All the qualifiers for the Longines FEI World Cup 2014/2015 Final have now concluded, including the Central European League. Latvia’s Kristaps Neretnieks emerged as Central European champion at the exciting final in Warsaw where 17 riders from eight countries - Belarus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Turkey - battled it out for the honours.
The Central European League is sub-divided into two regions due to the vast land-base over which it takes place, and Turkey’s Derin Demirsoy was the sole representative from the Southern Sub-League at the final staged in Poland’s capital city.
There were 11 points-gaining events in the Northern Sub-League and four in the Southern Sub-League, and riders arrived at the Central European League Final carrying their best five results to which points earned from three further competitions would also be added.
Neretnieks didn’t get off to a great start when collecting 12 penalty seconds in the opening Table C Speed class with Casscare which left him well down the line. It was the host nation’s Jaroslaw Skrzyczynski who scored best here when runner-up with Inferno ahead of Turkey’s Demirsoy riding Harry K. The win went to Germany’s Marcel Braig, but he was not in contention for Central European League points.
And in the Table A class that followed, it was Estonia’s Gunnar Klettenberg who seized the maximum 20 points available when second with Lance S, while Aleksandr Lis from Belarus was next best in fifth place with Que Pasa. A single error with Caramsin pinned Neretnieks back into 11th position here, but in the Grand Prix his 10-year-old bay Hannoverian stallion secured victory in style.
There was a massive 40 points up for grabs this time out, so it was all to play for. Producing one of just four double-clear rounds from the starting field of 40 horse-and-rider combinations, the 25-year-old Latvian left the rest floundering in his wake as he galloped to victory in the quickest time of 38.48 seconds. Poland’s Msciwoj Kiecon (Urbane) and Jaroslaw Skrzyczynski (Crazy Quick) slotted into third and fourth places, but it was his seventh-place finish with Rocketman that secured runner-up spot on the series table for Russia’s Vladimir Beletskiy.
Latvia’s Andis Varna finished third on the final leaderboard ahead of Ales Opatrny from the Czech Republic in fourth while Skrzyczynski, fellow-Pole Michal Kazmierczak and Turkey’s Demirsoy filled fifth, sixth and seventh spots.
Neretnieks, Beletskiy and Varna are already on the list of nominated entries for the Longines FEI World Cup 2014/2015 Final in Las Vegas. Neretnieks previously competed at the 2013 Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden and at last year’s Longines Final in Lyon, France. Riding Conte Bellini, he also competed at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy, France.
Source: Press release from the FEI
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