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Germany in the lead - Al Eid surprises!

Monday, 04 October 2010

The second round of the showjumping at the WEG – both team competition and individual qualifier – came with many challenges for the riders and their horses, and was extremely entertaining to watch!

The triple combination and a line to and from the water caused problems for many, including some uncharacteristic faults from Erik van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Utascha SFN. The most difficult part of the course came towards the end though, where a double with either four or five short strides to a combination with two short strides, and then a new double, caused a lot of trouble for the riders. This last line of the course separated the best from the rest so to say – it demanded technically good riding, and several became victims to its difficulties. Even Penelope Leprevost – who otherwise made it all look so easy with a wonderful round on Mylord Carthago HN – got a pole down in the combination here. Some of the horses faulted on the first element after the riders being unable to bring the horses back enough, while some didn’t get enough room inside the combination and faulted at the b-element.

Chris Chugg and Vivant are skyhigh. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.

The first to solve the problems easily were Chris Chugg and Vivant, and then Rodrigo Pessoa and HH Rebozo. Pessoa's round was extremely convincing, and he rode with excellent rhythm. Pessoa was followed by Billy Twomey and Tinka’s Serenade, who in the beginning of the round touched several of the poles – but Billy fought his way through with good riding and technical skills and ended up with a clear round. As we mentioned yesterday, Robert Smith and Talan looked as serious competitors. They still did today, and Smith had one single time fault. After his ride, Smith said “One moment I was kicking and the next I was pulling, but he jumped really well today”.

Norway’s Geir Gulliksen and Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson also delivered clear rounds, while Canada’s John Pearce and Chianto had a single time fault – just like Smith. Edwina Alexander also delivered a convincing clear round on Itot de Chateau, and was followed by Alvaro Miranda and AD Ashleigh Drossel Dan with another clear round for Brazil.

With two clear rounds and a five fault round by Pedro Veniss counting, Brazil sailed up in front of many of the other teams.

France – a favourite for many, including us – was third after day one in Kentucky. France won this year’s Meydan FEI Super League, and surely needs to deal with expectations to perform at the top at the WEG. Like Leprevost, Patrice Delaveau had one fence down as Katchina Mail went in a curve that was too high and thus was unable to clear the double that led to the final double combination. Like Leprevost, Delaveau’s round was beautiful. Delaveau himself said that the horse was not completely concentrated right in front of this fence, and that this was the cause of the four faults. He added that Katchina Mail was a schoolbook example afterwards, and that the horse was brave to continue faultlessly to the rest of the difficulties. Olivier Guillon had two fences down, while Kevin Staut rode through the finish line with a clean sheet securing France in tomorrow’s final.

Overnight leaders USA had strong cards on their hands, as both the winner and the runner-up – Mario Deslauriers and McLain Ward - from yesterday’s round one were on the American team. Deslauriers couldn’t match yesterday though, as they weren’t able to clear the water and also had the last fence down. Laura Kraut and Lauren Hough and McLain Ward all had one fence down – a little disappointing really, as much was expected of this team today.

Germany – second after yesterday’s first leg of the competition - showed strength when second rider Carsten-Otto Nagel and Corradina rode a beautiful clear round. “So far it is going like we planned and that’s really good. Coradina is a fantastic horse and she proved that already last year at the European championship at Windsor, where only one horse was better than her”, commented Nagel after his round. But Janne Friedrike Meyer and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum weren’t quite as strong, with respectively four and eight faults. Michaels-Beerbaum said the following afterwards: “I don’t know what happened; I need to see the video. I thought I approached the water ok, and at the last fence I was unlucky”. Marcus Ehning suffered the same destiny as Leprevost, and had one pole down in the final combination. This proved good enough for Germany to stay in the lead before tomorrow’s final.

Carsten-Otto Nagel. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.

As reigning team world champions, Holland has had a lot to live up to in Kentucky. There have been many changes for the Dutch since Aachen, and three of the horses on the Dutch team are more up-and-coming than experienced. The Dutch riders on the other hand, have all the experience needed for such an occasion as the WEG. The Dutch team proved to be a bit unlucky today though, first with van der Vleuten sealing his faith in the triple combination and then with Jur Vrieling on VDL Bubalo who was really unlucky with the first and last fence down. Harrie Smolders and Marc Houtzager ended up with eight faults as well. It was farewell to Holland for now.

We had high hopes for Ireland’s team, who won in Aachen this summer and is featuring the same riders in Kentucky as they did on the winning team back in July. They haven’t performed their best though, only Billy Twomey and Cian O’Connor had good rounds today. Cian O’Connor rode really well on K Club Lady, but probably thought about getting the mare back a little bit too early as he got four faults on the same double as Delaveau. Ireland ended up suffering the same destiny as Holland, and will not be seen in tomorrow’s team final.

The rest of the British team came back stronger today, and David Mc Pherson said this of his horse Chamberlain Z (Chellano Z x Peter Pan) after a four-fault round, “My horse is jumping amazing. It was totally a jockey error. It is going to be an amazing horse for the future, but right now I am upset with myself.” Scott Brash and Intertoy Z also had four faults. Michael Whitaker and GIG Amai didn’t have the best day though, but the Brit’s still made it through to the team final.

David McPherson. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.

Belgium saw the wonderful Nabab de Reve Stallion Vigo d’Arsouilles deliver another beautiful clear round together with Phillippe Le Jeune and is now third individually. Valentina van’t Heike showed her magic today with Jos Lansink, and jumped a superb clear with lots of air to every single fence. If Valentina continues like this, it will all get very exciting.

Sweden is also on for tomorrow, and their last rider Rolf-Göran Bengtsson delivered a fantastic round on Ninja la Silla. Could they actually repeat their success from the Olympics in Beijing? After today’s round, it sure looks like it. Bengtsson himself said that Ninja jumped really well, and that the horse was more relaxed today as well as focused.

Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Ninja la Silla. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.

Hickstead and Eric Lamaze were also in championship form, and were clear as well. Canada also claimed a spot in tomorrow’s final.

There are always surprises at these championships – and this one is no exception. Yesterday it was Sandor Szasz and Moosbachhofs Goldwing (Goldfever x Lucardo) who stole our attention, but today it proved too difficult for Szasz who had three fences down. Today’s surprise certainly was Saudi Arabia’s Khaled Al Eid and the amazing stallion Presley Boy – previously ridden by Mexico’s Jaime Azcarraga – who at the end of the competition rode a clear round, and went straight up in the lead with their 1.20 penalties from yesterday’s first round stealing number one position from Rodrigo Pessoa. This also secured Saudi Arabia in the team final.

As we’ve written before; this sport sure is unpredictable, and that’s what makes it so fantastic!

The top ten teams that are ready for tomorrow’s final are:

1. Germany – 17.80

2. Brazil – 18.49

3. USA – 18.69

4. Canada – 18.93

5. France – 20.32

6. Kingdom of Saudia Arabia – 21.48

7. Australia – 21.87

8. Belgium – 22.70

9. Sweden – 23.18

10. Great Britain – 23.80

The top ten individually are:

1. Khaled Al Eid - 2.20

2. Rodrigo Pessoa - 2.80

3. Phillippe Le Jeune - 3.11

4. Carsten-Otto Nagel - 3.24

5. Edwina Alexander - 3.38

6. Eric Lamaze - 3.39

7. John Pearce - 3.70

8. Robert Smith - 3.94

9. McLain Ward - 4.27

10. Alvaro Miranda - 4.85

For full team-results; Full individual results:

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