After a very exciting and fast jump-off in the Longines FEI World Cup in Stuttgart, it was home rider Hans-Dieter Dreher that stole the win riding the beautiful stallion Embassy II (Escudo I x Silvio I). The notoriously fast German rider won his first World Cup in Bordeaux in February, and today he recorded the second in his career – this time in front of his home crowd, making it an extremely popular win. Reigning Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets (Kannan x Narcos II) ended second, and Ludger Beerbaum secured a good German day by ending third on Chaman (Baloubet du Rouet x I Love You).
The first round saw a total of nine riders going clear and moving on to the jump-off. The track build by Christa Jung was a big one – and basically seemed to be build to the maximum everywhere. Most of the trouble occurred either on the line from fence three to four; a triple bar on six or seven strides to a vertical. Many had faults on fence four, and unfortunately for Norway’s Stein Endresen he parted ways with Cassiopeia (Cellestial x Godavari x) on this vertical. The triple combination with a vertical-vertical-oxer also proved to be tricky, and it was especially the a- and c-element that hit the ground. Some riders were very unlucky to have the final fence down; Ben Maher and Penelope Leprevost were two of them.
Some did their World Cup debuts today in Stuttgart – and with style. The 19 year old Maurice Tebbel rode his first World Cup ever, and did a beautiful round on Cooper (Colman x Limbus) only to record a time fault and thus also picking up points and a ribbon. Philipp Weishaupt’s ride Chico (Cordalme Z x Sandro) – home bred by Madeleine Winter-Schulze – is only eight, but jumped his first World Cup today with only a fence down and time fault. This is for sure a horse for the future for Philipp, and looks like one for the big stuff.
The jump-off was opened by Ireland’s Billy Twomey who rode a nice and safe round on his long-time partner Tinka’s Serenade (Tinka's Boy x African Drum), that seems to be in as great form as ever at the age of sixteen. The result was a clear round in a time of 38.67 – in the end good enough for fifth. Then followed Lucy Davies, who had the a-element in the combination down on the lovely Barron (For Pleasure x Nabab de Reve).
Then it was time for Marcus Ehning, one of four German riders in the jump-off. Marcus rode one of his trademark round on the big-jumping stallion Cornado NRW (Cornet Obolensky x Acobat), with turns so tight it took your breath away – making light work of the shortened track. When he crossed the finish line it looked like it would be very hard to beat, at 38.21 seconds.
But, when Steve Guerdat and Nino are waiting by the in-gate as next to go it is always hard to maintain the lead. As was the case today, and the super fast couple took over the lead straight away – shaving off 0.84 seconds on Ehning’s time after a tremendous round.
Hansi was next on the ring on Embassy II, and left little doubt that he was in it to win. Their round was spot on absolutely everywhere, and it seemed the pair left strides out everywhere getting a fantastic turn to the penultimate vertical before they raced to the final oxer – when they crossed the finish line over a second ahead of Steve and Nino the roof lifted as the crowds celebrated their home hero.
The four riders to go all tried, but where with no chance facing the times from Hansi and Steve. Edwina Tops-Alexander was clear on Cevo Itot du Chateau (Le Tot de Semilly x Galoubet A), but only with a time good enough for sixth, Roger Yves Bost lost a distance and jumped through the fourth fence – while Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum rode a safe clear on Bella Donna (Baldini II x Calido) to end seventh.
Ludger Beerbaum and Chaman were the last to enter the ring, and really went for it – but today it was just not good enough to win and the pair ended third on a time of 37.74 seconds, pushing Marcus down to fourth.
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