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

Top Swiss riders honored in Zurich…

Congratulations Paul!!

Congratulations Paul!!

Marcus Ehning wins the Rolex Grand Prix in Zurich….

Marcus and Kuchengirl

Marcus and Kuchengirl

Well done Marcus!! So perhaps the Swiss crowd was a bit disappointed that their home rider, Jane Richard Philips, didn’t win on Swiss soil, but let’s be honest, we’re always happy when Marcus wins.

It was a steady class, with 41 entries. California’s very own Richard Spooner started things off with the World’s number one ranking WBSFH horse, the lovely Cristallo. The first clear came from Oslo World Cup winner, Jeroen Dubbeldam, and the vivacious BMC Quality Time. The next would come from Switzerland’s very own Paul Estermann and the lovely Castlefield Eclipse.

Jane and Pablo

Jane and Pablo

The crowd roared for it was guaranteed that at least one Swiss rider would jump off for the Rolex title. The happy Swiss crowd were overjoyed to see Jane Richard Philips, another Swiss rider, qualify through to the jump off aboard Pablo de Virton. A very exciting accomplishment for the Swiss miss, currently ranked 148th in the world.

Many of you might remember Jane from the 2010 FEI World Cup finals in Geneva where Jane finished 4th in the last Qualifier with Zekina Z. So naturally, this 29 year old Swiss jockey doesn’t mind battling it out with the best.

Some hopeful combinations came through such as Katharina Offel and Fidji Island as well as Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum with Bella Donna and last weekend’s World Cup winner, Christian Ahlmann, and his bay stallion Codex One, but it seemed the wide blue oxer and the Rolex triple combination would ask too much for many.

Britain’s speed demon, Laura Renwick, was next to go clear with the feisty Oz de Breve. Once the British-born blonde ensured her place in the jump-off, we knew it was sure to be interesting.

Sergio and Carlo

Sergio and Carlo

Penelope Leprevost attempted a clear round with her big grey stallion Mylord Carthago, but alas it was not to be. Following France’s leading lady however, came Sergio Alvarez Moya and Carlo 273. Now this combination is one of my favorites of the season and I think a serious contender for the title in Gothenburg. Carlo and Sergio have come together so beautifully and I was sure they would qualify for the jump off.

Sure enough, my faith was well rewarded and Sergio and Carlo’s clear round numbered the 4th combination to battle it out. Following Sergio, previous World number one, Rolf attempted a clear round, Silver medalist Marc Houtzager and Gold medalist Scott Brash aboard his relatively new mare, Ursula, but none managed to join the rather small group of qualifiers.

Roger-Yves Bost and Castle Forbes Myrtille Palouis looked as though they may become the 5th but instead the competitive combination retired half way through the course.

Despite the long list of accomplished riders to follow Sergio, only one other combination managed to qualify through to the jump off; Marcus Ehning and Noltes Kuchengirl. A worthy combination with plenty of speed on standby.

Only six horse-and-rider combinations would stick around for the jump off. The rest of the 35 riders could take their boots off and enjoy the show, and it show it most certainly was.

Jeroen Dubbeldam and BMC Quality Time were first in the ring but alas, it was not to be with 8 faults, including the first fence, and a time of 38.44 seconds. Swizterland’s very own Olympic combination, Paul Estermann and Castefield Eclipse, were next in and the Swiss crowd grew quiet with hope. Would it be a Swiss victory?

Unfortunately, the bay mare would rub one fence, accumulating 4 faults but clocking in a very fast time of 35.92 seconds to give the remaining field a taste of what was possible.

Marcus and Kuchengirl clear the first fence

Marcus and Kuchengirl clear the first fence

It was Jane Richard Philips who would serve up the first clear round and the packed stadium couldn’t have been more overjoyed. Jumping a picture perfect round with her bay gelding Pablo, Jane consolidated a time of 40.48 seconds.

So, well behind Paul and with Sergio and Marcus left to go, it looked doubtful that a Swiss victory would be celebrated tonight.

Sergio and Carlo were next and guaranteed to be fast, the combination set the pace early on, but it was the frustrating blue oxer, set wide, that would dash any hopes of a Moya victory. The spaniard’s disappointment etched all over his face, as he knew coming to the last few fences that he would not hear the Spanish anthem tonight.

Last to go was Marcus and Kuchengirl; a combination who have been together now for over 6 years. A tried and tested combination known for their pace, the pair put that reputation to good use tonight with a solid round, jumping clean with a time of 37.35 seconds.

Congratulations to Marcus Ehning for winning tonight’s Rolex Grand Prix in Zurich, Switzerland.

Rolex Grand Prix (Zurich, Switzerland)

FEI – Art. 238.2.2 (1.55)

1. 42 Noltes Küchengirl Ehning, Marcus GER
B 16-j.S v.Lord Z/M.v.Cambridge Cole/BAY/GER24879/B: Echo Büromöbel Vertriebs Gmb
2. 100 Pablo de Virton Richard Philips, Jane SUI
B 10-j.W v.Andiamo/M.v.Kashmir van’t Schuttersho/SF/102NF56/B: All.To Guldenboom
3. 75 Castlefield Eclipse Estermann, Paul SUI
B 11-j.S v.Obos Quality/M.v.Not Recorded/ISH/IRL40616/B: Fasana Jocelyne
4. 11 Carlo Alvarez Moya, Sergio ESP
SCH 12-j.W v.Contender/M.v.Cascavelle/HOLST/GER42975/B: Marta Ortega
5. 28 Oz de Breve Renwick, Laura GBR
F 11-j.H v.Dollar du Murier/M.v.Grand Veneur/SF/102MB54/B: Mr David Perry
6. 55 Quality Time TN Dubbeldam, Jeroen NED
SCH 11-j.H v.Quantum/M.v.Cantus/HOLST/NED40905/B: H.J.Nijhof
7. 47 Vincente Kürten, Jessica IRL
B 11-j.W v.Oklund/M.v.Ufarno/KWPN/NED41587/B: Stal Poels and James Paterson-Robin
8. 37 Chaman Beerbaum, Ludger GER
B 14-j.H v.Baloubet du Rouet/M.v.I Love You/KWPN/MEX01925/B: Winter-Schulze, Made
9. 108 Coolgirl Schwizer, Pius SUI
SCH 9-j.S v.Bill vd Heffinck/M.v.Polydor/WESTF/103EV86/B: Balmelli Armando
10. 53 Cocoshynsky Gaudiano, Emanuele ITA
B 10-j.S v.Cornet Obolensky/M.v.Popcorn/WESTF/102YQ85/B: Equita Kft
11. 5 d’Atlantique Royale Mathy, Francois Jr BEL
B 10-j.W v.Darco/M.v.Kannan/BWP/BEL42817/B: Team Harmony & François Mathy
12. 117 Carusso LS la Silla Bengtsson, Rolf-Göran SWE
B 11-j.H v.Montebello la Silla/M.v.Joost/SLS/MEX40260/B: Club Hipico la Silla/Rol

Rider’s List for Zurich..

1 Christian Ahlmann* GER
2 Steve Guerdat* SUI
4 Marcus Ehning* GER
5 Kevin Staut* FRA
6 Edwina Tops-Alexander* AUS
7 Pius Schwizer* SUI
8 Rolf-Göran Bengtsson* SWE
 9 Marc Houtzager* NED
10 Gerco Schröder* NED
11 Penelope Leprevost* FRA
14 Roger-Yves Bost* FRA
16 Ludger Beerbaum* GER
17 Sergio Alvarez Moya* ESP
 18 Richard Spooner* USA
19 Hans-Dieter Dreher* GER
21 Denis Lynch* IRL
26 Scott Brash* GBR
30 Luciana Diniz* POR
34 Katharina Offel UKR
37 Janika Sprunger* SUI
39 Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum* GER
40 Laura Renwick* GBR
41 Jeroen Dubbeldam* NED
44 Emanuele Gaudiano* ITA
72 Martin Fuchs* SUI
80 Paul Estermann* SUI
83 François Mathy jr* BEL
88 Malin Baryard-Johnsson* SWE
89 Werner Muff* SUI
91 Jessica Kürten IRL
96 Niklaus Rutschi* SUI
98 Beat Mändli* SUI
103 Clarissa Crotta* SUI
121 Christina Liebherr* SUI
142 Robert Smith* GBR
148 Jane Richard Philips* SUI
150 Alexandra Fricker* SUI
175 Niklaus Schurtenberger SUI
190 Vladimir Beletskiy* RUS