful win! See you in Zurich!

Results….

1, Taloubet Z (Christian Ahlmann) GER 0/0 35.45; 2, Abbervail van het Dingeshof (Denis Lynch) IRL 0/0 38.65; 3, London (Gerco Schroder) NED 0/0 39.53; 4, Picsou du Chene (Pius Schwizer) SUI 0/0 40.56; 5, Ego van Orti (Edwina Tops-Alexander) AUS 0/0 41.21; 6, Lunatic (Jens Fredricson) SWE 0/4 38.48; 7, VDL Groep Verdi (Maikel van der Vleuten) NED 0/4 39.29; 8, Sterrehof’s Tamino (Marc Houtzager) NED 0/8 38.92; 9, Lennox (Luciana Diniz) POR 0/8 40.34; 10, Silvana HDC (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/Elim.

 

Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping 2012/2013 – Standings after Round 9 at Leipzig (GER):

1. Sergio Alvarez Moya ESP  – 75

2. Kevin Staut FRA – 69

3. Pius Schwizer SUI – 59

4. Christian Ahlmann GER – 57

5. Jens Fredricson SWE – 48

6. Denis Lynch IRL – 41

7. Luciana Diniz POR – 41

8. Marcus Ehning GER – 40

9. Roger-Yves Bost FRA – 39

10. Malin Baryard-Johnsson SWE – 38

11.  Edwina Tops-Alexander AUS – 36

12. Jeroen Dubbeldam NED – 35

13. Marc Houtzager NED – 34

14. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum GER – 34

15. Maikel van der Vleuten NED – 33

16. Penelope Leprevost FRA – 33

17. Steve Guerdat SUI – 30

18. Gerco Schroder NED – 26

We say farewell to yet another international superstar….

Wonderboy III seen here with Syria's Ahmad Saber Hamcho on the Global Champions Tour

Wonderboy III seen here with Syria’s Ahmad Saber Hamcho on the Global Champions Tour

International all-star Wonderboy III has died suddenly this week while being ridden at home in Surrey, Great Britain. Less than four months after the 14-year-old grey gelding’s former rider, Georgie Crumley, bought him back, he collapsed while he was being ridden on Monday.

Wonderboy III and Ben Maher “No words can describe how much he meant to me or how much I miss him,” said Georgie. “Everyone who was ever lucky enough to meet him will understand what an amazing special horse he was.”

“The pain I am feeling now is unbearable, but I also feel truly blessed to have had such an amazing horse in my life — thank you to all the people that have made that possible — he was my horse of a lifetime and I loved every second I spent with him.”

The Flamenco De Semilly gelding was originally produced by Adam Cove before Georgie took over with great success in the Young Riders.

In 2008, the then nine-year-old Wonderboy was sold to Ben Maher and the Quainton Stud. Ben and Wonderboy also achieved great success, including the Rolex Grand Prix in Zurich and the Christmas Masters at Olympia.

In 2010, Syrian rider Ahmad Saber Hamcho took over the ride and together the pair competed at the 2012 Sumner Olympics in London, unfortunately going out in the second round. Ireland’s Denis Lynch bought the gelding in August in a part-exchange deal before Georgie and her husband Ryan ensured his return to their stables in September, after four years.

Source: Horse and Hound Magazine

Simon Delestre wins big in Mechelen…

simon delestre

Well all things for the five star international competition are well underway in Mechelen for this week’s World Cup event. It was a great start for France with Simon Delestre and Qlassic Bois Margot winning the Top sport Vlaanderen Grand Prix yesterday evening. In fact, it was the French Olympian who earned the first clear round of the 49 riders and it would be Simon again who, despite being the first to jump off, would win the first big task of this weeks’ event.

Only eight riders, out of the 49 who graced the start list, cleared the first round and qualified for the jump-off however . It was a course with its challenges. In particular, the triple combination at the end of the course, proved to be many rider’s undoing, including Gold medal combination Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos along with many others.

The start list was filled with promise, with top combinations that included Guy Williams and Titus, Jens Fredricson and Lunatic, Pius Schwizer and Verdi III, Hans-Dieter Dreher and Constantine, leading Belgian rider Gregory Wathelet and Citizenguard Cadjanine Z, Pilar Cordon and Coriana van Klapscheut, Penelope Leprevost and Nayana, as well as Laura Renwick and Oz de Breve. Naturally, Simon was the first to deliver a clear round, so he was the first to set a strong time with 37,56 seconds, which turned out to prove difficult to beat, keeping his lead throughout the jump-off.

Bosty was set to start with Nippon d’Elle next but alas he decided to withdraw, so instead the World Champion Philippe Le Jeune with Carlino STX would enter the ring for the home crowd. The infamous Belgian was disappointed however with 12 faults. Next out was previous world number one, Pius Schwizer with his bay gelding Verdi III. Verdi, who jumped incredibly well in the first round but had the second element of the final combination down as they sped to the finish.

This year’s Belgian champion, Jerome Guery with Upper Star was the second Belgian rider to qualify for jump-off and he pleased the home crowd when he landed in second place. However expectations rose as the speedy German rider, Hans-Dieter Dreher and the lovely Constantin B. Everyone’s expectations were well placed as the combination finished with a very fast time of 36,88 seconds, but four fault would stand between Hansy and first place.

denis lynch

My favorite performance of the evening was Denis Lynch and his big bodied bay stallion All Star. The 9 year old tackled the Grand Prix track with plenty of ease, jumping the second round with just as much scope as the first. The pair took over the third place with a clear round and a time of 39.31 seconds.

Japan’s very own Eiken Sato, riding for Stephex Stables, rode the young and relatively inexperienced mare Espyrante. The mare who has been performing better and better through out the season had an unfortunate 4 faults, thus finishing in fourth place.

Overall the track proved to be a tell-tale of what’s to come on Sunday. With plenty of talent to go around, Sunday’s 8th leg of the Western European World Cup league should prove to be eventful. Olympic gold medalist Steve Guerdat is in attendance as well as Scott Brash, all three Philippaerts men as well as the world’s leading rider at the moment, Christian Ahlmann.

Looking forward to Sunday!

Ireland’s Denis Lynch wins Swiss Accumulator…

Prix du Salève

International Jumping Competition FEI Art. 269

1 Vedor – KWPN
Gelding \ Bay \ 2002 \ Indoctro x Fedor
Denis  Lynch
J Hargreaves & A&L Hargreaves & K.Harvey
IRL
65 44.69
2 Castle Forbes Vivaldo vh Costersveld – BWP
Stallion \ Bay \ 1998 \ Clinton x Randel Z
Roger Yves  Bost
Lady Georgina Forbes
FRA
65 45.47
3 Loro Piana Lismeen Lancer – ISH
Gelding \ Bay \ 2002 \ Limmerick x Flagmount Diamond
Lucia  Vizzini
D&D Srl
ITA
65 46.80
4 Apache – SF
Gelding \ Bay \ 1999 \ Mescalaro
Richard  Spooner
Little Valley Farm
USA
65 46.96
5 Nenuphar’Jac – SF
Gelding \ Grey \ 2001 \ Cumano x Pidayack
Michel  Robert
J.& L. Grandchamp des Raux, E. Rocuet
FRA
65 48.11
6 LB Virility – KWPN
Gelding \ Bay \ 2002 \ Kojak x Catano
Christina  Liebherr
Hans Liebherr
SUI
65 48.96
7 Mira VIII – DWB
Mare \ \ 2004 \ Rockland x Leendert
Ole Kristoffer  Meland
Massco Limited IOM
NOR
65 50.48
8 Malou – SWB
Mare \ Grey \ 2004 \ Maloubet de Pleville x Carthago
Meredith  Michaels-Beerbaum
Octavia Farms LLC
GER
65 51.28
9 Newton du Haut Bois – SF
Gelding \ Bay \ 2001 \ Cumano x Quat’ Sous
Jan  Chrzanowski
Eleonore Paschoud, Yves Bouvier
POL
65 52.27
10 Luis Della Caccia – HOLST
Stallion \ Grey \ 2002 \ Lancer II x Corofino I
Arthur  Da Silva
Adolfo Juri
SUI
65 53.74
11 Nuage Bleu – SF
Gelding \ Chestnut \ 2001 \ Fildor de Largival x Odjak du Trens
Pilar Lucrecia  Cordon
Pilar Cordon
ESP
65 53.94
12 Cassinja – HOLST
Mare \ Bay \ 2005 \ Cassini I x Caletto I
Clarissa  Crotta
Stamm & Co.AG Management
SUI
65 54.48

Marc Houtzager wins the Gucci Grand Prix in Paris…

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Olympic silver was not enough for the very tall and very talented Marc Houtzager. The Dutchman, who was member of the 2012 Dutch Olympic team in London this summer with his gelding Sterrehof’s Tamino. Marc and Tamino just returned from the Global Champions Tour Final in Abnu Dhabi where the pair had a scary close call. Tamino, who was checked in with the GCT Mobile veterinary clinic with strong signs of collic, was actually able to jump a clear first round in the Global Champions Final on the final day in the United Arab Emirates. Clearly, the very tall Tamino is back in full swing.

Now the Dutch combo have moved on to win the 2012 Gucci Grand Prix today in Paris. But I can assure you it was no easy feat!! It was a very fast and competitive jump off with not an empty seat in the house. The French crowd were as passionate as ever, cheering every rider on, but it was a class that gave goose bumps from beginning to end. Many moments forcing gasps from onlookers as horses and riders were faced with Conrad Homfeld’s demanding thirteen fence track.

The class had onlookers in rapture from the onset, as first rider Marlon Zanotelli retired after having a refusal in the triple combination, while Jose Larocca fell off at the triple’s b-element and his horse Royal Power went flying off without the bridle. Fortunately, both the horse and rider were able to exit the ring under their own will. No one was badly injured. Those in the stands and ringside would have to wait through 7 more horse and rider combinations before they would witness the first clear round.

The first clear came from Swiss Miss Janika Sprunger. Janika produced a lovely clear round on her very own and very capable Palloubet D Hallong. It would take another eleven riders before the second clear round. A difficult line from a wide oxer leading with six strides to the Longines Double combination at 7a and b before it became more technical closer to the end of the course. With a huge Oxer out of the corner near the entrance followed by the line to the 12abc Triple combination. The triple combination; set oxer, vertical, oxer proved to be very difficult and one of the biggest challenges of today’s track.

8803_491433960896968_1244845507_nThe second clear came from Friday’s winner, Brazil’s very own Alvaro De Miranda, who produced a beautiful clear on AD Rahmannshof’s Bogeno. The 12 year old gelding jumped clean and easy, benefiting from Doda’s election to save the bay gelding from completing yesterday’s jump off challenge. One rider later Ireland’s Denis Lynch would jump clear, working hard through out the course to ensure Abbervail van het Dingeshof finished fault free.

More faults followed, with an unlucky final fence for the Global Champions Tour Season winner Edwina Tops-Alexander, who was clear until the final Oxer. Edwina was riding her aptly named Guccio, her striking black stallion. Marc Houtzager would follow the leading lady rider on his towering Tamino, and although the Dutch rider had a bit of a hairy moment at Fence 4, the round was superb and the pair crossed the finish line fault free.

Last year’s winner Penelope Leprevost on Mylord Carthago *HN, gave her home crowd something to cheer about, with an effortless and stylish clear round from the leggy French jockey. Eurocommerce London, happy to be back in the ring once again, navigated the track with ease, with Silver medalist Gerco Schröder.

Rather appropriately, the last clear of the day came from crowd favorite Roger Yves Bost, who joined the jump-off on the lovely Nippon d’Elle.

It was time for the jump-off and the arena was tense with knowing, that this jump off would be fast and tight with little room for error. Janika started things off and put pressure on the rest with a clear round on 42.24 seconds. The time was immediately beat by Brazil’s very own Alvaro de Miranda and Bogeno with a time of 41.37 seconds. Doda was sure to cut corners where he could, executing a difficult turn to the Oxer that would prove to be repeated. Denis navigated Abbervail’s huge canter, using the geldings scope and stride to his advantage, stopping the clock at 39.69.

Ireland would take over the lead from Brazil..but not for long!!

Marc Houtzager would follow, steering the grandeur gelding Tamino around the course with expert precision, earning a perfect turn to the Gucci vertical that was the sixth jump. His textbook attempt would prove to shave off 0.13 seconds from Denis’ time! It certainly looked as though the Dutchman would be the one to beat!!! Both Penelope and Gerco left nothing behind, but as they both came flying in to the final Oxer, it would be the back pole that slashed any hopes of victory.

However, last year’s winner would have the best time of the day! If it hadn’t been for her four faults, we would have seen Penelope Leprevost win for a second year in a row. As soon as Bosty had the third fence down, it was all over and Marc was congratulated by fellow friends and riders! The 41 year old Dutchman has had a great season with wins both in Rotterdam and success at the Olympics. Just another cherry to add to the sundae Marc, well done!!!

Gucci Grand Prix

Épreuve barême A avec barrage (1.60 m)
FEI – Art. 238.2.2 – CSI 5*

1. Sterrehof’s Tamino Houtzager, Marc NED 99,000 EUR 0 penalties 39.56 sec
jump-off
2. Abbervail van het Dingeshof Lynch, Denis IRL 60,000 EUR 0 penalties 39.69 sec
jump-off
3. AD Rahmannshof’s Bogeno de Miranda, Alvaro BRA 45,000 EUR 0 penalties 41.37 sec
jump-off
4. Palloubet D Halong Sprunger, Janika SUI 30,000 EUR 0 penalties 42.24 sec
jump-off
5. Mylord Carthago*HN Leprevost, Penelope FRA 18,000 EUR 4 penalties 39.12 sec
jump-off
6. Eurocommerce London Schröder, Gerco NED 13,500 EUR 4 penalties 39.95 sec
jump-off
7. Nippon d’Elle Bost, Roger Yves FRA 9,000 EUR 4 penalties 44.41 sec
jump-off
8. Reveur de Hurtebise H D C Staut, Kevin FRA 7,500 EUR 4 penalties 68.57 sec
round 1
9. Codex One Ahlmann, Christian GER 6,000 EUR 4 penalties 70.26 sec
round 1
10. Picsou du Chene Schwizer, Pius SUI 6,000 EUR 4 penalties 70.34 sec
round 1
11. Uceko Farrington, Kent USA 3,000 EUR 4 penalties 70.58 sec
round 1
12. Cocoshynsky Gaudiano, Emanuele ITA 3,000 EUR 4 penalties 71.52 sec
round 1

Simon Delestre wins the Trophée Salon du Cheval…

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At lunchtime, the CSI 5* riders took to the ring at the Gucci Paris Masters for the Trophée Salon du Cheval – Ceneca, a table A (1.50 m) competition with a jump-off.

Forty competitors lined up for battle. First up was home favourite Roger Yves Bost, winner of Friday evening’s Longines Speed Challenge, and he duly continued his fine run of form  by qualifying for the jump-off with his mare, Nikyta d’Elle. It was a similar story for the winner of Friday’s Prix GDE, Alvaro Afonso de Miranda Neto. The Brazilian, riding AD Rahmannshof’s Bogeno, sired by Baloubet du Rouet, also booked a place in the jump-off.

They were followed by ten more pairs: Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA)/Winsom, Denis Lynch (IRE)/Abbervail van het Dingeshof, Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS)/Guccio, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (SWE)/Carusso LS la Silla, Simon Delestre (FRA)/Whisper, Grégory Wathelet (BEL)/Kronos d’Ouilly, Ben Maher (GBR)/Aristo Z, Marlon Zanotelli (BRE)/Madame Butterfly, Ludger Beerbaum (GER)/Gotha FRH 18 and Judy-Ann Melchior (BEL)/Carry Z.

Victory went to Simon Delestre, who posted the quickest time with his nine year old mare Whisper, going round in 34.02 seconds. Olympic team champion Ben Maher and his eight year old Aristo Z finished second with a time of 34.27 seconds, and Denis Lynch and Abbervail van het Dingeshof snatched third spot with a time of 35 seconds.

Trophée Salon du Cheval-Ceneca…Épreuve barême A avec barrage (1.50 m)
FEI – Art. 238.2.2 – CSI 5*

1. Whisper Delestre, Simon FRA 0 penalties 34.02 sec
jump-off
2. Aristo Z Maher, Ben GBR 0 penalties 34.27 sec
jump-off
3. Abbervail van het Dingeshof Lynch, Denis IRL 0 penalties 35.00 sec
jump-off
4. Carusso LS la Silla Bengtsson, Rolf-Göran SWE 0 penalties 36.36 sec
jump-off
5. Carry Z Melchior, Judy Ann BEL 0 penalties 37.65 sec
jump-off
6. Nikyta d’Elle Bost, Roger Yves FRA 4 penalties 35.21 sec
jump-off
7. Madame Butterfly Zanotelli, Marlon BRA 4 penalties 35.32 sec
jump-off
8. Guccio Tops-Alexander, Edwina AUS 4 penalties 44.12 sec
jump-off
9. Winsom Pessoa, Rodrigo BRA 8 penalties 37.77 sec
jump-off
10. Gotha FRH Beerbaum, Ludger GER 9 penalties 49.63 sec
jump-off
11. Kronos d’Ouilly Wathelet, Gregory BEL 20 penalties 52.42 sec
jump-off
12. AD Rahmannshof’s Bogeno de Miranda, Alvaro BRA withdrawn
jump-off

Johannes Ehning starts things off in Abu Dhabi…

The global stars of show jumping began the countdown to the final Grand Prix of the 2012 season as German rider Johannes Ehning seized the first win in Abu Dhabi. Ehning rode a fast clear on Cayenne finishing in 26.01 over the 12-fence course – only a fraction of a second ahead of Denis Lynch on Night Train who finished in 26.07.

The floodlit Al Forsan arena was the stage for the first outing of the weekend for Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Edwina Tops-Alexander, the only two riders left in contention for the 2012 championship crown.

With the atmosphere building towards Saturday’s GCT Gucci Grand Prix, both riders used the opening class to limber up on their star horses. Rolf picked up a single time fault on Casall La Silla and Edwina ended up with one time fault and a pole down on Cevo Itot du Chateau.

Christian Ahlmann and Marco Kutscher, both German riders in the GCT top 10 ranking, retired.

Harrie Smolders and Roger-Yves Bost delivered speedy clear rounds. Harrie Smolders, Pius Schwizer, Maikel van der Vleuten, Nick Skelton and Michael Whitaker looked strong on their first outings of the weekend.

Source: GCT

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Happy Birthday Kevin!! Leading Frenchman wins the World Cup in Stuttgart…

Well it was a great birthday weekend for Kevin, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Thursday in Stuttgart with friends Rodrigo Pessoa, Michael Whitaker and Patrice Delaveau. The leading French rider, who is currently ranked 6th in the World beat Germany’s Marcus Ehning by 100th of a second in a very fast and very competitive jump off.

Kevin was amongst the best of the best today, with 8 out of the top 10 Rolex Ranked riders included in the start list.

11 riders qualified for the jump off; Kevin Staut, Marcus Ehning, Luciana Diniz, Jens Fredricson, Denis Lynch, Carsten-Otto Nagel, Ludger Beerbaum, his sister-in-law Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Christian Ahlmann, Hans-Dieter Dreher and France’s leading lady rider Penelope Leprevost.

Meredith was the first clear of the 39 entries with her wonderful 9 year old mare Bella Donna. They tackled Christa Jung’s course with ease and proved to be well on their way to qualifying for the World Cup final in Gothenburg next April, an important goal of Meredith’s this season.

Jens Fredricson and the memorable Lunatic were the next clear round, after 5 horse and rider combinations. Carsten-Otto Nagel and his mare Corradina, a well-known combination who have been together for quite some time, came in the ring next to be the third combination clear.

It was great to see Olympic silver medalist Jur Vrieling and his beautiful bay stallion Bubalu, however Jung’s course proved too difficult for the combination as they surprisingly retired half way through the course.

It would be Luciana Diniz and her gorgeous grey stallion Winningmood, back from a short leave from competition due to a virus, who would be the next combination to post an effortless clear. This round was one of my favorites of the entire class. This combination is pure class; they looked as confident as ever.

Gold medalist Scott Brash and his Olympic mount Hello Sanctos had an unfortunate 4 faults in the last element of the triple combination. The triple combination proved to be difficult for many riders; Jessica Springsteen, Pilar Cordon, Gregory Wathelet, Patrice Delaveau, Pius Schwizer as well as Edwina Tops-Alexander.

I was disappointed to see Rolf-Goran leave the ring with 12 faults on Carusso LS La Silla and Laura Kraut with 8 faults on her lovely Olympic gold mount Cedric, however it was a very difficult course, said to be one of the most difficult we can expect to see of the season.

There were eleven clear rounds in total, six of which were German riders. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Marcus Ehing were included in those six German combinations to qualify. Might I remind you that both Meredith and Marcus are two of only three riders to have ever won the FEI Rolex World Cup three times.

Both Marcus and Meredith will surely be looking to qualify for the Finals in Gothenburg next April, for if either of them win, they will make history and become the first rider to ever win four World Cup Finals in total.

Meredith was first in the ring for the 11 horse/rider Jump-off, fashioning the German flag for the host nation. The crowd of 6,400 spectators gave her a huge warm applause as she entered with her Olympic mare Bella Donna; one of the youngest horses at the Olympic games this summer. The combination did not go fast and posted a modest time of 52.41. This time was sure to be beaten.

Next in the ring was Sweden’s Jens Fredricson aboard the aptly named Lunatic. The two were the first to attempt the tight right turn after the 3rd fence (Jump 11) and did so with success. They had set the time to beat. Carsten-Otto Nagel was in the ring after the Swedish combination and the experienced team were slower with a time of 45.27 seconds.

It was the lovely Luciana Diniz of Portugal and Winningmood who would beat Jens time. The Portuguese pair were super fast and attached the jump off from the first fence. We got a lovely smile from Luciana who was clearly very happy with the time and more then pleased to be back in action with her striking grey stallion.

It would be Germany’s very own Marcus Ehning who would come in straight after Luciana with his expressive bay mare Noltes Kuchengirl and leave her in the dust. Always the cool, calm and collected customer, Marcus once again proved to the crowd as well as all those of us watching via live stream why he obtains such respect and admiration from fellow riders. Marcus made quick work of the jump off with the tight right turn and a fast gallop of eight strides to the last fence, a solid blue wall. Ehning posted a time of 42.67.

Irishman Denis Lynch and fellow countryman Ludger Beerbaum and Hans-Dieter Dreher would attempt to beat Marcus’ time but to no avail. It would be France’s leading rider and past world number one, Kevin Staut, who would beat Marcus’ time by a mere 100th of second to post a winning time of 42.66.

This is a much deserved win for 32 year old Frenchman who was the only male rider to attend every World Cup event last year. Kevin did not miss one date on the 2011/2012 Western European League calender and clearly that effort paid off today.

It was an incredible jump-off, the true makings of an eventful 5th leg of the World Cup Western European League season and no doubt a great taste of what’s to come in Geneva next month.

ROLEX FEI World Cup Jumping 2012/2013
Grand Prix of Stuttgart presented by Mercedes-Benz, WALTER solar and BW-Bank

1. Silvana H D C Staut, Kevin FRA Car (52000 EUR) 0 penalties 42.66 sec
2. Noltes Küchengirl Ehning, Marcus GER 30000 EUR 0 penalties 42.67 sec
3. Winningmood Diniz, Luciana POR 23000 EUR 0 penalties 43.90 sec
4. Lunatic Fredricson, Jens SWE 16000 EUR 0 penalties 43.97 sec
5. Abbervail van het Dingeshof Lynch, Denis IRL 10000 EUR 0 penalties 44.42 sec
6. Corradina Nagel, Carsten-Otto GER 8000 EUR 0 penalties 45.27 sec
7. Zinedine Beerbaum, Ludger GER 6000 EUR 0 penalties 48.42 sec
8. Bella Donna Michaels-Beerbaum, Meredith GER 3000 EUR 0 penalties 52.41 sec
9. Codex One Ahlmann, Christian GER 2000 EUR 4 penalties 43.54 sec
10. Embassy II Dreher, Hans-Dieter GER 2000 EUR 4 penalties 43.83 sec
11. Nayana Leprevost, Penelope FRA 2000 EUR 13 penalties 59.10 sec

Who’s going to Vienna…

It’s the Vienna Equestrian Festival this weekend and plenty of notables will be in attendance. The Wiener Pferdefest will start on Thursday at the Vienna City Hall. Looking forward to checking out Vienna.

Australia
AUSTRALIA – AUSTRALIA
Amy Graham – Bella Baloubet
PATERSON, James ROBINSON – Lanosso | Queen Luca | Zippit

Austria
AUSTRIA – AUSTRIA
Bistan Stefanie – Giant Steps | Juvina | Love Dance
BRAND Nina – Calme P
Stefan Eder – Chilli van Dijk NRW | Concordija | PSG Petit Prince
ENGL BRECHT Roland – Betty Balou 4 | E & W Armani
EARLY MAN Thomas – The Sixth Sense
Juza Christian – Ladylike 25 | Never the Etisses
Julia Kayser – Sterrehof’s Cayetano Z | Sterrehof’s Waterloo
Köfler Dieter – Emir van het Moleneind | Glock `s Prince de Vaux
KOHL Lea Florentina – Commander 5
Konlechner Josef – Lance Missile
LEHNER Laura – Uster Heike van `
PUCK Gerfried – 11th and Bleeker | GLOCK’s Usrava | GLOCK’s Wibo B
RAISCH Matthias – Cliquot 2 | Ocelot de Maine | Zypria
Saurugg Markus – Texas I
SCHRANZ Christian – Lualdi | Quartz van de Nieuwmolen | Wega van de Padenborre
SIMON Hugo – CT | Violanta
STEINWANDTNER Dr. Franz – Cantara

Belgium
BELGIUM – BELGIUM
DE GRANDE Jean Christophe – Dargentina of Bruyeres | Sacha van Pottelberg
MATHY Francois Jr. – D `Atlantique Royale | Opus | Polinska the Isles

Bermudas
BERMUDA – BERMUDA
TERCEIRA Jillian – Berna van Dien Westuur | K Club Lady | Lakvels

Brasil
BRAZIL – BRAZIL
Alvaro Affonso de MIRANDA NETO – AD Asleigh choke Dan | AD Rahmannhofs Bogeno | QH Show Show
MOTTA RIBAS Carlos Eduardo – Ronaldo | Thilithya | Wilexo

Finland
FINLAND – FINLAND
Mallat Maiju – Armani the Gun CH | Gran Carthage | Urleven van de Helle

France
FRANCE – FRANCE
BOST Roger Yves – Castle Forbes Myrtille Palouis | Castle Forbes Vivaldo van het Costersveld | Nippon d’Elle
DELESTRE Simon – Cardero Champ Elysses Bois Margot | Valentino Velvet | Whisper Zimquest
DUGUET Romain – Le Prestige St Lois | Quorida de Treho | Ulena van Hof ter Naillen
Robert Michel – Catapulte | Nenuphar Jac | Oh d’Eole

Germany
GERMANY – GERMANY
UPRIGHT Pia Luise – Cassilia MCB | MCB Ulke | Venus
BRENNER Andreas – Last Minute | Showman | 33 Unesco
Hans Dieter Dreher – Constantin B | Menardiere master en | Magnus Romeo
Deusser Daniel –
Fundis Stefan – Lanox
KÜHNER Max – Clooney | Coeur de Lion | Rahmannhof’s Zwitser
Maximilian SCHMID – Asti Cinzano 8 | rocket Schorsch
Frederic Wömpner January – Donna Carrara | Lady Weingart

Great_britain
GREAT BRITAIN – ENGLAND
BRASH Scott – Bon Ami II | Hello Sanctos | Ursula XII
John Whitaker – Argento | Maximillian | Lord of Arabia
Robert Whitaker – Catwalk | USA Today | Waterstone

Ireland
IRELAND – IRELAND
Shane Breen – Balloon | Cos I Can | Ominerale Courcelle
Denis LYNCH – Night Train | Coulisa | Contifex

Italy
ITALY – ITALY
BROTTO Fabio – New Zealand delle Roane | Quattrina R | R-Gitana
Turchetto Roberto – Baretto | Construtec Gold Edition | Dan 7 T

Netherlands
NETHERLANDS – NETHERLANDS
BRUGGINK Gert Jan – Andrea | Cash Junior | Primeval Dejavu
Houtzager Marc – Sterrehof’s opium | Sterrehof’s Tamino | Sterrehof’s Uppity
Gerco Schroder – Euro Commerce Callahan | Euro Commerce New Orleans | Zirikit
SMOLDERS Harrie -Emerald | Exquis Powerfee | Regina Z

Romania
ROMANIA – ROMANIA
Candín Andy – Caruso 394

Spain
SPAIN – SPAIN
MARINAS SOTO Antonio – Cash and Go | PDC Aladita | Valhalla

Switzerland
SWITZERLAND – SWITZERLAND
ESTERMANN Paul – Castlefield Eclipse | Lafayette III | Quinara 13
FUCHS Martin – Mighty de Riverland | Principal 12 | PSG Future
Steve Guerdat – Carpalo | chips VI | Sidney VIII
JUFER Alain – Aron 233 | van de Casha Kornelishoeve | Vennoot
Beat Mandli – Callisto II | Colore | Louis IV
Pius Schwizer – Cool Girl | powerplay | Rubina VIII
STRAUMANN Flaminia – Double O Seven

Turkey
TURKEY – TURKEY
KARAEVLI Omer – Dadjak ter Puttenen | Rabane de Sury | Zyvola

Ukraine
UKRAINE – UKRAINE
Offel Katharina – Cathleen 28 | Eclips | Nifrane de Kreisker