The LGT Private Banking Prix in Zurich…

Luciana and Fit for Fun made the 1.50 JO look like a walk in the park

Luciana and Fit for Fun made the 1.50 JO look like a walk in the park

Ludger Beerbaum and Chaman win the Private Banking Prix in Zurich…

Ludger & Chaman got to enjoy the Swiss National anthem instead of the German.... rather comical error!!

Ludger & Chaman got to enjoy the Swiss National anthem instead of the German…. rather comical error!!

Well another tough course set by Switzerland’s Rolf Ludi. Tough lines and very little room to breath, riders were again challenged by today’s course. A few more qualified through to the jump off then yesterday. Out of the 56 entries on the start list, ten comb combinations qualified for the jump off, including Olympic medalists Jeroen Dubbeldam, Marc Houtzager, Gerco Schroder and winner Ludger Beerbaum not to mention WEG notables Marcus Ehning and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum.

Hendrik and Camilla

Hendrik and Camilla

The track was difficult with tight lines and challenging angles. The course’s difficulty meant a few strong combinations didn’t make it through such as Denis Lynch and All Star, Katharina Offel and Fidji Island, Kevin Staut and Cheyenne HDC, Christian Ahlmann and Asca Z, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Carusso la Silla as well as Hans-Dieter Dreher and his newly acquired Colore.

Nonetheless, a ten horse jump off would prove to be competitive enough to say the least and Dutch Silver medalist Marc Houtzager was the first to start things off with Sterrehof’s Opium. Marc and Opium were fast and clean, with a time of 38.26 seconds, which put the Dutch duo into the lead.

Switzerland’s Christina Liebherr was second but a disappointing 4 faults would keep one Swiss rider from winning. California-born German rider Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and the aptly named gelding Unbelievable. Unfortunately for Meredith, the German combo were just 0.02 seconds behind Marc’s time, putting them in second place with a time of 38.28. So close!!

Switzerland’s Werner Muff, leading rider for the show at the moment, was next to go. Hopes of a Swiss victory were evident as the crowd grew silent. Fashioning his armband, Werner had a frustrating 8 fault score and a time of 38.35 seconds. Another Swiss off the list.

Ukraine’s winner of the 2012 Global Champions Tour Finale in Abu Dhabi, Katharina Offel and Fidji Island, were next in the ring, sure to give Marc a run for his money. But alas, it was not to be, with a surprising 12 fault score.

Gerco and Seoul are reunited

Gerco and Seoul are reunited

Gerco Schroder and the newly named Seoul were next up with a good chance at matching his Dutch team mates time. It was interesting to see all of Gerco’s mounts with new names for the new year. Eurocommerce has now been omitted from the horses’ registered names. Gerco and Seoul beat Marc and Opium’s time with a fast and efficient round, stopping the clock at 37.77 seconds. Very well executed, but with Ludger, Luciana and Jeroen Dubbeldam to come, would it be enough?

Alas, it would not! Ludger was next up aboard his stunning bay stallion Chaman. Clearly fixated on a win, the four-time Olympic gold medalist made quick work of the jump off, crossing the finish line with a time of 36.55 seconds.

In typical Ludger fashion, the German combo looked to be in a strong place for the win.

A truly beautiful round by the leggy Brazilian beauty; Miss Luciana Diniz. Truly textbook but unfortunately not fast enough to match Ludger’s time. Luciana and Fit for Fun finished with a time of 39.82 seconds, putting her under Meredith, Marc and Gerco.

Second last to go was Olympic gold medalist Jeroen Dubbeldam aboard the feisty grey BMC Quality Time. Making the shortened track look easy, the Dutch combination finished smooth, perhaps too smooth, with a time of 37.97.

So all hopes were raised when Swiss beauty Alexandra Fricker came in to finish the class aboard Albfuehren’s Memphis. Alexandra has been serving up some strong rounds over the last two days and today was no exception. Clean and relatively fast, Alexandra and Memphis stopped the clock at 38.05 seconds, which would be good enough for 4th place.

The Swiss crowd cheered for Alexandra regardless and the young Swiss miss offered her mount a well-deserved pat for a job well done.

Congratulations to Ludger and Chaman for a great win! A great set up for tomorrow’s big day!!

Chaman attacked the tough course with ease!!

Chaman attacked the tough course with ease!!

LGT Private Banking Prix

1.50 FEI Art 238.2.2 (Zurich, Switzerland)

1. 37 Chaman Beerbaum, Ludger GER
B 14-j.H v.Baloubet du Rouet/M.v.I Love You/KWPN/MEX01925/B: Winter-Schulze, Made GER
2. 62 Seoul Schröder, Gerco NED
B 12-j.W v.Thunder van de Zuuthoeve/M.v.Lancer II/BWP/NED41598/B: Gevi Internatio NED
3. 55 Quality Time TN Dubbeldam, Jeroen NED
SCH 11-j.H v.Quantum/M.v.Cantus/HOLST/NED40905/B: H.J.Nijhof NED
4. 79 Albfuehren’s Memphis Fricker, Alexandra SUI
B 12-j.H v.Quinar/M.v.Carthago/HOLST/NED07642/B: Hofgut Albführen GmbH SUI
5. 58 Sterrehof’s Opium Houtzager, Marc NED
B 17-j.H v.Polydor/M.v.Bormio/WESTF/GER23567/B: Stoeterij Sterrehof B.V. NED
6. 45 Unbelievable Michaels-Beerbaum, Meredith GER
B 12-j.W v.Manhattan/M.v.Democraat/KWPN/GER42182/B: Windward Farm GER
7. 67 Fit for Fun Diniz, Luciana POR
F 9-j.S v.For Pleasure/M.v.Fabriano/HANN/103IB23/B: G.R.O.W. Horses & Jünger, Ral POR
8. 88 L B Con Grazia CH Liebherr, Christina SUI
B 10-j.S v.Con Spirito R/M.v.Karondo V. Schlösslihof/CH/102OR73/B: La Baumetta Sa SUI
9. 95 Landthago Muff, Werner SUI
SCH 10-j.W v.Landjunge/M.v.Carthago/HOLST/102QP50/B: Muff Werner SUI
10. 122 Fidji Island Offel, Katharina UKR
F 12-j.S v.For Feeling/M.v.Wanderer/HANN/GER44709/B: Llc Vian Group UKR
11. 30 Voila Smith, Robert GBR
B 11-j.S v.Calvados/M.v.Concorde/KWPN/102QD90/B: Robert Smith GBR
12. 44 Sabrina Ehning, Marcus GER
B 14-j.S v.Sandro Boy/M.v.Landadel/BAY/GER40673/B: Winley Farm Llc & Gölkel, Judi GER

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

World cup fever in Leipzig…

Pius Schwizer (SUI)

Pius Schwizer (SUI)

Rider’s List for Basel (SUI)….

                                                    
AUS Australia 
TOPS-ALEXANDER, Edwina Cevo Itot du Château, Ego Van Orti, Vienna Olympic
BEL Belgium
LANSINK, Jos Cavalor Valentina van ‘T Heike, Cronos 17, Ensor de Litrange Lxii
ESP Spain
ALVAREZ MOYA, Sergio Carlo 273, Wisconsin, Zipper
AÑON, Manuel Baldo DS, Fantasia, Rackel Chavannaise
CORDON, Pilar Lucrecia Dinky Toy, Nuage Bleu, Surefire
FRA France
BOST, Roger Yves Castle forbes cosma, Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois, Nikyta d’Elle
DELAVEAU, Patrice Carinjo Hdc, Lacrimoso 3 Hdc, Ornella Mail Hdc
DELESTRE, Simon Napoli du Ry, Qlassic Bois Margot, Whisper
LEPREVOST, Pénélope Mylord Carthago*HN, Nayana, Nice Stephanie
ROZIER, Philippe Akita, Dakar C, Ideal de Roy
STAUT, Kevin Cheyenne 111 Z H D C, Estoy Aqui de Muze H D C, Reveur de Hurtebise H D C
 
GBR Great Britain
BRASH, Scott Bon Ami, Hello Intertoy Z, Hello Sanctos
FUNNELL, William Billy Angelo, Billy Congo, Billy Grand
MAHER, Ben Aristo Z, Toklund, Tripple X III
RENWICK, Laura Kavanagh IV, Oz de Breve, Roller Coaster III
WHITAKER, Michael Antello Z, Viking, Wild Rose
GER Germany
AHLMANN, Christian Aragon, Codex One, Lorena
BEERBAUM, Ludger Chaman, Chiara, Zinedine
DREHER, Hans-Dieter Colore, Constantin B, Magnus Romeo
EHNING, Marcus Funky Fred, Noltes Küchengirl, Sabrina
KUTSCHER, Marco Cornet’s Cristallo, Rahmannshof’s Baluga, Spartacus
RENZEL, Markus Cannavaro 9, Cassydy, Chico, Cornetto 31
WEISHAUPT, Philipp Leoville, Souvenir, Urmel
HKG Hong Kong
CHENG, Kenneth Dragon Leon, Felton Lee, Jockey Club Can Do
IRL Ireland
LYNCH, Denis Abbervail van het Dingeshof, Night Train, Quintus 81, Vedor
TWOMEY, Billy Aminko N, Romanov, Tinka’s Serenade
ITA Italy
GAUDIANO, Emanuele
NED Netherlands
DUBBELDAM, Jeroen BMC Quality Time TN, BMC Utascha Sfn, BMC Zenith Sfn
HOUTZAGER, Marc  Sterrehof’s Opium, Sterrehof’s Tamino, Sterrehof’s Uppity
SCHRÖDER, Gerco  Callahan, London, Vicky Gold
SMOLDERS, Harrie  Emerald, Exquis Walnut de Muze, Regina Z
VLEUTEN, Maikel van der VDL Groep Eureka, VDL Groep Verdi, Zacharov Tn
POR Portugal
DINIZ, Luciana Bluebuster, Fit For Fun 13, Lacontino, Lennox, Nangaye de Kergane, Winningmood
 
SUI Switzerland
CROTTA, Clarissa
ESTERMANN, Paul
FREIMÜLLER, Paul
FRICKER, Alexandra
FUCHS, Martin
GUERDAT, Steve
MÄNDLI, Beat
MUFF, Werner
OEUVRAY SMITS, Dehlia
RUTSCHI, Niklaus
SCHURTENBERGER, Niklaus
SCHWIZER, Pius
SPRUNGER, Hansueli
SPRUNGER, Janika
STRAUMANN, Flaminia
 
SWE Sweden
BENGTSSON, Rolf-Göran Casall La Silla, Corcega la Silla, Quintero La Silla
VON ECKERMANN, Henrik Camilla 100, Gotha FRH, Lady Capitol
UKR Ukraine
OFFEL, Katharina Eclips, Fidji Island, Olivia de Nantuel
RIVETTI, Cassio Cartoon 2, Constara, Kantunaro
USA United States of America
SPOONER, Richard Apache, Billy Bianca, Cristallo

Top 20 Photos of the Year….

HRH Prince Abdullah el Saud and Davos saluting in the Olympic ring in London

#11 HRH Prince Abdullah Al Saud and Davos saluting in the Olympic ring in London. Team Saudi Arabia did an incredible job to earn Olympic Team Bronze. The Prince along with Davos jumped very well through out the week to contribute to that Olympic medal.

#12 Olympic gold medalist Ben Maher and his stallion Tripple X. I love this pair because Ben bred the stallion himself and got to win Olympic Gold for his country in London with him, its an incredible acheivement really!!

#12 Olympic gold medalist Ben Maher and his stallion Tripple X. I love this pair because Ben bred the stallion himself and got to win Olympic Gold for his country in London with him, its an incredible achievement really!!

#13 (from the left) Team Netherlands, Team Great Britain and Team Saudi Arabia. Everyone was so happy and all the guys just joined in for a group photo, laughing and just so supportive of eachother

#13 (from the left) Team Netherlands, Team Great Britain and Team Saudi Arabia. Everyone was so happy and all the guys just joined in for a group photo, laughing and just so supportive of each other

#15 Nick Skelton (GBR) removed his helmet after his last attempt with Big Star. The atmosphere was incredible and everyone expressed so much respect for this incredible combination

#14 Nick Skelton (GBR) removed his helmet after his last attempt in the Individual Final with Big Star. The atmosphere was incredible and everyone expressed so much respect for this incredible combination. It was very clear that amongst the riders there was an overwhelming admiration for both Nick and Big Star. They found a very special place in all our hearts!

#15 I loved how Steve kept looking down at his Gold medal. He was so happy and so genuine as he soaked up the whole event

#15 I loved how Steve kept looking down at his Gold medal. He was so happy and so genuine as he soaked up the whole event. I’m sure Steve is very confident in his abilities but as they went through the Individual awards ceremony, he kept looking down at his gold medal as if he couldn’t really believe it was hanging around his neck.

Early Christmas for Marc Houtzager as he wins the 7th leg of the World Cup series in Olympia…

DSC_0704

Well today’s Olympia World Cup track may not have been as mind-blowing as Geneva but it certainly presented its challenges. Bob Ellis (GBR) set a tough track within the tight confines of the Olympia stadium and plenty of riders were confronted with it’s difficulties. 35 horses in total were entered, including Bronze medalist Cian O’Connor, all four members of the British Olympic team and all three Whitaker boys; Robert, John and Michael. Geneva’s World Cup winner Edwina Tops Alexander, leading French rider Kevin Staut along with Penelope Leprevost and Roger Yves Bost, as well as US Olympian Laura Kraut were also amongst those to grace the start list. The youngest rider to compete was 19 year old Spaniard Manuel Anon riding his lovely bay mare Rackel Chavannaise. The oldest rider to compete today was the legendary John Whitaker at 57 years young. John’s younger brother, Michael Whitaker, was also in attendance riding Antello Z. Michael is in fact the rider who has ridden in the most World Cup events and the most World Cup finals then any other rider in history.

Well Marc may not have thought so but his jump off time this afternoon for the 7th leg of the World Cup series would prove to be the fastest by 2 whole seconds. Holland’s Olympic Team silver medalist shook his head as he left the international ring, clearly not confident that his time would be fast enough to stay on top with Gerco Schroder, Nick Skelton, Luciana Diniz and Penelope Leprevost still left to go in the eight horse jump off. But sure enough, Marc’s jump off proved to be very fast and very well executed with none other then his big bay Sterrehof’s Tamino. The towering combination, well known for their ability to jump big and technical tracks rather then their speed, proved to be the best today in the second to last Western European World Cup event of the year.

DSC_0705

Marc Houtzager became the first Dutchman in 4 years to win the London Olympia World Cup title today beating his fellow Olympic team mate Gerco Schroder and the ever-ready Eurocommerce London. Crowd favorites Peter Charles and Nick Skelton were also amongst those who just couldn’t better the time and score of the Dutch combination. Sweden’s Malin Baryard Johnsson and the show’s sponsor’s very own H&M Tornesch would call on all their experience today as they were one of only three clear rounds with a time of 36.63 seconds. Malin, who states London Olympia as her favorite show of the year, had expected great hopes of winning in London. Malin, who lived in England for many years, training with the legendary John Whitaker was very clearly at home with the H&M banners flying high.

Britain’s very own Guy Williams and Titus were the first combination in the ring for the competitive jump off. They had both the second vertical and the famous London bus down proving that this jump off would be a battle to the end. Peter Charles was the only Brit clear in the jump off with Murka’s Odie de Frevent. Making London Olympia his first five-star international event since the Olympics, Peter had a moderate time of 37.54 seconds.

Malin Baryard-Johnsson, fashioning a very festive H&M green jacket, would follow Peter with efficient time, making quick work of the fast track with her reliable stallion Tornesch. The Swedish jockey was clearly very happy with the round as she left with a smile and plenty of pats for her stunning bay steed. Marc and Tamino would be the first of two Dutchman in the jump off. Picking up speed from the start, Marc piloted the towering Tamino around the track with expert precision, displaying all the competitive fervor from the Global Champions Tour final in Abu Dhabi to the Gucci Masters in Paris. Clocking in at 34.67 would prove to a tough time to beat.

Marc’s fellow Olympic team mate Gerco Schroder would enter the ring next. Riding his classy stallion Eurocommerce London, even Marc had doubts that he could remain in the lead as Gerco and London have proven time and time again to be a very fast combination. But alas it was not to be, as the Individual silver medalists had two rails down and finished with a time of 35.48 seconds.

DSC_1295Next was crowd favorite Nick Skelton and Big Star, highly regarded amongst their peers and thoroughly loved my the British public. You knew who it was as the applause rose and rose, as the bell was sounded Nick and Big Star looked determined to make it a British victory for the Olympia crowd but alas Nick and his beautiful bay stallion would rather ironically have the London bus blocks down. Despite a disappointing finish, the Olympic combination received the biggest applause from the adoring crowd. Clearly as highly regarded amongst the public as they are amongst their fellow competitors.

We all held our breadth as Portugal’s Luciana Diniz entered the ring with her Olympic mount Lennoxx. Luciana is often very fast and wastes no time at all around the turns but it would be the end of the course that would be Luciana’s undoing with 8 faults in total and a time of 35.57 seconds.

France’s leading lady rider would be the last to attempt the jump off and try to unseat the flying Dutchman. Her partner Kevin Staut, France’s leading rider, would watch on but despite both their hopes Penelope and the 11 year old bay mare Nayana would touch 1 rail and earn a time of 36.16 seconds.

It was all over and despite Marc’s humble expectations and doubts of his time, the towering combination would earn their first World Cup win of the 2012/2013 Western European World Cup series. With his win today, Marc pushes himself into 13 position of the World Cup standings, just under Scott Brash. Leading ladies, Malin Baryard Johnsson (now #9) and Penelope Leprevost (now #8) were rewarded well for their efforts today as they jumped up to top 10 and pushed Edwina Tops-Alexander and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum out of the top 10.

Sergio Alvarez Moya still keeps strong hold of his lead despite not attending this week’s World Cup event with 75 points. Kevin Staut inched a little closer with 63 points. Roger Yves Bost jumped from 5th to 3rd place with 39 points and Pius Schwizer dropped down one spot to 4th with 38 points. Marcus Ehning is barely ahead of Oslo World Cup winner Jeroen Dubbeldam with 36 points.

A big congratulations to Marc and Tamino for a much deserved win. It will be a very Merry Christmas for the humble Dutchman and his family.

Biggest Movers and Shakers…

Photo of the Day

Well the 143rd World Rolex rankings has just been published and some big changes have occurred just before we close another amazing year and look to the wonders of 2013.

Sure enough, everyone in Geneva were right, for Germany’s very own Christian Ahlmann has taken over the World #1 spot just in time for his birthday next week. The 2010/2011 World Cup winner was the victor of Friday nights IJRC Top 10 Final in Geneva and it turned out to be just that extra little push he needed to place him at the very precipice of our sport leading into the new year.

But Christian is not the only one who has made big moves over the last month. His fellow countryman Marcus Ehning has jumped into the top 5, taking over 3rd position from his original number 7 spot.

Silver medalist Gerco Schroder (NED) has jumped up 12 spots on the rankings to place himself in the top 10. Moving from 22nd place to 10th in the world, it’s evident that despite legal battles continuing between Rabobank and Eurocommerce Holdings, Schroder has every intention of staying as competitive as ever. Clearly, Gerco has made every show he can attend count for his results speak for themselves.

Brazilian born Luciana Diniz also has also shaken up the rankings with a jump up to 31st in the world from 47th. The Portuguese jockey has seen a great surge in results with the return of her stunning stallion Winningmood as well as the consistent performances of the wonderful Lennox.

413319_531278380222801_937576033_oThree-time World Cup winner Rodrigo Pessoa has now jumped back into the top 50 with a spot in 44th place. This will be nice to know for the Brazilian jockey as he heads to Wellington, Florida soon for the Winter Equestrian Festival in the new year. His fellow countryman Alvaro de Miranda remains the leading Brazilian rider in 23rd position.

Canada’s Gold medalist Eric Lamaze will be happy to see he has remained in the top 30 despite his break from competition. Remaining in 28th position in the world, surely Eric will intend on adding to that has he plans a return to competition in January.

So who won’t be happy with the new rankings? Well, Nick Skelton has dropped down to 5th position from 2nd place in the world. America’s speed demons Richard Spooner and Rich Fellers have both dropped down in the rankings. Spooner to 19th position from 13th and Fellers to 27th position from 20th.

Silver medalist Maikel van der Vlueten won’t be too pleased with his departure from the top 50; moving from 42nd position to 51st in the world. Similarly, Brazilian-born Cassio Rivetti, who rides for the Ukraine, has also left to the top 50; dropping from 45th position to 53rd overall.

Nevertheless, the new year will bring plenty of competition and once again, with the 144th list due out in the new year, we shall plenty of changes once again.