After a very exciting fourth leg of the Top League the German team won in Rotterdam. The team that consisted of Marcus Ehning with Copin van de Broy (Darco x Brownboy), Ludger Beerbaum with Gotha FRH (Goldfever x Presitge Pilot), Philipp Weishaupt with Monte Bellini¨(Montender x Ramiro) and Marco Kutscher with Cornet Obolensky (Clinton x Heartbreaker) repeated their win here from last year.
The track consisted of twelve fences and among them were one combination and one triple combination. Most faults occurred in the triple combination that was on a distance of six or seven strides after a triple bar. The triple combination consisted of a vertical with one stride to an oxer and then two strides to a vertical. Fence number ten also caused some problems - it was a wide oxer six or seven strides after the open water and followed by a line to 11 a and b and then it was five strides to the last fence. The big enemy in the class was the time allowed though; 18 riders in the first round had time penalties!
After the first round Germany was in the lead with two penalties ahead of Sweden on five faults and Great Britain and the Netherlands on nine penalties. Paul Estermann who started off both rounds did an amazing job for Switzerland and was clear in both of them, just like in Rome. Estermann and Castlefield Eclipse (by Obos Quality) really gave Switzerland the best start possible. It wasn't just up to him though, and in the end the Swiss team ended fifth after a clear second round from Janika Sprunger with Palloubet D´Halong (Baloubet du Rouet x Muguet du Manoir).
Germany and Sweden both managed to keep their cool in the second round, while Great Britain and the Netherlands fell down the ranks – and saw the rise of France. Patrice Delaveau was one of the 18 riders who had time faults in the first round, but he speeded it up for France in the second round and was clear on the stallion Orient Express (Quick Star x Le Tot de Semilly). Eugine Angot also did a nice second round on Old Chap Tame (by Carthago), and had only one time penalty. Penelope Leprevost's stallion Mylord Carthago *HN(Carthago x Jalisco B) looked really good in the second round, and much more stable the second time around to go clear - while Kevin Staut did a clear and safe round on Silvana *HDC (Corland x Widor). The French team ended with a score of ten penalties, and eventually third.
Jens Fredricson delivered yet another clear for Sweden this season on Lunatic (Landlord x Utrillo), after a four fault first round. Malin Baryard-Johnsson did a fantastic clear round again, and made everything look really easy on H&H Tornesch ( Lux x Libero H). Malin had the only double clear of the day in addition to Esterman. Carusso LS La Silla (Montebello La Silla x Joost) did his Top League debut this weekend, and it was no less than amazing with a time penalty in the first round and a clear second round. Henrik von Eckermann could have dropped to ride as Sweden already had three clear rounds, but he went out anyway on Alerdings (Arpeggio x Diamantino) and made the zero score complete with another clear. Just like in La Baule Sweden ended the second round on a clean sheet, and with a total of five penalties.
Germany looks dangerously strong this season. Marcus Ehning's Copin van de Broy looked good in the second round, but the last pole fell. Ludger Beerbaum almost repeated his clear from the first round, but was a little too slow on Gotha FRH and ended up with a time fault. Nothing seems to be difficult for Monte Bellini, and the stallion jumped both rounds as the fences were a meter high with Philipp Weishaupt on his back to end up with a time penalty in the first and a clear in the second.
It was really exiting to the last rider and to the last fence, so when Marco Kutscher entered the arena on Cornet Obolensky he knew that if he had one time penalty or less Germany would win, and with two penalties it would be a jump-off against Sweden. But Marco wasn't faced, and again he rode a fabulous round on the beautiful white stallion. Cornet seemed to think it wasn´t exiting enough though, so after he had done a great round he put his hind legs in the middle of the last fence – but somehow cleared it. So Marco stood up for the pressure and ended the course with only one time fault. The victory belonged to Germany for a second time this season!
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