The Rolex FEI World Cup final was exciting to the very end, and included all the twists and turns needed to make it a real thriller. While no one could do anything about Christian Ahlmann, Eric Lamaze snatched the second and Jeroen Dubbeldam climbed all the way up to third position.
The last round of the Rolex FEI World Cup final had nineteen riders and horses competing around a twelve fence course, which included a triple combination at 7a, b and c and another combination towards the end at 11a and b. The oxers were of course wide, and the challenges many around Frank Rothenberger’s track. Marcus Ehning, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Luciana Diniz chose not to ride this final round.
The three first riders all had to see poles fall to the ground, but Spanish rider Sergio Alvares Moya rode a beautiful clear round on his 11 year old stallion Action-Breaker (Heartbreaker x Lys de Darmen). Margie Engel’s impressive Indigo jumped extremely well, but had to see the first part of the last combination fall to the ground. World number one Kevin Staut mastered every challenge of the course though, and could cross the finish line on a zero score on Silvana de Hus (Corland x Widor). They were left with a total score of 13 penalties; as were Pius Schwizer and Carlina, after a lovely clear round. Simon Delestre’s Couletto (Couleur Rubin) lost a bit of petrol towards the end, and had three fences down.
Beezie Madden made it exciting for herself when she lost a bit of balance after the plank at fence ten, but nevertheless managed to stay clear yet again on Coral Reef Via Volo (Clinton x Heartbreaker) and could write one of only two double clears of the day into her notebook. The American rider was left with a total score of twelve penalties; eventually good enough for an overall fourth. Swedish rider Malin Baryard-Johnsson was unlucky to have the last fence down, but Jeroen Dubbeldam continued his excellent riding on BMC Van Grunsven Simon (Mr. Blue x Polydox). Although Simon tried to set off at the planks at fence five, Jeroen managed to keep the gelding calm and secured yet a clear round settling on a total score of eleven penalties - pushing himself into the lead with the other double clear of the class. Mc Lain Ward also suffered the same faith as Malin, and ended up with a total score of fourteen penalties and was outside of the prizes. Gerco Schröder and Eurocommerce New Orleans (Colbert x Carthago)had the oxer at fence four down, and his total score was left at thirteen penalties.
Katie McVean has all reasons to be happy with her weekend, even though she had the fourth fence down on Delphi (Leo Caylon x Brilliant Invador) in this last round – leaving her behind the leading group. Eric Lamaze worked hard for a clear round, but the planks fell hard at fence ten for him and Hickstead (Hamlet x Eikstein) – leaving them with a total of ten penalties just ahead of Jeroen.
You could touch the tension in the arena when Christian Ahlmann entered with Taloubet Z (Galoubet A x Polydor). Apart from a tiny tap on fence three, the round was spotless and the German rider went into the lead with his four penalties to wild cheers from the home crowds. The two truly fit each other like a hand in a glove by now.
Marco Kutscher and Cash (Carthago x Lavall II) entered the arena as leaders, but they were not able to hold on to their position. The German rider had the first fence down to the gasp of the crowds, and then the vertical at fence three fell – as did the b-element in the final combination. Kutscher had to see his dreams of a title go, and was left with a disappointing score of twelve penalties - which was only good enough for an overall fourth. The home crowds had nothing to complain about though, and started their celebration of Ahlmann as soon as Kutscher crossed the finish line.
Eric Lamaze and Hickstead thus climbed up to second, and with his double clear Jeroen Dubbeldam climbed all the way up and took third.
”I am unbelievably happy. Taloubet did an unbelievable job the whole weekend. I fought hard to do a better round in the second round today, and Marco had really bad luck so I got the chance to win,” Christian Ahlmann said after his victory.
Eric Lamaze was very happy as well and said; “Hickstead has had a fantastic career, and he’s a horse that deserves this. That he could be part of a world cup final with such a result – I couldn’t have expected anymore.”
“You always have to believe, and everything was still possible,” Jeroen said about his climb up to the third position. “I kept it for myself, but I knew that if I rode two clear rounds today I could climb up. I had one unlucky fault on Friday, and then I rushed a bit to make up for that and then I had a second fault – an expensive one. I had a good feeling today, and my horse did it for me,” the Dutch rider concluded.
For full results go here
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