The super talented 24 year old German rider David Will and Colorit took home the World Cup qualifier in Den Bosch on Sunday. This was the last qualifier in the Western European league, and the pressure was on as all the riders from rank 16 to 23 was in the zone to make it to the final, but thus needed more points to get to Gothenburg in April. Out of these home riders Marc Houtzager and Gerco Schröder both held it together and rode clear first rounds, also securing spots in the final – as did Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Edwina Tops-Alexander. But none of these experienced riders could catch David though, even though they all set their minds to it.
The course was more than tricky enough, and out of the 38 riders in the class – nine made it to the jump-off. Louis Konickx’s thirteen fence track had plenty of challenging elements, and faults came all over – but it was especially the Rolex triple combination at 7a, b and c with an oxer-vertical-oxer that caused headache as well as the last line with a combination on a line down to an oxer before an extremely difficult turn waited to a vertical right next to the entrance. Unlucky ones included Rolf-Göran Bengtsson who – after a great round – saw a pole on the last vertical hit the ground, as did Geir Gulliksen and Maiju Mallat.
It was Malin Baryard-Johnsson and H&M Tornesch (Lux Z x Libero H) who came up with the first clear of the day. The pair was followed by David Will on the wonderful Colorit (Coriano x Capitol I), who made it all look easy with their clear. Ludo Philippaerts on Challenge V. Begijnakker (Chellano Z x Palestro V. Begijnakker) followed them with a super clear round, as did Edwina on her faithful partner Cevo Itot du Chateau (Le Tot de Semilly x Galoubet A). Jur Vrieling made the crowds explode when he left all the fences intact aboard VDL Bubalu (Baloubet du Rouet x Nimmerdor), and it went wild when his compatriot Marc Houtzager on Sterrehof’s Uppity (Guidam x Epilot) managed to do the same. Marcus Ehning on Copin van de Broy (Darco x Brownboy), Kevin Staut aboard Silvana HDC (Corland x Widor) and Gerco Schröder also joined in – the latter making the home crowd’s celebrations complete.
The jump-off track was reduced to seven fences and included a combination. There was possibilities to make sharp turns from fence two to three, and then it was a long stretch to the FEI vertical before the combination came up. Another sharp turn could be made to the penultimate vertical, before there was a long run way home down to the Rolex oxer.
Malin put pressure on the rest of the jump-off field with a fast and clear round, stopping the clock on 36.78 seconds. Then it was time for David Will; who yet again made it all look like a walk in the park. Just like his colleague Angelica Augustsson did it in Gothenburg two years ago, Dietmar Gugler’s stable jockey took everybody’s breath away with a super smooth and fast clear round – making a perfect turn to the penultimate vertical and putting Colorit in top gear to the final oxer. The monitor showed a time of 35.73 seconds, and it looked hard to beat.
They all tried, but no one could catch this exteremly talented German rider. Closest came Edwina – who did a fantastic round on Itot; it looked like it would be good enough but the Australian rider was 0.11 seconds behind and had to settle for second. Marcus Ehning and Copin did a lovely round as well, with great turns and a lovely rhythm – and their time of 36.68 seconds gave them third place. As last to go Gerco was also the last – and fifth rider – to do a clear round, and he slotted in behind Malin who ended fourth.
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