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The Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final: Christian Ahlmann best of the best in Geneva!

Friday, 07 December 2012

Top three; Christian Ahlmann, Edwina Tops-Alexander och Kevin Staut. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.The Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final 2012 offered great sport from beginning to end, featuring the best riders in the world battling it out! In the end it was Christian Ahlmann – who’s had a fantastic 2012-season – and the amazing Taloubet Z (Galoubet A x Polydor) that ended up on top, after producing two rounds that nobody could match. In other words; Christian finished the year as he will probably begin the next – as the best rider in the world. Word is that he will be rank one on the next Rolex Ranking! Closest to Christian came the world’s leading lady rider Edwina Tops-Alexander on her chestnut rubber-ball Cevo Itot du Chateau (Le Tot du Semilly x Galoubet A); also she double clear – just fractions behind Christian in the second round. Former world number one Kevin Staut was also double clear, although slower finishing third on Silvana HDC (Corland x Widor).

Christian and Taloubet Z made it look easy. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.The first round track was quite difficult, with plenty of twists and turns in the huge indoor arena. The twelve course track designed by Rolf Lüdi, asked many questions of horses and riders – and included a combination with water trays a 5a and b, a triple bar at fence 6, a triple combination with an oxer-oxer-vertical at 8abc and a wall as the penultimate fence.


Roger-Yves Bost opened up for France on Castle Forbes Myrtille Palouis (Dollar du Murier x Grand Veneur). It looked as it was a bit hard for Bosty to find his rhythm, and the usually very fast French rider ended on a time penalty. Marco Kutscher and Cash (Carthago x Lavall II) had the triple bar and the b-element of the triple combination down, while leading French lady rider Penelope Leprevost was clear on a super jumping Mylord Carthago *HN (Carthago x Jalisco B). Edwina followed in Penelope’s footsteps and was also clear on her little Cevo Itot du Chateau (Le Tot du Semilly x Galoubet A) who made it all look easy, while Pius like Marco had two down aboard Verdi III (Hors la Loi x Cantus).


Runner-up; Edwina Tops-Alexander with Cevo Itot du Chateau. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.Kevin was the second French rider to go clear, and repeated his girlfriend’s formula riding Silvana HDC* – also going into the lead with a fast time, benefitting of being last to go in the second round. Quintero La Silla (Quantum x Chamonix) was a little spooky and fresh, but nevertheless jumped great under Rolf-Göran Bengtsson with only a single time penalty.

Both Marcus Ehning and Christian Ahlmann produced text book clears on Copin van de Broy (Darco x Brownboy) and Taloubet Z both making the course look like a walk in the park– securing two German clears, while Steve Guerdat had one down on the triple bar and a time fault on a high jumping Nasa (Cumano x Prince d’Elle) who used a lot of time in the air. 

Only three of the first-round clear riders managed to remain clear the second time around; Christian, Edwina and Kevin. Christian produced a super fast second clear on Taloubet Z over the shortened track that consisted of nine fences. The last two elements of the triple combination remained as a combination – while a long stretch from a penultimate vertical to the final oxer was a last chance to race to victory for the riders. It was a trademark Ahlmann round, with super short turns and full speed all around – stopping the clock at 43.57 seconds. “First of all I’m really happy,” Christian said afterwards. “Taloubet jumped a super round. I took some risks, but I had to with such fast riders coming after me.”

Kevin Staut lost a bit of time in the last turn with Silvana HDC. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.Edwina Tops-Alexander gave it her all. A race to the final fence was not enough though, and she slotted into second on 43.91 seconds. “I don’t know where I could have gone faster, I will have to watch my ride,” Edwina said afterwards – adding that she was very happy with Toty! Before Christian and Edwina, both Marco and Rolf managed to go clear – but for Marco it was too late with his nine faults from the first round. Marco explained that he didn’t have an ideal warm-up on Cash, and could have jumped a few more fences – but that everything felt better in the second round with himself attacking a bit more. Rolf was truly happy with a fresh Quintero La Silla – who ended fourth on a single time fault; “We lost some time in the first round, but he jumped really good – and this was his first really big class in a long time,” Rolf said afterwards.

It didn’t go Penelope and Marcus’ way the second time around, they both had fences down in their attempt to take the win. As did Pius, Steve and Bosty. Kevin on the other hand remained clear and ended third after riding a second round with a bit wider turns than those of Christian and Edwina.

For the sympathetic Christian it was easy to sum up the win; “It’s the perfect end to a super season!”

Click here for full results.

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