Just one month after his last Rolex FEI World Cup qualifier win in Zürich Marco Kutscher did it again in Gothenburg; this time on Satisfaction FRH (Stakkato x Calypso II). It was a very exciting class; many of the riders fought for a place in the final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and really needed points. In the end it was the already qualified Kutscher who did best, while outsider Ludo Philippaerts took second place with Kassini Jac (Cassini II x Lombard) and secured himself a place in the final. The fastest rider of the day had one down and ended third; league winner for the second year in a row Kevin Staut on Le Prestige St Lois*De Hus (Quidam de Revel x Grand Veneur).
The class had only five clears, and there were many faults around Uliano Vezzani’s thirteen fence track. Faults came everywhere, but the massive vertical-oxer-oxer triple combination at 5abc as well as the line at nine to ten that consisted of a difficult turn to the narrow white and open oxer at nine and then a bend line to a massive dark oxer at ten caused trouble for many. It was a long and demanding course that also made the horses fault towards the end in the penultimate combination.
The first clear came from Ludo and his 14 year old chestnut stallion. Ludo desperately needed points to qualify for the final, and worked hard for it around the track – having a bit of a hairy moment in the combination at 12a and b. It was a very, very happy Ludo who crossed the finish line on a clean sheet letting reins go and throwing his arms in the air. Rik Hemeryck was in a similar situation as Ludo – but didn’t manage to keep it together and had three of the four last fences down – missing out on a place in the final.
Nina Fagerström has had a great weekend and Talent (Mermus x Julio Marner) really jumped his heart out today, but unfortunately the Finnish rider had the last fence down to finish eleventh in the end. Dermott Lennon also needed points and had an annoying pole down in an otherwise great round on Hallmark Elite (Lord Byron Z x Renville).
Fifteen riders after the first clear Marco Kutscher was the next one to leave the fences intact. The course is the biggest Satisfaction FRH has jumped to date, but the 13 year old stallion did light work of the tough course – and Marco was a very happy man when they left the ring. Kevin Staut was the next to go clear on Le Prestige St Lois*De Hus, although he had quite a bit of luck when the oxer at ten stayed intact. Kevin was also extremely pleased with producing a clear round! Katharina Offel joined the clear rounders on Fidji Island (For Feeling x Wanderer), as did another rider from Stall Beerbaum; Philipp Weishaupt on Monte Bellini (Montender x Ramiro) who had a bit of luck as he touched the last fence. Last year’s winner Angelica Augustsson produced the fastest four fault round of the day and ended sixth on Mic Mac du Tillard (Cruising x Galoubet A).
Ludo was first to go in the jump-off where the track was shortened down to seven fences that included a combination midway. Two really tight turns could be made, and there was a long stretch for speed to the last oxer. Ludo went for a steady clear to get the most amount of points possible and stopped the watch on 45.35. It absolutely looked possible to beat, but the Belgian rider also put pressure on the others with his clear round.
Marco was next to go, and the German rider is a master of riding fast but not making it look so. A really tight turn inside to the vertical that was the fifth fence of the jump-off and a race down to the last oxer made Marco the leader – and later on the winner – on 39.40 seconds. Kevin really tried his best, and went for it on Le Prestige – but unfortunately the pair had the penultimate oxer down. Their time was the fastest of the day though; almost two seconds better than that of Marco. Katharina Offel had one down, and was slower than Kevin to end up fourth while Philipp steered off the b-element in the combination when he jumped the a-element far too much to the right – ending up as number five and qualifying for the final.
1. Marco Kutscher/Satisfaction FRH 0-0 39.40
2. Ludo Philippaerts/ Kassini Jac 0-0 45.35
3. Kevin Staut/ Le Prestige St Lois*De Hus 0-4 37.41
4. Katharina Offel/Fidji Island 0-4 41.83
5. Philipp Weishaupt/Monte Bellini 0-9 52.39
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