Hans-Dieter Dreher and Embassy ll won the ninth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series on home ground at Leipzig, Germany today. (FEI/Karl-Heinz Freiler)
Leipzig (GER), 18 January 2015 – Hans-Dieter Dreher and the fabulous stallion, Embassy ll, produced an exhibition of spectacular jumping to win the ninth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ 2014/2015 Western European League series on home ground at Leipzig, Germany today.
The handsome 14-year-old horse was on top form when clinching victory from last-to-go spot in the five-way jump-off against the clock. And the spectators went wild at the end of a superb but super-tough afternoon of sport during which Frank Rothenberger’s first-round track tested the mettle of the very best.
It was an unexpected final line-up, with Norway’s Geir Gulliksen and Edesa S Banjan finishing second ahead of Italy’s Luca Moneta and Connery in third while Germany’s Felix Hassmann and Horse Gym’s Balzaci were fourth. Sweden’s Douglas Lindelow and Casello filled fifth place while Frenchman, Kevin Staut, was sixth with the quickest four-fault result in the first round.
Big and bold
Rothenberger’s track was typically uncomplicated but big and bold. Key to success, as the winning rider pointed out, was the courage of the horse and the conviction of the rider. “It wasn’t enough to have a good jumper today; you needed a fighter as well,” Dreher said.
Enormous oxers tested nerve from the outset, and the scope required to clear the triple combination at fence six, where the opening triple bar was followed by a massive oxer and then a vertical, was exceptional. And riders then had to gather up their onward-bound mounts to cope with the short three-stride distance to the following 1.60m vertical at seven which hit the floor regularly.
The blue vertical at fence three was influential, with Ireland’s Thomas Ryan eliminated with Quite Zero here, while Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (Cantinero) and Switzerland’s Jane Richard-Philips (Quister de Guidenboom) also endured a single refusal at this one.
It was a fascinating contest from the outset, with Moneta and Connery lulling onlookers into a false sense of security with a brilliant round when first to go, but those clears would prove very elusive indeed. With the time-allowed set at 70 seconds the Italian was initially awarded a time-fault. However, when it was re-set at 72 seconds, the pair was pathfinders against the clock, and they never flinched, setting the target with another great run in 38.40 seconds. However, they clearly lost a little time on the rollback to the double at fence nine when the first element didn’t come up on the perfect stride. It came up much better for Gulliksen who went into the lead in 37.72 seconds, and when Hassmann and Lindelow both left two fences on the floor only Dreher stood between the Norwegian and a career-defining success. But the German wasn’t going to let this winning opportunity slip from his grasp.
“I didn’t have much luck in last year’s qualifier in Leipzig. I was riding well but didn’t win, but today I had some good luck to help me along the way!” he said afterwards. It didn’t look like luck; it looked like pure class as Embassy ll answered his every call including a big ask at the final vertical to clear the line more than a second-and-a-half quicker than Gulliksen for the win.
“I love this horse – he has such a big heart!” said Dreher afterwards.
Gulliksen was delighted with his result too. “My podium finish today goes to show that if you keep trying you will eventually give yourself a chance to succeed!” he said. “I knew my horse wasn’t going to be as fast as Hans’, but as long as I didn’t knock one down I would have a chance,” he added. Talking about Edesa S Banjan’s career, he explained, “He was ridden from the ages of 7 to 11 in 1.30m classes. Marlon Zanotelli then started riding him at Grand Prix level. I actually bought him without riding him first and I actually didn’t like him in the beginning! I was then told by one of the guys working on the sales team that he needs to be taken to competitions. I didn’t believe him at first. I took him out to compete and he was warming up fine, nothing special. As soon as I was 2 meters away from the in-gate, he then woke up and completely transformed. I jumped clear! He really is a competition horse after all!” he said.
Moneta, meanwhile, continues to add to his growing fan-base. His unusual riding style, with hands held high and reins very short, sets him apart, as does his extraordinary bond with his talented and free-running string. “I am so proud of my horse,” he said of Connery who proved so difficult that his owner gave him “for free” to the Italian horseman. “He was 10 or 11 years old, and at the beginning he was very stressed and emotional, but we built our relationship step-by-step and now he is getting great. It’s still hard for him to compete in such crowded arenas with so much atmosphere,” Moneta explained.
Lying 18th on the Western European League after today’s competition, the Italian still has work to do if he is to make it to the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Final in Las Vegas, USA in April but, on 36 points, Dreher has qualification in his sights as does Gulliksen who has now accumulated 38.
For further information on the ninth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League at Leipzig, Germany, visit website www.engarde.de or contact Press Officer Andreas Kerstan, Email andreas.Kerstan@comtainment.de, Tel +49 177 75 32 624.
The next leg takes place in Zurich, Switzerland on Sunday 25 January 2015. For details of the Swiss fixture, check out website www.mercedes-csi.ch or contact Press Officer Roman Gasser, Email email@example.com, Tel +41 79 635 5005.
Full result here.
Facts and Figures:
Leipzig in Germany presented the ninth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series today.
40 starters, 12 from the host nation.
5 qualified for the second-round jump-off against the clock.
Winning rider was 46-year-old Hans-Dieter Dreher from Germany partnering the spectacular 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion Embassy ll.
Today’s result has promoted Dreher to 12th in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League standings.
Course designer was Germany’s Frank Rothenberger.
10 horse-and-rider combinations missed out on the jump-off when collecting four faults in the first round.
The most influential fences in the first-round course were the triple combination at fence 6 and the following vertical at fence 7.
7 riders decided to retire in the first round.
1 rider, Ireland’s Thomas Ryan, was eliminated for two refusals at fence three with Quite Zero.
After 9 legs of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League, a total of 126 athletes have participated in the series with 75 of those collecting points.
There are 3 further legs to run in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League – at Zurich, Switzerland next Sunday 25 January, at Bordeaux, France on Saturday 7 February and at Gothenburg, Sweden on Sunday 1 March.
The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Final will take place in Las Vegas, USA from 15-19 April 2015.
Geir Gulliksen (NOR): “This is one of the best shows on the circuit; I always want to come here. When the NF asks me where I want to go, I always say Leipzig! Volker (Wulff) is the best Organiser out there. He works for the riders, not for the money, and always tries to do the best for them. From a rider’s point of view, he is the master!”
Luca Moneta (ITA): “It’s always nice to jump a double-clear in such a big competition. This is particularly true when you are competing in Germany, most definitely the best Jumping country in the world, as the course is really tough and technical.”
Hans-Dieter Dreher (GER), when asked if he intends to qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Final which will take place in Las Vegas, USA in April: “Yes, I will try! I go to Zurich next week with my other horse and I will try to get another good placing.”
Volker Wulff (Event Director, Leipzig): I am very happy with the whole class, the whole show. We have had four wonderful days. We are very satisfied and we have a future of at least six more years following our contract renewal with Sparkasse. Thanks to my whole team, the sponsors and the riders for the wonderful sport. With Hans winning today, as a German, I am extra happy because it also means we will hopefully be in the front pages of the newspapers tomorrow morning!”
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Full standings here.
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