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World Cup final day two; Hickstead shows his class

Friday, 29 April 2011

Winners of round two; the amazing Hickstead and Eric Lamaze. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.The second round of the Rolex FEI World Cup final was won by Eric Lamaze and Hickstead, who jumped two fantastic clear rounds and showed why they are one of the best pairs in the world. "It's great to do well, and to add this day to Hickstead's career was very important to me. A fantastic moment," Eric said after his win.

The course consisted of thirteen fences and included a triple combination at 4a,b and c as well as a combination at 8a and b. The faults were evenly spread out around the course, but a number of the poles that fell did so in the triple combination.

The riders from the bottom of the result list yesterday went first in today’s class. There were a lot of faults among the first four starters, before Kirsten Coe followed on nine faults and Wonderboy III (Flamenco de Semilly x Jus de Pomme) jumped his heart out for Ahamd Saber Hamcho leaving them on eight faults. The riders that followed also had fences down – including Ludger Beerbaum and Gotha 18 (Goldfever x Prestige Pilot) and Harrie Smolders and Regina Z (Rex Z x Savoy Hanover), and it was not until Pablo Barrios rode as start number sixteen that a clear round came. Barrios and his G & C Quick Star (Quick Star x Grannus) solved every challenge around the course, and crossed the finish line on a clean sheet. Sergio Alvares Moya and Action-Breaker (Heartbreaker x Lys de Darmen)also did everything right, and an extremely well-riding Moya secured a place in the jump-off. McLain Ward’s Antares F (Araconit x Cento) has a huge jump, and left every fence intact. Simon Delestre’s Couletto (Couleeur Rubin x Caletto)also impressed with a lovely clear round. Eric Lamaze was very happy after an amazing round on Hickstead (Hamlet x Eikstein), who looked tremendous and in a class of his own today.

Best lady rider in the standings; Katie McVean and Delphi. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.The surprise of the day, and an unfortunate one, came when one of the favorites for the title Meredith Michaels Beerbaum’s Checkmate refused at fence nine – a vertical with a watertray – and were left with seven faults. The stop came only a few starts after Luciana Diniz’s Winningmood had a stop at fence six. Later on in the class Margie Engle’s Indigo decided to put on the breaks at the first element of the triple combination. Katie McVean on the other hand rode a fantastic round on Delphi (Leo Caylon x Brilliant Invader), but had an unfortunate timefault. Gero Schröder – who got a place in the final after Michael Whitaker withdrew –continued to impress aboard Eurocommerce New Orleans (Colbert x Carthago). The gelding jumped a spotless round. So did Christian Ahlmann’s Taloubet Z (Galoubet A x Polydor ) as well; the pair seem to be in top form.

One of the other favorites – Marcus Ehning and Sabrina (Sandro Boy x Landadel) – had two fences down, and it seemed like the mare run out of petrol at the end of the round. Yesterday’s winner Marco Kutscher and Cash 63 (Carthago x Lavall II) tapped the two first fences, but it seemed that only sharpened the pair and the gelding jumped better and better throughout the course securing yet a clear round.

A good day at the office for Sergio Alvares Moya and Action-Breaker. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.The jump-off was bound to be a race, with such fast combinations going in. The course was reduced to nine fences, and had two big stretches for gallops and the rest was turns. Pablo Barrios had no choice but to set off if he wanted a fair chance of winning, but took two verticals down on his way with a time of 42.02. Sergio Alvares Moya and Action-Breaker took it more easy around the track, but left all the fences up on 48.79. McLain Ward was extremely fast on Antares F, but brought the last vertical down with him after a race down towards it. The time was as good as 39.37. Eric Lamaze produced another amazing and fast round on Hickstead and went into the lead on 40.68. Gerco Schröder rode a sensible clear on Eurocommerce New Orleans, landing on 44.77 – eventually good enough for third. "My horse jumped well yesterday, and continued to do so today. Today it was almost impossible to win, so I decided to do my own round and it worked out well," Gerco said after his round. Taloubet Z turns like a cat, and this worked to Christian Ahlmann’s advantage today. A clear round and a time of 40.86 gave them the second place. Marco Kutscher was unfortunate in the combination when Cash knocked out a pole on the b element, and ended up with four faults and a time of 40.89 seconds – good enough for fifth place.

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