Luciana Diniz and Lennox (Lifestyle x Grammus) proved to be best in the World Cup class in Zürich today showing off some brilliant riding around the difficult track. With nearly all the fences set at 1.60 it was a challenging course with a tight time allowed Rolf Lüdi had made for the riders, and especially the triple combination and the last line with a combination down to the final vertical proved to be difficult.
Victoria Gulliksen had a nice start as the first to go with Urval (Hattrick x Elcaro). They had the c-element in the triple combination and additionally two time faults. Jeroen Dubbeldam and Utascha Sfn (Lux x Indoctro) produced a good round until they entered the last line. Utascha was not able to reach over the first fence of the combination, an oxer, and then also had the b-element down as the distance got too long getting out.
Home rider Beat Mändli and a very fresch Louis (Lord Pezi x Ultraschall) also had a good start around he course, but had a misunderstanding at fence number eleven which forced Beat to make a circle before finishing down the last line where the a-element of the combination fell. Too bad for Beat who needs some more points to secure a position in the final in Gothenburg.
Next rider to go was another Swiss rider, Clarissa Crotta and her lovely Baloubet du Rouet-gelding West Side v Meerputhoeve. Clarissa and Westi produced one of the best rounds so far and nearly gave the home crowd the first clear round, but they came too close to the last fence, the FEI vertical. It looked like Westi’s athletic talent would save them, but the top rail fell causing a disappointing sound from the crowd.
The first combination to clear the fences was home rider Andreas Ott riding Loxy de la Reselle CH (Lord Lennox x Galoubet), but unfortunately the board showed one time penalty. It was still a very happy rider who left the arena. As start number fourteen came the winners from Mechelen, Henrik von Eckermann and Gotha FRH (Goldfever x Prestige Pilot). Once again the Swedish rider showed off his great talent and together with his new partner he produced the first clear round in Zürich after a great round.
As Henrik finished his round the faults kept coming again. Malin Baryard-Johnsson, Alexandra Fricker and Martin Fuchs all had four faults, while Jane Philips Richard and Francois Mathy jr both had nine faults. The winner of the Grand Prix on Friday, Marcus Ehning and number two on the overall World Cup ranking Kevin Staut both ended at eight. Even the Olympic Champions Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets were not able to clear the course and had one fence down as well. Richard Spooner’s Cristallo (Caretino x Cicero) did have good day and left the arena without doing one single jump. Then Hans Dieter Dreher retired after Magnus Romeo (Royal Feu x Hans Anders Z) had three fences down.
With Luciana Diniz and Lennox as start number 25 the crowds finally got another clear round to celebrate as Luciana was inside the time allowed by 0,4 seconds. Luciana’s smile said more than words as she left the arena. Also Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Bella Donna (Baldini II x Calido I)cleared the fences, but for the second week in a row one time penalty kept them out of the jump-off. Roger Yves Bost had the last fence down with Castle Forbes Myrtilles Paulois (Dollar du Murier x Grand Veneur), while Edwina Tops-Alexander had one silly fence down with a well-jumping Cevo Itot du Chateau (Le Tot de Semilly x Galoubet A). Gerco Schröer and Marc Houtzager had one fence down each, a shame for Marc and Sterrehof’s Tamino (Numero Uno x Farmer) who looked like they would be able to join the jump-off until the last combination at 12a.
The winner from last week in Leipzig and number one in the world, Christian Ahlmann, had brought Codex One (Contendro I x Glueckspilz) to Zürich. Christian must be on his best form ever, producing a nearly perfect round an adding his name to the jump-off. We were also happy to see Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Casall La Silla (Caretino x Lavall I) being back with some brilliant riding, making the the jump-off list even longer. As the second last rider to go, Pius Schwizer nearly gave the home crowd a rider in the jump-off, but as many others Verdi III did not reach over the back pole at 12a and they ended at four faults.
For the jump-off the course was reduced to seven fences and eight jumps. Fence one, two and three were the first as in the first round, and also the tricky line with 12ab and 13 was the same. Henrik and Gotha were first to go. They did not get a good turn towards fence three, the London bus-wall from the Olympics and several bricks fell. As they jumped the Rolex oxer as the last fence Henrik and Gotha had four faults and the time 37.35.
Luciana and Lennox kept all the fences intact and gave their all down to the Rolex oxer, clearing the course in 35.17 seconds. Christian Ahlmann is always fast, but Codex One is maybe not as fast to turn as last week’s winner Taloubet Z. Christian rode a fast but still quite safe round finishing at 35.42 and the current second place.
Last to go were Rolf and Casall La Silla. Every point is important to Rolf for him to qualify for the final on home soil in April. Rolf and Casall did a hard job trying and nearly made it, finishing 0,13 seconds after Luciana and securing second place ahead of Christian and Henrik.
1. L. Diniz/Lennox 0/0 35.17
2. R-G. Bengtsson/Casall La Silla 0/ 35.30
3. C. Ahlmann/Codex One 0/0 35.42
4. H. von Eckermann/Gotha 0/4 37.35
5. M. Michaels-Beerbaum/Benna Donna 1
6. Andreas Ott/ Loxy de la Reselle CH 1
7. S. Guerdat/Nino des Buissonnets 4
8. M.Fuchs/Principal 4
9. C. Crotta /West Side V. Meerputhoeve 4
10. Marc Houtzager/Sterrehof's Tamino 4
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