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The top twenty after day one of the FEI Jumping European Championship 2023

Thursday, 31 August 2023
FEI Jumping European Championship 2023

It was a good day for the Swedes as the FEI Jumping European Championship 2023 kicked off in Milan, Italy, on Wednesday. The reigning World Champions picked up where they left off in Herning one year ago; racing to the top of the scoreboard in the opening round – the speed leg of the championship, judged as a Table C with four seconds added for a rail down. 

With four Swedish riders in the top twelve, the team finished on a score of 1.51 but only 0.41 penalty points separate the Swedes and the Swiss on the overnight standings so it’s a close call indeed. Thursday's round will decide which ten teams – out of the 15 at start – get to jump in Friday’s medal decider, where also three tickets for the Paris Olympics are up for grabs.

But back to Wednesday, where Jens Fredricson and the Swedish-bred 11-year-old gelding Markan Cosmopolit (Cohiba x Calido I) took the win with a lightning-fast round as the competition got underway at the Ippodromo Snai San Siro.

All photos © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping, all rights reserved. If copyright violations occur, a penalty fee will apply. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ As no. 46 in the ring, world no. four Martin Fuchs (SUI) and the 11-year-old gelding Leone Jei (Baltic VDL x Corland) – reigning European vice-champions – delivered a tremendous performance to stop the clock at 72.53 seconds. They held the lead until Fredricson shaved the time down to 71.98 seconds; finishing 2nd behind the Swede.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ What a horse!! Philipp Weishaupt (GER) and the incredible 9-year-old gelding Zineday (Zinedine x Polydor) gave the time to beat a great shot when stopping the clock at 72.60 – showing off along the way as the scopey chestnut played with the fences. The pair finished 3rd.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Steve Guerdat (SUI) and the wonderful 10-year-old mare Dynamix de Belheme (Snaike de Blondel x Cornet Obolensky) made light work of the tricky track, and with their time of 72.84 seconds, they went into 4th behind Fredricson, Fuchs and Weishaupt.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ There's always time for a snack!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ No surprises here! As always, Julien Epaillard (FRA) – known as one of the absolute fastest in the world – set off in top gear with Dubai du Cedre (Baloubet du Rouet x Diamant de Semilly). The two looked like a real threat to Fredricson, but the back pole on the oxer at 10b fell to the ground and the French speed demon had to add four seconds to his 69.20 – a time that would have been the fastest of the day. Nevertheless, it was good enough to put Epaillard 5th at the end of the class.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ World no. one Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) also gave it a good shot aboard Iliana (Cardento x Gentleman), but a pole hit the grass on the oxer at 3a – which brought their time of 69.38 up to 73.38. The two finished 6th.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ All smiles! As no. 30 to go, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) impressed with the powerful grey stallion Zuccero delivering one of his signature rounds – accurate, beautiful to watch but still fast. The 2011 European Champion shaved the time to beat down to 73.60 seconds, taking over the lead from Bryan Balsiger (SUI) – and eventually finished 7th.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ With a clear round in 73.88 seconds, Eoin McMahon and Mila (Monte Bellini x Linton) were best of the Irish and finished 8th. The Irish sit 4th on the team standings on a score of six penalties ahead of round two.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Bentley de Sury (Sunday de Riverland x Calvaro) delivered a clear round in 74.20 seconds for the Spanish team to finish 8th, while the team sits 11th ahead of round two on a score of 13.59.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The home crowds went wild when Italy's own Emanuele Camilli and the only 9-year-old Odense Odeveld (Diamant de Semilly x Querlybet Hero) delivered a clear round in 74.34 seconds, to finish 10th. Italy sits 6th ahead of round two, on a score of 9.42 and is hoping for Olympic qualification in Milan.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ It was Bryan Balsiger (SUI) and Dubai du Bois Pinchet (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Andiamo) who as pathfinders set the first clear, and the time was good too – with their 74.39 seconds they held on to the lead until Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Zuccero entered the ring as no. 30 to go.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Wilma Hellström and her one-eyed queen Cicci BJN (Ci Ci Senjor Ask x Tornesch) gave the Swedes the best possible start with a clear as pathfinders for their team, and eventually finished 12th in the opening speed leg.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Jur Vrieling (NED) really had to work for his clear round with Long John Silver 3 N.O.P. (Lasino x San Patrignano Corrado ), eventually finishing 13th in 75.21 seconds. It was not the best day for the Dutch team though; they sit 12th on 14.29 penalties ahead of round two with only three other countries behind them.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Best of the French was Olivier Perreau, who competes individually and not as part of the team. With GL Events Dorai d'Aiguilly (Kannan x Toulon), he finished 14th in the opening speed leg.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Wilm Vermeir and Iq van het Steentje (Toulon x Kannan) were best on the Belgian team, when ending the opening leg with a 15th place and a time of 75.90 seconds. The Belgians sit 9th on the team standings with a score of 10.50, and will be looking to advance towards the medals.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ With a clear round in 75.97, Mathias Nørheden Johansen (DEN) and Franco 79 (Firth of Lorne x Coronas) impressed as they finished 16th. The Danes sit 7th on the team standings on a score of 9.84 after round one of competition in Milan, also looking for Olympic qualification.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Christian Kukuk (GER) and Mumbai (Diamant de Semilly x Nabab de Reve) compete individually for Germany, and were maximum unlucky to clip the plank on the last fence behind to finish on a total time of 76.06. They now sit 17th individually ahead of round two.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Like so many others, Max Kühner (AUT) and Elektric Blue P (Eldorado vd Zeshoek x For Pleasure) clipped a pole on the oxer at no. 8, and finished 18th individually. The Austrians have a total team score of 8.77, and sit 5th ahead of round two as they aim for Olympic qualification.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Michael Duffy and Cinca 3 (Casall x Carthago) jumped a clear round for Ireland, finishing 18th.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Niels Bruynseels and Delux van T & L (Toulon x Landetto) compete individually for Belgium and rounded off Wednesday's top twenty after a clear round in 76.39 seconds.

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