Yesterday’s first qualifying round for the FEI World Individual Championship was held as a table C competition (a fence down gives additional time – 4 seconds per fence down), and opened for a lot of fast riding.
Rodrigo Pessoa and the lovely stallion HH Rebozo (Tlaloc la Silla x Ramiro Z) was in the lead for a long time with the clock stopping at 76.85 after a clear round, closely followed by Great Britain’s Robert Smith on the stallion Talan (Concorde x Burggraaf). Smith and Talan looked extremely coordinated, and they should be feared by their competitors after their ride yesterday.
It was Sandor Szasz from Hungary who together with Moosbachhofs Goldwing (Goldfever x Lucardo) that was the first part’s big surprise. Szasz gave Pessoa a run for his money, and showed a lot of joy when he beat Pessoa’s time at 73.24.
But Szasz was soon to be beaten. After the first part of the competition, it was USA’s Mario Deslauriers on Urico (Zandor Z x Omaro) who was in the lead after a fast clear round with the clock stopping at 71.25. It didn’t look as fast as it rode though, but Deslauriers rode with extremely good rhythm which gave him a strong lead that turned out to be good enough for victory.
In the second part of the competition Ireland’s Cian O’Connor climbed up the rankings with his fantastic Calido I-mare K Club Lady – which he has only partnered for about six months, and landed on 77.01 after a clear round. They fought the course together so to say, and deserved their clear round – the mare looks amazing. The wonderful Nabab de Reve-stallion Vigo d´Arsouilles and Philippe Le Jeune also netted a clear round at the time 77.47.
But it was Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and the Contender-son Checkmate that was first to pose a serious threat towards the leaders, when the combination rode a very confident clear round at the time 74.84 and pulled into third place behind Deslauriers and Szasz.
It didn’t take too long before Michaels-Beerbaum was passed by Presley Boy (Concorde x Damiro B) and Khaled Al Eid. Venezuela’s Pablo Barrios and G&C LaGran (Lancer II x Grannus) came in at 73.42 including one pole down, passing both Michaels-Beerbaum and Al Eid. The Dutch combination Marc Houtzager and HBC Tamino (Numero Uno x Farmer) later on rode a clear round, and pushed into fifth place between Al Eid and Michaels-Beerbaum.
The home crowd got what they came for when USA also claimed second place, as McLain Ward rode the Darco-mare Sapphire through the finish line with the clock stopping at 71.79. Ward and Sapphire looks to be in dangerously good form.
Favorites Eric Lamaze and the Hamlet-stallion Hickstead had one pole down, and rode through the finish line with a total time of 76.03. Marcus Ehning suffered the same destiny, and ended up at 80.79.
Daniel Etter’s Polydor-gelding Peu a Peu – who enjoyed huge success at the world cup circuit in Europe in 2009/2010 – is obviously not his usual self, as he collected 20 faults. Ireland’s Denis Lynch was also unlucky as the Landkoenig-son Lantinus seemed very tense, and stumbled through the wall and ended up with eight faults that was added to the time. Surprisingly enough Laura Kraut and Cedric (Chambertin x Cortina) also finished with eight faults, and far down on the result list. Reigning world champion Jos Lansink and the Nabab de Reve-mare Valentina van’t Heike ended up with a disappointing twelve faults. Hans Horn – Swedish chef d’equipe and Lansink’s previous coach – commented that “This is what happens sometimes, but he might have ridden a little bit better towards the water”.
We also have to mention today’s star Cezanne 30 (Calido I x Corofino), ridden by Kamal Bahamdan. The horse jumped superbly, and delivered a clear round like the fences were 110 cm and not a 150. This sure is a horse with a huge heart, which previously has been ridden with great success by the talented Norwegian rider Connie Bull.
Today’s most tricky fence consisted of a combination at 10 a and b, that looked like the classical fencing surrounding Kentucky’s landscape. If the first part of the combination didn’t fall, it was the second part that did!
Today’s competition might give some indications on the two days ahead; team wise it seems like favorites France is in good form, and the same goes for reigning team champions Holland – Eric van der Vleuten, Jur Vrieling and Harrie Smolders all had a fence down today, while Marc Houtzager was clear. USA and Germany was best overall though, see the team standings here http://www.alltechfeigames.com/competition/results/ResultsDetail.aspx?calendarId=10&date=1005&round=Jumping+Nation+Standings&competition=Jumping&competitionNumber=99&id=234
Well, as we all know everything can happen in the days to come and there is nothing that’s written in stone. Reigning world champion Jos Lansink was ranked nr 40 with Cavalor Cumano (Cassini I x Landgraf I) after day one at the WEG in Aachen four years ago. And that pretty much sums it all up.
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