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Swedish stronghold in Herning ahead of Friday’s team final

Thursday, 11 August 2022
ECCO FEI World Championships 2022

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Peder Fredricson and H&M All In delivered another clear for Sweden, that lead the way in Herning ahead of Friday's team final at the Agria FEI Jumping World Championship. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

 

Text © World of Showjumping

 


 

The Swedish team showed their strength in Thursday’s second round of the Agria FEI Jumping World Championship, and added nothing to their score from Wednesday’s opening competition – keeping their pole position ahead of Friday’s team final. France also delivered three tremendous clear rounds, to continue to sit second, while the Germans jumped themselves up from sixth to third ahead of Friday’s medal decider. 

Louis Konickx's fourteen-fence track asked plenty of questions, and 21 of the 102 horse-and-rider combinations in the class managed to answer all of them. While faults spread out, it was especially the triple combination at 9abc, as well as the final line with a vertical and a tall, wide oxer at 13 and 14 which followed the open water at 12, that caused several mistakes. “The variety in the horse-and-rider combinations was still wide today, so we wanted it technically tough but also giving the riders the freedom to ride their own course – so there were several related distances where they could make their own decisions,” Konickx explained. “The approach to the triple combination was forward, and although the distances in it were fluent you needed scope and carefulness from the horses – they had to jump enough. If you were not totally correct to the oxer at a, it had its effect to the upright at b, and then even more to the oxer at c. To the last line, the riders had some freedom to build up their speed, but if they had a wild jump on the open water, they had to really adjust their horses before the vertical at 13 and then the last, big, wide oxer was always waiting there at 14.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ “It is a nice thing to be in the lead; in a way it is in our hands now – which is a good feeling,” Swedish Chef d’Equipe Henrik Ankarcrona said. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Today’s round was decisive for which ten teams would move on to tomorrow’s final, and the reigning Olympic Champions Sweden lived up to expectations when delivering another three clears to keep their lead on a score of 3.69. World no. one Henrik von Eckermann and King Edward (Edward x Feo) were picture perfect as Swedish pathfinders, and made the course look deceptively easy with their clear round. Jens Fredricson and Markan Cosmopolit (Cohiba x Calido I) also delivered their second clear of the championship, showing some serious fighting spirit down the last line while carried on by the crowds that lived every jump with them. Malin Baryard-Johnsson and H&M Indiana (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Animo's Hallo) came back strong from their eight faults yesterday to only have a rail down on the last oxer today, and these four faults could eventually be dropped when Peder Fredricson piloted H&M All In (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Andiamo Z) to another clear as though it was just a walk in the park.

“It is a nice thing to be in the lead; in a way it is in our hands now – which is a good feeling,” Swedish Chef d’Equipe Henrik Ankarcrona said. “However, it is so tight that anything can happen. I am happy with all four horses jumping fantastic today – better than yesterday. Especially Malin had a good round today, which I am thrilled about. We try not to think too much about being in the lead and just focus on the rounds and the technical parts. It is better to not think about the bigger picture now but focus on the details instead. Our goal is to be on the top of the podium tomorrow night, and that is a very high goal to set. If you put a goal like that, there is a big risk that you won’t get there. However, the way the horses have been jumping, we want to go all the way – so why should we not say it? We have to take it one day at the time though, and so far it looks good, but anything can happen.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Clear again for France, and still in the lead individually: Julien Epaillard and Caracole de La Roque. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Like the Swedes, the French also kept their cool. Simon Delestre and the incredible Cayman Jolly Jumper (Hickstead x Quaprice Bois Margot) impressed again with another fantastic clear round, getting the French off to the best possible start. However, it fell apart for Gregory Cottard and his feisty Bibici (Norman Pre Noir x Nelfo du Mesnil) who lowered three rails, and now the pressure was on the two last French riders. The first of them was Julien Epaillard, overnight leader individually with Caracole de La Roque (Zandor Z x Kannan), who showed no nerves to post another solid clear round for his team. Kevin Staut was French anchor today, and after a scary fall in Wednesday’s first round, those watching were holding their breath as the former world no. one got underway – could he bounce back after such a difficult start? Staut showed no sign of hesitation or nerves though, and guided Scuderia 1918 Viking d’la Rousserie (Quaprice Bois Margot x Apache d'Adriers) convincingly around to deliver an impressive clear – keeping the French on their score of 5.44. 

“My round was not exactly how I wanted, my mare was fresh today and I did not have the best control,” Epaillard said. “However, she is amazing and jumped super – without the best position she still has the best quality. It was not easy to find a decision on the distance to the triple combination, finally I decided to do seven but only when I was inside the ring and not before I went in. The rest of the course was clear for me before, only this line to the triple combination was not. My horse feels super fresh, she is in good form, we will see what happens – we will try to fight.” 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Kevin Staut and Scuderia 1918 Viking d’la Rousserie came back strong after yesterday's fall, and jumped clear for France, that sit second ahead of the team final. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

On his clear comeback after yesterday’s fall, Staut said: “When something like yesterday happens – falling – and you have to wait the whole day before riding, it is tough. I think it is also really difficult because Viking is jumping his first championship, and he only did his first five-star Nations Cup in Sopot a few months ago so it is really a short time for him to discover everything and for sure we started with the worst case possible yesterday. For me, with my experience from previous championships, knowing that can happen, coming back focused and strong can help your horse. Honestly, I rode many top horses in my career; but this type like Viking – he is such a strong character coming back like nothing happened yesterday, answering every single ask from me. He is so clever, and to be clever is one thing, but to use this and give his best, to produce rounds like today, it is really emotional for me to have a horse that can do this. I am for sure super happy for the whole team, we are in good position for tomorrow even if it is a lot of work to do again. And to be serious, for me and all the people around me, my owners and my groom Ludovic, who I think had the worst night ever, now we are back and it is also the magic of our sport to be the last one day and to come back and produce something great the next – so I am happy.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Marcus Ehning and Stargold jumped one of two clears for Germany today, to help the team climb to third ahead of Friday's final in Herning. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Belgium came into today’s round sitting third, but dropped down on the standings to fifth on a score of 13.49 as Jos Verlooy had a fall in the triple combination, which meant Nicola Philippaerts and Gregory Wathelet’s four faults had to come into count as only Jerome Guery and Quel Homme de Hus (Quidam de Revel x Candillo) managed to repeat their clear from the first day. 

Germany on the other hand climbed up after clear rounds from Marcus Ehning on Stargold (Stakkato Gold x Lord Weingard), as well as Andre Thieme on DSP Chakaria (Chap x Askari), making it possible to discharge Jana Warger’s four faults with Limbridge (Limbus x Cambridge), only adding Christian Ahlmann and Dominator 2000 Z’s (Diamant de Semilly x Cassini I) rail down to their score – bringing them to a total of 11.76. The Dutch also came back strong, going up from eight to fourth. Maikel van der Vleuten on Beauville Z N.O.P. (Bustique x Jumpy Des Fontaines) and Jur Vrieling on Long John Silver (Lasino x Corrado) both posted clears, which meant the Dutch could drop Harrie Smolders' rail down with Monaco N.O.P. (Cassini II x Contender), adding only four faults from Sanne Thijssen on Con Quidam RB (Quinar Z x Cardino) to make their team total 13.31. The last five teams making it to Friday’s team final were Great Britain (14.66), Switzerland (14.83), Canada (15.56), Ireland (17.15) and Brazil (17.29). Reigning World Champions USA missed out on the final when finishing on a score of 21.06.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Great Britain's Scott Brash sits second individually with Hello Jefferson. "I feel good moving forward, we are in a very good position but there is a lot of jumping to be done," Brash said. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Individually, France’s Julien Epaillard and Great Britain’s Scott Brash added nothing to their scores – and still sit first and second with only 0.23 penalties separating them. Sweden’s Peder Fredricson and Henrik von Eckermann jumped themselves one spot up on the standings, to rank three and four with scores of 0.40 and 0.58 respectively, while Canada’s Tiffany Foster now sits fifth after posting her second clear of the championship to keep her score of 0.95. It’s tight in the top though, with only 4.36 penalties between Epaillard and Martin Fuchs who is now rank fifteen.

Sitting second with Hello Jefferson (Cooper vd Heffinck x Irco Mena), and breathing Epaillard in the neck, Scott Brash said: “I feel good moving forward, we are in a very good position but there is a lot of jumping to be done. My experience tells me that you just need to stay focused on the rounds, stay focused on your horse and keep jumping the jumps clear. It is easy to get your head down if things go wrong, and things change around. Just because you have one down on the first day, it is not the end of the world, you can get back up – anything can happen in a championship, and we still have a long way to go. You just got to stay focused and do your job, do right by your horse.”

 

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