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Rolex FEI World Cup Final Day One; Beezie Madden makes sure to secure America the lead

Thursday, 25 April 2013

The winner; Beezie Madden on the amazing Simon. All photos by Jenny Abrahamsson.Beezie Madden made sure to secure America the lead in the Rolex FEI World Cup Final today on Simon (Mr. Blue x Polydox). The US team has arrived with a strong field of riders to defend the title won by Rich Fellers and Flexible (Cruising x Safari) last year, and made sure to make their presence noted not only by taking home the win in the class – but by ending up with another five of their in total eleven riders with ribbons. It’s an understatement to say that it was a US domination on the first day in Gothenburg. The home riders performed excellent as well, with Rolf-Göran Bengtsson doing a picture perfect round on Casall La Silla (Caretino x Lavall I) to finish third and Jens Fredricson ending 7th in addition to Henrik von Eckermann placing as number 15 – as well as Malin Baryard-Johnsson being clear on a fantastic jumping H&M Tornesch (Lux Z x Libero H). In between Beezie and Rolf was number three from last year’s World Cup Final Pius Schwizer, on Verdi III (Hors la Loi II x Cantus).

It was a very fair and nice track set by course designer Uliano Vezzani. It counted thirteen fences and included a vertical-vertical combination at 7a and b and then an oxer-vertical combination at 8a and b – as well as a penultimate combination at 12 a and b. There were several options to choose from when it came to turns and strides, making it possible to save time in plenty of parts of the course. An option many went for was turning inside the FEI vertical at fence three from the combination at 7a and b, to the following combination – although there were a few misunderstandings for some riders here at the turn came fast. Asked after the competition if the course turned out as planned, Uliano Vezzani simply answered yes – with good reason!

Runner-up Pius Schwizer on Verdi III.It was last year’s World Cup vice-champion and reigning Olympic champion Steve Guerdat on Nino des Buissonnets (Kannan x Narcos II) that opened the ball. The two had a super round, and Nino jumped incredible – super bouncy and quick – but unfortunately they had the back pole at 8a down ending on a total time of 69.50 when the faults were added. One rider later the clears started ticking in, the first came from Christine McCrea before Rolf followed up and the crowds exploded after holding their breaths in excitement. With a time of 64.20, the Swedish super hero looked hard to beat. “I’m happy being able to end third today after going in already as number four, and I’m pleased with how my horse jumped,” Rolf said afterwards – who also explained he will stick to his plan and jump Quintero La Silla for the rest of the final.

Hans-Dieter Dreher’s Embassy II (Escudo I x Silvio I) also jumped incredibly smooth to finish at 67.06 and eventually 12th, and then followed both Henrik and Penelop Leprevost with super clears. Three American riders were very unlucky; Charlie Jayne, McLain Ward and Reed Kessler were all lightening fast – but all of them on expense of one rail down and in Charlie and Reed’s case the last vertical. Still they were fast enough to end up on the prize list and should have a good chance to climb in the coming days.

Rolf-Göran Bengtsson ended third in front of the home crowds on Casall La Silla.Beezie came in half way in the class, and put Abigail Wexner’s 14 year old KWPN gelding – a former podium horse from the World Cup Final in 2011 under Jeroen Dubbeldam – into top gear. It rode much faster than it looked, as Madden smoothly guided Simon around to slot in on a clean sheet and a time of 62.28 – shaving off no less than 1.92 seconds on Rolf’s time and taking the lead. “I didn’t plan to go for the win, but just to go as fast as I could – and also keep him good for the rest of the week. For me it was a good course. Simon is a naturally fast horse and he feels really good at the moment. I will ride him for the remaining rounds of the final,” Beezie said afterwards.

Although not nearly as fast as Simon, another extremely well jumping horse today was Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum’s incredible Bella Donna 66 (Baldini II x Calido I) – giving every fence so much air it was unbelievable to watch. Kevin Staut also produced a fast clear on a very well jumping Silvana HDC (Corland x Widor), and eventually ended 6th with a time of 65.04 – looking very happy with the 14 year old mare. A memorable clear also came from Katherine Dinan on Nougat de Vallet (Scherif d’Elle x Saphir d’Elle), who was congratulated by her trainer McLain Ward leaving the ring – and eventually earning 9th place. Sergio Alvarez Moya – Western European league winner – rode an amazing clear on the heartbreaker Carlo 273 (Contender x Cascavelle), leaving the ring with a time of 64.79 to finish 5th in the end with Luciana Diniz ahead of him in fourth on 64.40 after she produced a super round on Lennox (Lifestyle x Grannus). Pius entered as second last to go and rode a trademark fast round – taking a stride out on the line between ten and eleven, crossing the finish line on a time of 62.79.

A super round from Luciana Diniz and Lennox put them in fourth position.A few surprises and disappointments are of course also part of a championship. Today the disappointments sadly counted Marcus Ehning who had a surprising two down on Plot Blue (Mr. Blue x Pilot), Rich Fellers who experienced a refusal in the penultimate combination on Flexible and Christian Ahlmann who got a stop into the same combination on Taloubet Z (Galoubet A x Polydor).

Top five:

1) Beezie Madden/Simon 62.28 – 40 WC points

2) Pius Schwizer/Verdi III 62.79 – 38 WC points

3) Rolf-Göran Bengtsson/Casall La Silla 64.20 – 37 WC points

4) Luciana Diniz/Lennox 64.40 – 36 WC points

5) Sergio Alvarez Moya/Carlo 273 64.79 – 35 WC points

Click here for full results.

Click here for full World Cup point list.

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