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Longines FEI European Championships 2017: Peder Fredricson and H&M All In secure Swedish success on home soil on opening day

Wednesday, 23 August 2017
European Championships 2017

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Peder Fredricson and H&M All In gave the home crowds value for their ticket money on the first day of the Europeans in Gothenburg. All photos (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Sweden’s anchor-pair Peder Fredricson and H&M All In (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Andiamo Z) saved the best for last for the home crowds on the opening day of the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 in Gothenburg, when securing the win after a picture-perfect round.

It was a star-studded top five as the first day of competition concluded at Ullevi Stadium, with Marcus Ehning (GER) sitting second, Luciana Diniz (POR) third, Steve Guerdat (SUI) fourth and Kevin Staut (FRA) fifth.

The first round of the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 was a 1.50m Table C, with rails down being converted into additional time – opening for risk and races. Adding course builder Louis Konickx (NED) and his assistant Peter Lundström’s (SWE) masterly designed thirteen fence track, as well as a bit of sunshine that caused some difficult shadows – the competition had all the ingredients to make it into an edge-of-the seat classic with thrills and spills waiting around every corner.

With only four clears coming out of the first group of twenty riders, there was proof that it was not going to be any cruising around – the course asked for full attention the whole way with several difficult questions being asked. Again and again the huge oxer at fence no. six fell to the ground, as did the wide oxer at fence 11 with water under not to forget the real heartbreaker of the competition that consisted of the double at 12ab – a red upright on one stride to a massive oxer where the shadows fell imposing in front of the fences causing trouble for many of the horses. Established pairs like Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) and Mary Lou 194 (Montendro x Portland L), Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and Coree (Cornet Obolensky x Liberty Life), Cian O’Connor (IRL) and Good Luck (Canturo x Furioso II), Jur Vrieling (NED) and VDL Glasgow v. Merelsnest (Nabab de Reve x Darco) as well as Philipp Weishaupt (GER) on L.B. Covall (Colman x Cascavelle) were among the many to end up with faults here. The open water jump also caught out quite a few, with more than one rider making a splash. 

Photo (c) Jenny Abarhamsson Runners-up: Marcus Ehning on Pret A Tout made it all look like a walk in the park.

As no. 31 out of the 81 in the competition it was 2009 European Champion Kevin Staut, also a team gold medallist at last year’s Olympic Games in Rio, that would put some serious pressure on those to come. Aboard his 16-year-old long-time partner Reveur de Hurtebise (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Capricieux Des 6 Censes), the French rider produced a beautiful and efficient clear taken out of the text-books moving into the lead in 77.52 seconds. Several clears followed, but no one could threaten Staut until German maestro Marcus Ehning entered the ring twenty riders later with the 14-year-old gelding Pret A Tout (Hiram Chambertin x Stew Boy). In his usual walk-in-the-park style, Ehning piloted Pret A Tout effortlessly around the track shaving the time down to an incredible 76.88 seconds and crossing the finish line as the new leader. “It was a super round and I have nothing to complain about...,” said Ehning after. “I am lucky to have a fast horse. He felt perfect. The course was very fair and you could be flexible how to ride it.”

Twelve riders later Luciana Diniz gave it her best shot on the lovely Fit For Fun 13 (For Pleasure x Fabriano), and had luck on her side both on the oxer at eight after a risky turn and when jumping the penultimate combination. However, all fences stayed intact and with a time of 77.04 she slotted in behind Ehning leaving the ring with her trademark smile.

Photo (c) Jenny Abarhamsson Sitting third: Luciana Diniz and Fit For Fun 13.

However – much to the home crowd’s joy – it would turn out to be Peder Fredricson and H&M All In’s day in Gothenburg. The pair, that has been on top form throughout the summer with a series of wins, set of decisively and made their intentions clear from the beginning: It was all, or nothing – and it ended with the first as the two made light work of the course to move into the lead with an incredible time of 75.70 seconds after a beautiful round from the sympathetic Swede and his little fighter that spend the winter months out of action due to surgery. “I’m very happy with how my horse jumped today. My plan was actually not to win today, it was to be in the Top 10,” said Fredricson after. “But then I saw Marcus, and I thought ‘I want to beat him!’” he laughed.

None of those to come could catch Fredricson. 2012 Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat gave it a valid try on the aircraft that is Bianca (Balou du Rouet x Cardento), Swedish born and bred – to slot into fourth with a time of 77.32 seconds pushing Staut down to fifth. Only 0.91 penalties now separate Staut as fifth individually up to Fredricson on a clean sheet in the lead, ahead of tomorrow's competition. 

Guerdat sealed a very good day for the Swiss team, who saw three of their four riders going both clear and fast: Martin Fuchs and Clooney 51 (Cornet Obolensky x Ferragamo) ended 7th with a penalty score of 2.03, while Romain Duguet and Twentytwo des Biches (Mylord Carthago x Kalor du Bocage) ended 11th on a penalty score of 2.28 – putting them in the most desirable position for tomorrow’s first round of the team competition. With their total penalty score of 5.15, the Swiss are followed by France on 6.78 and Sweden on 7.21 penalties


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