The eight leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup took place in Mechelen Belgium today with 40 riders ready to fight for more points to take them to Gothenburg for the final in April. The first two riders had some problems jumping the sixteen fences, but the first clear came at start number five and yesterday’s winner of the Masters class, Francois Jr. Mathy and D'Atlantique Royal (Darco x Kannan). Francois rode a beautiful round and naturally made the home crowds very happy.
The course proved to have several tricky lines and fences with the c-element of the triple combinations causing most headaches for the riders. The second clear came at start number 17 with Jos Lansink and Cavalor Valentina van’t Heike. The mare once again proved that she can jump and the crowds were at the edge of their seats as Jos and Valentina produced their clear round and securing a jump-off in Mechelen. A few riders later also Jens Fredricson and his lovely little gelding Lunatic (Landlord x Utrillo) were able to clear the course, and as he finished Kevin Staut went on and did the same aboard the eight year old mare Estoy Aqui de Muze (Malito de Reve x Kashmir vh Schuttershof).
Last year’s winner Gregory Wathelet had eight faults while Harrie Smolders rode a super round, but the c-element in the triple fell as Regina Z (Rex Z x Savoy Hanover) dropped her hind legs between the poles on the oxer. Denis Lynch suffered the same faith as Harrie on the c-element as All Star 5 (Argentinus x Alme) also had some problems placing his legs over the oxer.
Then it was time for two more clears with Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat riding Nasa (Cumano x Prince d’Elle) and Henrik von Eckermann with Gotha FRH (Goldfever x Prestige Pilot) which we normally see with Henrik’s boss Ludger Beerbaum. Henrik lost his stirrup after the triple combination and had to finish the last three fences without it, but that did not stop Gotha from jumping amazing and Henrik from riding his very best.
Scott Brash and Roger Yves Bost both had one silly pole down before Laura Renwick secured a British rider in the jump-off with Oz de Breve (Dollar du Murier x Grand Veneur). Laura was followed by another clear, this time from Pius Schwizer and Verdi III (Hors la Loi II x Cantus). Pius is currently number four on the overall world cup standing, and after today’s performance he will probably have secured a place in the final in April.
There were many rounds on four faults in Mechelen today. As the last rider had crossed the finish line 20 riders out of 40 had four faults The fastest of them was number one in the world Christian Ahlmann who secured tenth place and some additional World Cup points.
The jump-off consisted of eight jumps including the triple combination from the first round which had been reduced to a regular combination. The first of the nine riders, Francois Jr. Mathy, rode another nice and fast - but still a controlled - clear round. The clock stopped at 35,89.
Second to go was Jos Lansink. As normal Jos did not speed up Valentina much, and they ended at four faults with the time 40,19.
Jens Fredricson on the other hand wanted to chase Francois’ time and made the crowds cheer him on around the course. As he crossed the finish line it was clear that Francois had been faster than expected and Jens looked a little surprised as he went into second place with the time 36,08.
Kevin Staut rode a controlled round with Estoy Aqui de Muze, but they still had one fence down and finally ended in sixth place.
Steve Guerdat and Nasa were clear, but were not able to take the lead with the time 37,77. Their time was finally good enough for fifth place.
Henrik von Eckermann once again proved that he is a brilliant rider who uses his chances well when Ludger gives him his best horses to ride. Henrik and Gotha flew around the arena in Mechelen taking over the lead from Francois Mathy as they crossed the finish line 0,6 seconds faster at 35,29 seconds. Henrik was more than happy as he left the ring.
Laura Renwick gave it all trying to beat Henrik’s time. Oz de Breve jumped very well, but the time 37,00 was (only) good enoug for fourth place behind Henrik, Francois and Jens.
Pius Schwizer is a fast rider and Henrik looked nervous as the Swiss rider entered the arena. Today was not Pius’ day though. Two fences fell and he could not threaten Henrik.
Simon Delestre was last to go, but also the French rider had two poles down and a very happy Henrik von Eckermann could throw his hands in the air and celebrate his first and very well deserved World Cup win. Congratulations!
Top ten in Mechelen;
1. Henrik von Eckermann/Gotha FRH 0/0 35, 29
2. Francois Jr Maty/D'Atlantique Royal 0/0 35,89
3. Jens Fredricson/Lunatic 0/0 36,08
4. Laura Renwick/Oz de Breve 0/0 37.00
5. Steve Guerdat/Nasa 0/037,77
6. Kevin Staut/Estoy Aqui de Muze 0/4 37,55
7. Jos Lansink/Cavalor Valentina van t'Heike 0/4 40,19
8. Simon Delestre/Valentino Velvet 0/8 36,81
9. Pius Schwizer/Verdi III 0/8 38,82
10. Christian Ahlmann/Taloubet Z 4 64,79
This photo has been added to your cart !Your shopping cart »