Germany continues their good form, and tonight they grabbed the two top spots in the Rolex FEI World Cup in the Western European league. Of the 40 starters there were 13 clears. Denis Lynch, Marco Kutscher and Kevin Staut were among the top riders who didn’t reach the jump-off. After an incredible weekend Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum withdrew Checkmate when they had two fences down.
The jump-off was reduced to eight fences including a double combination, and it required tight turns and speed – some of the galloping was even on related distances, which demanded precision and control.
Sergio Alvares Moya and the wonderful Action-Breaker was first to go, and set the standard with a clear round on 39.32. Sweden’s Peder Fredricson tried his best, but had the second fence down – a FEI vertical, and crossed the finish line on 40.58. Marc Houtzager and his WEG-partner HBC Tanimo followed, and with an excellent turn to the Rolex double and a blistering tempo to the last he was on a zero score with the time 35.58 – good enough to take the lead.
It didn’t last for long though, as Carsten-Otto Nagel swiftly took the lead on the lovely mare Corradina. He was 0.58 second faster than the Dutchman, after a great and determined round that didn’t leave many options to where his competitors could shave off additional time. Fifth to go – Norway’s Nina Braathen on Blue Loyd, took a copy-paste of her jump-off in Verona and opted for a steady clear on 41.57. Patrice Delaveau did what he could on his speed-machine Katchina Mail, but it cost him a fence down and his time ended on 37.14. Germany’s Thomas Mühlbauer rode an excellent clear on the scopey Asti Spumante, and slotted in on third on 35.84. He was quickly pushed down by next to go, Michael Whitaker on Little Lady who was clear on 35.76.
Marcus Ehning and Noltes Küchengirl are always dangerous in a jump-off,and they set of in their usual style. Their round proved that it was little to do about Nagel and Corradina’s round; although Ehning was fast he ended up 0.10 behind his teammate from the WEG – placing himself second. Pius Schwizer’s Nobless M almost climbed the wall, and the Swiss was lucky when they landed safe and sound on the other side. Pius risked it all to fence nr. five – a Rolex double – and paid the price when the fence fell. The result was four faults and a time of 35.83.
Billy Twomey has been very successful over the past eight months, and yet again proved that he is one of Ireland’s most consistent riders. Aboard his WEG-partner Tinka’s Serenade he left all the fences intact and grabbed hold of third position on 35.38.
And nobody could play catch-up with the two Germans and the Irish. Steve Guerdat tried his best on the lovely Jalisca Solier, and had the jump-off’s fastest time on 34.42 – but also had four faults after an unlucky pole down at the first element of the combination! Rolf-Göran Bengtsson could not do anything about the top three either, and although he was slower than Guerdat he got the exact same fence down in the combination.
This was truly a deserved win for Carsten-Otto Nagel and Corradina, who has been extremely consistent and successful over the past year – with medals from the Europeans last year and the WEG this year. They’re a joy to watch, and a pair that would be great to see in the final in April! Yet again Germany proves unbeatable, and with well deserved points both Nagel and Twomey sneaks in amongst the top 10 after five qualifiers in the Western European league.
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