World of Showjumping
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Richard Vogel on flying form at CHIO Aachen: Triumphs in Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe

Wednesday, 03 July 2024
CHIO Aachen 2024

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Richard Vogel and Cepano Baloubet won Thursday evening’s prestigious CSIO5* 1.60m Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe at CHIO Aachen. All photos © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ.


Text © World of Showjumping



Only hours after taking the top honours in the Prize of Handwerk at the 2024-edition of CHIO Aachen, Germany’s Richard Vogel celebrated his second victory of the day as he triumphed in Wednesday evening’s prestigious CSIO5* 1.60m Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe. "Maybe we should stop here," Vogel joked at the press conference afterwards.

Vogel was a favourite for the win, and came full of confidence with Cepano Baloubet (Chaman x Stakkato’s Highlight) – who he won last year’s 1.55m Allianz Prize with at Soers. With full belief in the 10-year-old gelding’s capabilities, Vogel swept all competition aside and was simply in a league of his own in the first qualifier for Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix – one of the four Majors in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – which had a 200,000 Euro prize purse. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. "The atmosphere in this class is simply amazing, with the lights, all the spectators," Vogel said.

Frank Rothenberger’s fourteen-fence track resulted in twelve clear rounds from the 44 horse-and-rider combinations at start. Much to the delight of the home crowd at Soers, it was Christian Kukuk (GER) and Just Be Gentle (Tyson x Ticallux Verte) who delivered the first clear round as 5th to go. When Cian O’Connor (IRL) posted a clear aboard Maurice (Thunder vd Zuuthoeve x Eros Platiere) shortly after, a jump-off was secured, and joining in were McLain Ward (USA) and Callas (Casall x Coriano), Kendra Claricia Brinkop (GER) and In Time (Biscayo x Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve), Katrin Eckermann (GER) and Iron Dames Cala Mandia NRW (Capistrano 2 x Valentino 240), Jana Wargers (GER) and Dorette (Dollar du Murier x Fighting Alpha 3), Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Albfuehren's Iashin Sitte (Bamako de Muze x Tinka's Boy), Patrick Stühlmeyer (GER) and Drako de Maurge (Kannan x Fusain du Defey *HN), Richard Vogel (GER) and Cepano Baloubet, Yuri Mansur (BRA) and QH Alfons Santo Antonio (Aromats x False Pass), Thibeau Spits (BEL) and Clear Heart (Clarimo x Heartbreaker), as well as Mario Stevens (GER) and Starissa FRH (Stakkato Gold x Quidam's Rubin).

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. "My mare jumped spectacular, I am not disappointed," second-placed Ward said.

With no less than seven German riders in the jump-off, hopes were high of yet another home win at Soers and the host’s own did certainly not disappoint. The first to really bring serious pulse to the jump-off however was McLain Ward who pushed the spectators to the edge of their seats when taking out a stride on the line from the Allianz-upright to the Euro-oxer – somehow reaching what seemed like an impossible long six strides, with Callas giving her all to clock a new leading time of 44.06 seconds. One rider later, Steve Guerdat showed that even on the seven it was possible to go faster than Ward, but unfortunately a rail on the penultimate vertical fell – resulting in four faults in a time of 43.39 seconds.

Following Guerdat, Vogel entered the ring to roaring cheers and ovations from the crowds. As he set off, there was no doubt that he was going to chase Ward’s time. Unlike Ward, Vogel went for the seven rather than the six, but like Guerdat he did not lose time and went into the lead with his 42.44 seconds – causing the spectators to go wild at Soers. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Jana Wargers and Dorette jumped to third.

Unsurprisingly, none of those to come could do anything about Vogel, but they all managed to break into the top five. Jana Wargers finished third behind Ward with her time of 44.07 seconds, followed by Kendra Claricia Brinkop in fourth and Cian O’Connor in fifth.

"All the horses are jumping super and feeling in great shape," Vogel said about his fantastic start to the week. "The atmosphere in this class is simply amazing, with the lights, all the spectators... Everyone feels that this is the first proper class, the first qualification for the Grand Prix, so everyone is a bit extra focused. The classes before feel like a warm-up, and this is the class where everyone wants to be in the best shape. So, for sure, the atmosphere outside is already special, and when you get into the ring, even more – it helps us perform better, it kind of gives us wings."

"I am very happy with how Cepano jumped, he was really fighting for me today," Vogel continued. "He won the Allianz Prize here last year, so I knew he is familiar with the arena and feels good here. Some horses grow at the Soers and some get shy almost, but he grows when he is in there and I could feel it again today. In the jump-off, he helped me out – I saw McLain and we are good friends. When I am in Florida at the beginning of the year, I am allowed to train with him, so I know when he is in the lead, he is tough to beat. That gave a bit extra pressure, and I wanted to win the battle. I didn't get everything as perfect as I wanted to, and Cepano helped me out."

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. "I am very happy with how Cepano jumped, he was really fighting for me today," Vogel said.

"You are always trying to win, so of course there is a little frustration," the second-placed Ward commented. "However, when the horses perform the way all the top horses did tonight, and in particular my mare – she jumped spectacular – I am not disappointed. I pushed Richard to the limit, I hope, and made it not so easy for him. We have developed a great professional relationship and a really great friendship, and that is what sport is all about; I think it makes us both better as competitors. I am proud – as some of the Germans might have been a little baffled about the cap he is wearing – to have had some influence on his career." 

"I think amongst the riders, we often say that this is the second hardest class of the show to be frank," Ward continued. "The jump-off track actually set up great for me, because I thought there were places where I could leave out strides. I wanted to do one less from one to two, but it did not really show itself, and I wanted to do one less to the last, that maybe was possible and I think it maybe made the difference, but it looked a bit of a 'Hail Mary', to be honest... So, there are always things that you could do better, but I am thrilled with my horse and I am grateful for the support tonight. Walking into the ring tonight, looking around, Aachen never gets old." 


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