The last qualifying leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup in the Western European league was won by Denis Lynch on Abbervail van het Dingeshof, and with his win the Irish rider secured himself a place in the final in Leipzig.
The course at the Indoor Brabant featured several challenges, and most of the faults came at either fence number seven –an oxer that was placed on four short strides on a line following a previous line on three forward strides – or in the triple combination. Michel Robert, Jos Lansink and Marcus Ehning were amongst those who had faults on fence number seven, while Leon Thijssen was eliminated after trouble on the first element of the triple combination. A lot of riders were clear though; 17 of the 40 riders produced clear rounds and went forward to the jump-off. A few of these were also in need of some points to make it to the final in late April.
Piet Raijmakers Jr. was first to go on Van Schijndel’s Rascin (by Ramiro). The Dutch rider really set the standard, and put the preasure on the rest that were to go – he rode a brilliant clear round and crossed the finish line on 42.32 seconds. Vincent Voorn on Audi’s Alpapillion-Armanie (by Aldato), Robert Smith on Balourado (by Baloubet du Rouet) and Rene Lopez on Noblesse des Tess all chased Piet’s time, but had to see fences fall to the ground. Malin Baryard-Johnsson on H&M Reveur de Hurtebise (by Kashmir van Schuttershof) and Luciana Diniz on Winningmood (by Darco) both produced steady and lovely clear rounds, but were behind Raijmakers Jr. Marc Houtzager was determined to try and catch up though, but unfortunately Sterrehof’s Tamino (by Numero Uno) had the BMC vertical down after approaching the fence on quite an angel – the pair produced the best time of the day though.
Denis then entered the course and left no doubt that he and Abbervail van het Dingeshof (by Nonstop) were in it to win. The 11 year old gelding jumped fantastic, and although there was a rattle at the fifth fence they left the jump-off course intact and crossed the finish line on 40.66 – shaving 1.66 seconds of Raijmakers’ time. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum chased Lynch, but had a stop at the BMC fence after approaching it on an angel. Ludger Beerbaum and Gotha (by Goldfever) had a refusal on the b-element of the combination, while Billy Twomey and J’Taime Flamenco (by Flamenco de Semilly) had the fifth fence down. Gerco Schröder – who also was in need of points – set off on Eurocommerce New Orleans (by Colbert). Unfortunately Gerco saw a pole drop to the ground at the third fence. Simon Delestre produced a great clear on the lovely Couletto (by Couleur Rubin), and had a time of 42.57 – which in the end was good enough for fifth place.
Eric van der Vleuten tried his best to catch Denis’ time, but VDL Groep Utascha was not quite fast enough. The 10 year old Lux Z-mare jumped great though, and the pair’s time of 41.74 ultimately gave them the third place. Christian Ahlmann and Taloubet Z (by Galoubet A) had two fences down, while Edwina Alexander had to see a pole fall at the second fence.
Jeroen Dubbeldam was the last rider in the jump-off, and together with BMC van Grunsven Simon (by Mr. Blue) he tried his best to repeat his success from Verona where the two were victorious. Jeroen tighted the turns, and raced down the final stretch – but it was not enough. On 40.97 seconds the Dutch rider had to settle for second.
“I was under a lot of preasure and had to be amongst the top three to get to the final in Leipzig. Then I ended up winning, which was even better. I have trained for this for 10-15 years, so it was about time,” Denis said after his win continuing “It was a really good course, but tough with 17 riders through to the jump-off, whereas a few of these needed points to get to the final.” Denis also said: “Tonight I’m going to have a pint of Guiness, and a good night’s sleep when I get home – and my horse will get a week off in the fields!”
Jeroen Dubbeldam felt that the pressure was high, but said “My horse jumped terrific, and gave me a lot of confidence. In the jump-off I saw that Denis was very quick, but I decided not to override Simon as he can get quite aggressive in the jump-offs. So my plan was to ride fast, but think slow!” Dubbeldam pointed out that he was not thinking about qualifying for Leipzig, as he was busy concentrating about winning on home ground.
Eric van der Vleuten was happy after an excellent weekend in Den Bosch. “It has been a very good show; Utascha has jumped great all weekend. I had no pressure on myself today, as I am not aiming for Leipzig but concentrating on preparations for the outdoor season. My mare is in great form at the moment,” Eric van der Vleuten said.
The top 18 riders from the Western European league who have qualified for the final in Leipzig are; Kevin Staut, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, Billy Twomey, Ludger Beerbaum, Sergio Alvares Moya, Jeroen Dubbeldam, Simon Delestre, Malin Baryard-Johnsson, Philipp Weishaupt, Christian Ahlmann, Luciana Diniz, Denis Lynch, Lars Nieberg, Harrie Smolders, Pius Schwizer, Marco Kutcher and Michael Whitaker. In addition Marcus Ehning – the winner from last year’s final, Rodrigo Pessoa and Edwina Alexander will be going to the final.
For full results go to http://www.indoorbrabant.com/en/results
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