Marco Kutscher took the lead after the first round was ridden on the final day of the Rolex FEI World Cup final.
The course of the first round consisted of twelve fences, and included a triple combination at 4a,b and c which was placed close out of one of the corners and a combination with two verticals with water trays at 12a and b – the last fence. It would also be the fence to cause the most problems. Frank Rothenberger’s course was massive, and technical.
The first eight riders all had poles down, and Ludger Beerbaum’s Coupe de Coeur (Calido I x Lincoln) even decided that he didn’t want to jump fence five at the first try; it was a plank fence with the image of Leipzig skyline.
Philipp Weishaupt then entered the arena, and aboard Catoki (Cambridge x Silvester) he left all the fences intact – making the home crowds go wild. Weishaupt had to see a time fault added to his score though. The veteran Margie Engel had a breathtaking moment at the triple bar, but also managed to stay clear on her Indoctro-gelding Indigo. Another American rider followed with yet a clear round; Beezie Madden on Coral Reef Via Volo (Clinton x Heartbreaker). Simon Delestre’s Couletto (Couleur Rubin x Caletto) jumps so impressive, and made the course look easy – but the pair were left with an unfortunate time fault.
Jeroen Dubbeldam on BMC Van Grunsven Simon (Mr. Blue x Polydox) was the next rider to go clear; riding a picture perfect round on the KWPN-gelding. Straight after McLain Ward rode another clear on the scopey grey Antares F (Araconit x Cento).
Kevin Staut, Pius Schwizer and Malin Baryard-Johnsson were all among the unlucky four faulters, while Marcus Ehning had to see two poles fall to the ground.
Hickstead (Hamlet x Eikstein) must have an eye in every hoof, the stallion continued to jump amazing with his rider Eric Lamaze. Katie McVean was so unlucky to have the last fence down on Delphi (Leo Caylon x Brilliant Invador) – the b element of the last combination; but her round was really impressive and rhythmical.
In third position before round three, Gerco Schröder had a lot of pressure on him, and unfortunately Eurocommerce New Orleans (Colbert x Carthago) took two fences with him on the way - leaving them behind Lamaze.
Marco Kutscher and Cash (Carthago x Lavall II) had no problem handling the course, nor the pressure of being in the lead. They produced what looked like a quite secure clear round. Sometimes you need luck as well, and for a time it looked like that was just what Christian Ahlmann had when the plank at fence eight almost jumped out of the holders. It didn’t last though, Ahlmann also fell victim to the last part of the final combination aboard Taloubet Z (Galoubet A x Polydor).
Marco Kutscher is now in the lead with a zero score, followed by Ahlmann on four penalties. Then there is Eric Lamaze on six penalties. For full standing, go to http://eventcontent.hippoonline.de/546/546online2ENG.htm?style=engarde_leipzig
The 22 best riders after the first round go on to round two.
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