It was Marco Kutscher and Cornet Obolensky that took home the Rolex FEI World Cup qualifier in Zürich today. The class was exciting; the course proved difficult for many of the riders and the jump-off was filled up by some seriously fast riders which gave the Swiss crowd value for the ticket money. The first round saw seven of the forty riders go clear; the first half of the class was filled with fences down though – the only one to set a clear in the first half was home rider Beat Mändli on Una Traviatta (Contender x Lys de Darmen) who was a bit lucky when the vertical at fence eleven stayed in the cups. One that wasn’t so lucky was Ludo Philippaerts who got one annoying time fault on Kassini’jac (Cassini II x Lombard).
The track consisted of thirteen fences and sixteen jumps; the triple combination at 12abc (oxer-vertical- oxer) proved costly for many of the riders who had to see one of the three elements fall to the ground. The first element – an oxer tight out of the corner – was huge and came fast, and the c-element also asked the horses to stretch out and was followed by a line to one last vertical that also many of the riders had down. Three of the Swiss riders that followed each other – Steve Guerdat, Janika Sprunger and Pius Schwizer – all got in trouble here, while the first fence ruined it for Irish riders Billy Twomey and Denis Lynch.
Patrice Delaveau on the amazing Ornella Mail HDC (Lando x Alligator Fontaine) was the second rider to go clear. This French mare’s back legs are out of another world, and although she didn’t jump at her best earlier this weekend she was back to 100 % today. Edwina Tops-Alexander on Cevo Itot de Chateau (Le Tot de Semilly x Galoubet A) rode a secure and lovely round, and as usual Marco Kutscher also made it look easy on his dreamy grey stallion. Another grey stallion also joined in; Winningmood jumped a great clear with Luciana – who always shows fantastic appreciation of her horse after a good round. These riders were joined by Simon Delestre and Napoli du Ry (Baloubet du Rouet x Silvio I) and Ben Maher on the beautiful stallion Tripple X (Namelus R x Cantango).
The jump-off was bound to be fast and offered tight turns and a long strecth to the last oxer, and Beat tried his best to put some pressure on the rest. Unfortunately he had to see the oxer at the previous 12a fall to the ground after Beat turned inside of the FEI vertical and didn’t get an optimal stride in to the wide oxer. Patrice then entered the arena and set off at his usual very fast self. Turning from the first fence to the second – a triple bar – Ornella Mail HDC came flying in on such a huge stride that the spectators gasped for air. But they made it over in flying style and continued with tight turns and a race down to the last, stopping the clock on 32.26. It almost looked unbeatable. Edwina did her best to catch Patrice, but crossed the finish line a little behind on 32.76 after a flat out race to the last Rolex oxer.
Then it was time for Marco and Cornet Obolensky. Marco rides with such precision and control that it’s hard to believe that he is actually riding fast at the same time. This time around he rode much, much faster than it looked and Marco managed the seemingly impossible; to cut down the time to 31.80! Much of his success in the jump-off was due to a perfect turn into the first element of the combination where he saved time. It’s never over until it’s over though, and with three more fast riders to go the excitement was on. Luciana had to see the triple bar down though, and Simon Delestre the FEI vertical – while Ben shared the same faith as the Portuguese rider. Simon had the fastest time of the day at an incredible 31.19.
1. Marco Kutscher/Cornet Obolensky 0-0/31.80
2. Patrice Delaveau/Ornella Mail HDC 0-0/32.26
3. Edwina Tops-Alexander 0-0/32.76
4. Simon Delestre 0-4/31.19
5. Ben Maher/Tripple X 0-4/31.26
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