Sergio Alvarez Moya and the only eight year old Zipper (Apple Juice x Concorde) stepped up and took home the Rolex FEI World Cup qualifier in Verona on Sunday evening. The Spanish rider was already in the lead of the Western European league ahead of today’s fourth leg, and with his win Sergio made a giant leap in points on the leader board – making quite sure of a place in the final in Gothenburg in April. Sergio has enjoyed a tremendous start on the World Cup season, he was third in Oslo and second in Helsinki with Carlo 273 as well as picking up points in Lyon on Action Breaker – and today he ended up on top ahead of the strong field of riders.
The course was difficult enough. Thirteen fences were set up, and included a triple combination at 7a, b and c (vertical-vertical-oxer) and an oxer-vertical combination at 9a and b. The faults spread evenly out, but the line from the triple combination to a vertical on four short strides was a returning element of error.
There were many good rounds from the forty riders in the class. In the end twelve of them succeeded in producing clears. The first came from Robert Smith on Voila (Calvados x Concorde) as start number six, and then followed home rider Luca Maria Moneta aboard Neptune Brecourte (Cumano x Kayack) – and the roof literately lifted by the enthusiasm of the Italian crowd. It didn’t stop there though as Lucia Vizzini also managed to go clear aboard the Quattro B-daughter Loro Piana Quinta Roo.
One of many beautiful rounds belonged to Malin Baryard-Johnsson and H&M Tornesch (Lux Z x Libero H) who has recently returned to the international ring after an injury sustained in July. The stallion jumped picture perfect and seems to be back in form. Text book clears followed from some of the best riders in the sport; Meredith on Bella Donna 66 (Baldini II x Calido I), Michael on his Aachen Grand Prix-winner GIG Amai (Nonstop x Bacara), Marcus on Copin van de Broy (Darco x Brownboy) and Christian on Taloubet Z (Galoubet A x Polydor) – making the course look like a walk in the park. Manuel Anon, Kevin Staut, Sergio and Marco Kutscher also produced clears to join the jump-off.
The jump-off track was quite long, with eight fences and many stretches to make some real galloping. Robert Smith opened the show with a quite steady clear, and was followed by Luca who once again made the crowds explode when he produced a clear and fast round on 45.63 seconds. The Italian rider took the lead and for a very long time it looked set for a home victory in Verona. Lucia was not quite as lucky and took down both elements in the combination and the back pole of the triple bar. Malin once again produced a lovely clear and ended on the time of 46.43 and slotted in behind Luca. Manuel Anon and Rackel Chavannaise (Voltaire x Papillon Rouge) had the back pole of the triple bar down after making a short turn, while Meredith and her scopey mare did a secure second clear round – but didn’t go flat out to finish on 52.10 seconds.
Some were really unlucky. Michael Whitaker had the first element of the combination down, but he was really fast. The same faith awaited for Marcus who rode a faboulus round with his trademark accuracy and deadly short turns – but the penultimate vertical on a straight line got the better of him and his lovely bay stallion. Marcus’ time was the best of the day though and he ended 6th eventually. Kevin and Reveur de Hurtebise HDC (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Capricieux des Six Censes) didn’t have luck on their side either, and had to see the last fence fall to the ground – and Christian took 7a down.
Sergio was second last to go, and got a great rhythm from the start on Zipper. His round was rhythmical all the way around, and Sergio just seemed to gallop forward without ever having to touch the breaks – making some good and short turns where it was needed. The Spanish rider stopped the clocks at 43.20, pushing Luca down to second and Malin to third. Marco Kutscher and his long time partner Cash 91 (Calido I x Godehard) were the only ones that could threaten Sergio, but that was not to be as both elements in the combination fell. Sergio could celebrate yet another great result for the season, and also the big breakthrough for Zipper – a horse Sergio rates highly and believes to be one of his best horses ever.
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