It was Kevin Staut and Silvana HDC (Corland x Widor) that won the Rolex FEI World Cup qualifier in Bordeaux tonight. Ten out of 38 went clear and on to the jump-off, and Kevin stole the victory ahead of runners-up Edwina Top-Alexander and Cevo Itot du Chateau (Le Tot de Semilly x Galoubet A). Belgium’s Rik Hemeryck was third with Quarco de Kerambars (Darco x Skipy II).
It was Kevin’s compatriot Julien Epaillard who set the pace in the jump-off with the 12 year old Mister Davier who lowered the first of the two remaining elements of the triple combination and the massive Rolex oxer at the end of the new track for eight faults. And the door was still wide open when Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt and Monte Bellini hit the 1.60m FEI vertical which had also claimed plenty of victims in the opening round.
Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson made no mistake however, steering the 11-year-old gelding H&M Reveue de Hurtebise through the finish in 37.78 seconds to set the standard, but Belgium’s Rik Hemeryck shaved more than two seconds off that with a great run from the fresh-looking Darco gelding, Quarco de Kerambars, who seemed to be relishing his evening out as they took the lead.
Nina Fagerstrom and Talent had been in sparkling form in the opening round, but the Finnish rider paid the price when cutting too close to the right-hand wing of the fence as she negotiated the penultimate oxer this time out, and it was Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander who would be first to loosen Hemeryck’s grip on pole position. Producing one of those magical rounds that have earned them a place in the hearts of jumping fans all around the globe, the spring-heeled 16-year-old Cevo Itot du Chateau and his equally petite rider popped every fence with plenty to spare before galloping down to the last to stop the clock in the new target-time of 34.59 seconds.
With just four left to go, it seemed possible that the destination of the maximum points in this leg of the series was already decided, but Staut had his own ideas about that. Having seen Hemeryck go, he knew there was no room for complacency and set off in determined fashion, although things didn’t quite go as smoothly as he would have liked.
“I was determined to try and try to do the best I could do, but I missed a bit my turn to the combination (now just two elements remaining) which was fence number three, so I went quickly to the next and I had to take all the risks to the last” the Frenchman explained afterwards. “I saw a stride to the last from very far away and I asked everything of Silvana there - she was so brave - she was just fantastic!” he added.
Silvana had her ears pinned back as she raced through the finish in 34.16 seconds, and that would prove an unbeatable time as Denis Lynch steered his nine-year-old stallion Contifex home with a lovely clear in 36.53 seconds to take fourth while the final two - Portugal’s Luciana Diniz with Lennox and three-time Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping champion Marcus Ehning from Germany riding Plot Blue - both faulted at the first element of the former triple combination. Staut was delighted with his result. “I’m really happy - there’s a special feeling when you know that you have won in front of your home crowd!” he said.
He has competed in every leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping series this season and plans to take in the last qualifier at Gothenburg before heading to the Final. Asked why he has competed in every round, he replied “the World Cup tour is a fantastic series. I like to start in Oslo and Helsinki and pick up some points there and once I have enough points then I just enjoy going to the fantastic shows - they have such a great atmosphere. I’m very happy that Rolex continues to sponsor this great series - we are very lucky to have them with us in our sport” he pointed out.
For the last qualifying fixture in Sweden he will bring some younger horses while Silvana will have a well-earned rest. “She will go on holiday now to the sea for a while, she deserves it, and then she will compete again in one month in Paris” he explained. And after that? “Well then she will be ready for the Final!” Staut pointed out. It’s shaping up for a thrilling end to the 2011/2012 series, and with just one more chance to make the start-list, the battle for those last few precious qualifying points will be ferocious when the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg opens its doors in three weeks’ time.
Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2011/2012 Western European League – Standings after Round 11 at Bordeaux, France:
1. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson SWE - 77
2. Kevin Staut FRA - 73
3. Denis Lynch IRL - 67
4. Patrice Delaveau FRA - 60
5. Marco Kutscher GER - 53
6. Steve Guerdat SUI - 51
7. Ludger Beerbaum GER - 49
8. Pius Schwizer SUI - 48
9. Nick Skelton GBR - 48
10. Edwina Alexander AUS - 47
11. Luciana Diniz POR - 46
12. Marcus Ehning GER - 45
13. Scott Brash GBR - 43
14. Harrie Smolders NED - 42
15. Emilie Martinsen DEN - 41
16. Malin Baryard-Johnsson SWE - 41
17. Maikel van der Vleuten NED - 36
18. Ben Maher GBR - 32
19. Philipp Weishaupt GER - 32
Source: Press release from fei.org.
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