Boyd Exell (AUS) flew to his second victory of this season in the FEI World Cup Driving competition in Stuttgart. The World Cup and World champion drove an impeccable and extremely fast round with his new indoor marathon carriage and new harness, cheered by the enthusiastic crowd in the Schleyer Halle.
Dutch force Dutch drivers Koos de Ronde and IJsbrand Chardon qualified for the Winning Round and their main goal was to put the pressure on Boyd Exell, whose parents had come over from Australia to watch their son perform. Kentucky silver medallist Chardon set a fast time but knocked a ball down, giving his compatriot Koos de Ronde some air. De Ronde however was a bit confused by the different course in the Winning Round and drove an extra circle in the marathon obstacle. But being a true sportsman, De Ronde decided to keep driving as fast as he could and beat Chardon’s score by almost three seconds.
Verona (ITA), 7 November 2010 – The Netherlands’ Jeroen Dubbeldam broke the German stranglehold on the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping series when delivering a sensational victory in Verona, Italy this afternoon. German riders dominated at the first three legs at Oslo (NOR), Helsinki (FIN) and Lyon (FRA) so far this season, but the flying Dutchman set an impossible target when second to go in today’s thrilling 10-horse jump-off and couldn’t be caught despite the best efforts of the world-class field that followed him.
His winning margin was a narrow one however as Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, winner with Checkmate just a week ago in Lyon, came dangerously close to making it a back-to-back double with a superb performance from the 17 year old Shutterfly who was only fractionally slower against the clock. And Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Casall La Silla finished third in the star-studded line-up. Dubbeldam was crowned Olympic champion in Sydney (AUS) in 2000, Michaels-Beerbaum’s many successes include three Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping titles and, most recently, team Jumping gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, USA, while Bengtsson took individual silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Also in the top ten today were Carsten-Otto Nagel (4th) who was a member of that German gold medal winning side last month, Ireland’s Billy Twomey (5th) who finished individually 11th in Kentucky, and the man who continues to wear the Rolex armband as No. 1 Rider in the World Rankings, Kevin Staut from France (6th). This truly was a line-up of champions.
MEREDITH AND CHECKMATE STEAL THE LIMELIGHT AT LYON by Louise Parkes
Lyon (FRA), 31 October 2010 – Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum recorded Germany’s third consecutive victory of the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping season when topping the line-up at Lyon in France this afternoon following a great performance from Checkmate. And it was a very special victory for the multiple-champion who most recently helped the German team to gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, USA.
“My last World Cup ride was in Las Vegas in 2009 – I have been out of the indoor sport for almost two years now so this was a big day for me today, and a great day for me too!” pointed out the 40 year old rider. And her win wasn’t easily achieved. She had the best of the draw when last to go in the nine-horse jump-off, but she had to chase the super-tight target time set by The Netherlands’ Gerco Schroder in a competition that was filled with surprises. Not the least of these was the third-place finish for Colombia’s Rene Lopez who nearly brought the house down with the excitement he created during his race against the clock with his brave mare Noblesse Des Tess.
EXELL PUTS THE PRESSURE ON IN HANNOVER by Cindy Timmer
Hannover (GER) 31 October 2010 – Australian Boyd Exell laid down a marker for his rivals as the FEI World Cup Driving season got underway in Germany.
The Double World Cup Champion and recent World Four-in-Hand Champion won the first competition of the season in Hannover, finishing ahead of Hungary’s József Dobrovitz and IJsbrand Chardon from the Netherlands.
The 10th season of the FEI World Cup Driving kicked off traditionally during the German Classics show where the drivers and their horses received a warm welcome from the enthusiastic spectators at the near-capacity Hannover Messe Halle.
Lyon (FRA), 29 October 2010 – Isabell Werth made it a back-to-back double of victories when winning the second leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage series at Lyon in France this evening. Just five days ago the German rider topped the opening round at Odense, Denmark with a great performance from Satchmo, and tonight she brought out her 2007 series champion Warum Nicht to head the line-up once again.
“I was really satisfied with Hannes tonight,” she said, referring to her 14 year old chestnut gelding. “He had a lot of power and he felt very impressive,” she added.
Runner-up was her compatriot and another former World Cup champion Ulla Salzgeber whose 11 year old gelding Herzruf’s Erbe has re-opened the door into the very top level of this demanding sport for his 52 year old rider. Salzgeber, who was Dressage World Cup champion in 2001 and 2002 with the legendary Rusty, has been waiting patiently in the wings for another special ride. “After I retired Rusty I always said I would only come back when I had a horse that was good enough to go the top again, and now I have one!” she said proudly after finishing less than one full mark behind the winning score. Third place went to the very pleased Valentina Truppa from Italy with Chablis. “This is my very first World Cup competition, so I am very happy with my result!” said the rider who competes in the uniform of the Caribinieri.
AHLMANN MAKES IT A DOUBLE AT HELSINKI by Louise Parkes
Helsinki (FIN), 24 October 2010 – Germany’s Christian Ahlmann and the stallion Taloubet Z made it two-in-a-row when storming to victory in the second leg of the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping series at Helsinki, Finland this afternoon. “I’m very lucky to have such a quick horse,” said the 35 year old rider who, having already taken the main honours in the opening leg at Oslo, Norway a week ago, has now accumulated 40 points and is well on the road to the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final on his home turf in Leipzig, Germany next April.
From a starting field of 39 there were 11 into the jump-off today, and Ahlmann set the pace at the halfway stage and simply could not be caught. Further reinforcing the strength of the German challenge, it was fellow-countryman Philipp Weishaupt who slotted into runner-up spot with Catoki while Holland’s Leon Thijssen and Tyson finished third. The Dutch duo look set to make a big impression on this indoor jumping season as the 10 year old stallion, who finished fifth a week ago, was again one of the real eye-catchers of the competition.
WERTH AND SATCHMO WIN OPENING LEG OF REEM ACRA FEI WORLD CUP DRESSAGE SEASON by Claartje van Andel
Odense (DEN), 24 October 2010 – German dressage ace Isabell Werth threw down the gauntlet with a clear victory in the first leg of the 2010/2011 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage series in Odense, Denmark today.
Last to go, and chasing the target set by Denmark’s Princess Nathalie Zu Sayn Wittgenstein who pipped her for the honours in yesterday’s Grand Prix, Werth produced a score of 81.00% to reverse the placings, while The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud once again steered IPS Tango into third.
Riders from eight nations qualified for today’s Freestyle competition but it was clear the host country’s Zu Sayn Wittgenstein was going to be the one to beat. Yesterday she set the arena alight with a wonderful performance from her 13 year old gelding Digby, and such was the jubilation of the home crowd that the arena commentator had to call on the excited spectators to quiet down in order to allow the next competitor to take their turn. Today the crowd went wild with joy once again as the 35 year old rider, who became a mother this summer but who is still showing as much of a competitive edge as ever, produced a personal-best Freestyle score of 80.05% when fourth-last into the arena.
There is a new spring in the step of the FEI World Cup Dressage Western European League as it begins its second quarter-century with the 2010/2011 opening leg at Odense, Denmark later this week. The recent announcement of a three-year sponsorship deal with fashion designer Reem Acra, who puts her name to both the Western European season and the overall series final, hails the blossoming of a fresh era in the history of this sport which has enjoyed astronomic growth in popularity in recent times.
Largely responsible for the upsurge of interest in top-class dressage has been a single horse-and-rider combination who won their way into the hearts of horse-lovers all around the world over the last 18 months during a sensational record-breaking spree. The Netherlands’ Edward Gal and the fabulous black stallion Moorlands Totilas have, in terms of competitiveness, appeal and pure ability, raised the bar beyond all expectations and transformed the once-demure dressage world into a showcase of extreme excitement. It was confirmed last week that the stallion has been sold however, and so his partnership with Gal is ended. But their legacy is a raised profile for the sport on which they have left an indelible impression.
AHLMANN WINS AS GERMAN RIDERS DOMINATE OPENING ROLEX LEG AT OSLO by Louise Parkes
Oslo (NOR) 17 October 2010 – Christian Ahlmann won the opening leg of the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Western European League series at Oslo in Norway this afternoon where German riders scooped the top three places. And Ahlmann’s victory was all-the-more creditable for the fact that the 36 year old rider suffered the tragic loss of one of his top horses, the nine year old stallion Calvados Z, earlier in the day.
“For sure today it wasn’t easy for me to ride and to concentrate on my job,” Ahlmann said after completing his victory gallop with his 10 year old stallion Taloubet Z, “but Taloubet really did his very best for me.” It was the German master, Ludger Beerbaum, who slotted into second place ahead of Lars Nieberg in third. The first non-German in the line-up was fourth-placed Frenchman Kevin Staut, who headed Holland’s Leon Thijssen in fifth place.