Wellington, FL – March 12, 2010 – Saturday Night Lights at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival brought a crowd of over 4,200 spectators out to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center this weekend to watch Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa and Let’s Fly jump to victory in the $231,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix CSI 4*-W Presented by Bainbridge Companies. Pessoa earned the winning cut of prize money after an exciting jump-off of many of the top horses and riders in the world.
The FTI Winter Equestrian Festival’s ninth week of competition, sponsored by Bainbridge Companies, will conclude with the Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic on Sunday at 1 p.m. The 2011 WEF will continue through April 3 and award more than $6 million in prize money.
Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela designed tonight’s course for a field of 42 starters. Eight jumped clear in the first round to advance to the jump-off. Six of those eight were the top women riding for the United States followed up by two of the world’s best men from Great Britain and Brazil. The men were able to best the ladies tonight, taking the top two places with the only clear rounds over the short course.
The FEI World Cup Eventing 2011 series kicks off at Kihikihi in New Zealand on 7-10 April, when John Nicholson’s imaginative cross-country course will test the mettle of some of the world’s most talented horse and rider combinations.
This year’s series – which takes place at eight venues across Australasia, Europe and the UK – will once again run in similar fashion to the Meydan FEI Nations Cup in Jumping, with the rider topping the points table at the end of the season claiming the prestigious title of FEI World Cup Eventing champion 2011.
The points based system has proved extremely popular with riders as it opens up the series to those not able to travel long distances with their horses. Riders will gain points based on their performance and final placings at each venue. They will have to obtain a minimum of three FEI World Cup Eventing results during the series to be eligible for the title.
A STAR IS BORN ON A SPECIAL DAY IN GOTHENBURG – AND HER NAME IS ANGELICA by Louise Parkes
Gothenburg (SWE), 27 February 2011 – Swedish hearts were bursting with pride as a bright young super-star was born in the Scandinavium Arena at Gothenburg, Sweden this afternoon where local girl Angelica Augustsson galloped to victory in the penultimate qualifying round of the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping series. There was an outpouring of emotion in the aftermath, and even hardened veteran Ludger Beerbaum, who slotted into third behind runner-up Edwina Alexander from Australia, expressed his amazement at having taken part in one of the most thrilling competitions seen on the international circuit in recent history.
“For any sport it is fantastic to see very talented up-and-coming young people, and what we saw today was the cream – it doesn’t come better than this, and we will remember today for a very long time,” said the German legend.
HIGH PRAISE Dutch course designer Louis Konickx earned high praise from riders all weekend and produced another master-piece for today’s test which saw 12 through to the second-round jump-off. With three home runners amongst them, the Swedish interest was always going to be strong, but pathfinders 21 year old Douglas Lindelow and the mare Talina left the door open when hitting the penultimate oxer while fellow-countryman, Peder Fredricson, was eliminated with H&M Arctic Aurora Borealis when they fell at the fifth fence on the new track. This rustic oxer had been the last in the opening round and as the 38 year old rider galloped down to it, the distance just refused to come up right – Fredricson asked for a long stand-off, the grey gelding tried to chip in an extra stride and the result was a crashing fall that left a muted atmosphere around the ring despite no apparent damage to either horse or rider.
CORNELISSEN MAKES IT FOUR IN GOTHENBURG by Louise Parkes
Goteborg (SWE), 26 February 2011 – Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival recorded their fourth victory of the 2010/2011 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage season at Gothenburg, Sweden tonight and jumped to the top of the Western European League leaderboard ahead of the final qualifier on their home turf at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands in three weeks’ time.
The 32 year old rider and her 14 year old horse produced a more harmonious test than ever before, and Cornelissen declared herself delighted with the result. Sweden’s Patrik Kittel finished a close second however with a personal-best result from his stallion Watermill Scandic HBC while Germany’s Isabell Werth and Warum Nicht FRH had to settle for third.
In a competition that was very much “a game of two halves”, many of the early riders produced low scores. Ground Jury President, The Netherlands’ Wim Ernes, said, “Tonight we saw some bad tests… but the top riders did a good job.”
Driving fans will be treated to a thrilling Final for the 10th season of the FEI World Cup Driving series in Leipzig, Germany, from 27 April to 1 May 2011.Five of the seven four-in-hand drivers who will start in Leipzig have already won a World Cup round this season, highlighting the incredible level of skills for this year’s FEI World Cup Driving Final.
The finalists will all start from scratch and, as this year’s series was so tightly contested, it won’t be until the very last second of the Final on the afternoon of Sunday 1 May that the new World Cup Champion will be announced.
British-based Australian driver Boyd Exell – double World Cup champion and gold medallist at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky last year – will be aiming for a hat trick in Leipzig. Exell has won three out of the six competitions this season and was runner-up three times, but he will be facing up to the strongest ever indoor opponents.
Dutch driver Koos de Ronde, runner-up in the 2010 final and winner at this year’s FEI World Cup Driving competition in Mechelen for the third time in a row, has his sights set on the overall series title once again. De Ronde is a very fast driver and will certainly give Exell a run for his money in Leipzig.
SALZGEBER SWEEPS TO VICTORY IN NEUMUNSTER AS GERMAN RIDERS DOMINATE ONCE AGAIN by Louise Parkes
Neumunster (GER), 20 February 2011 – Ulla Salzgeber and Herzuf’s Erbe swept to their second victory in the Western European League of the 2010/2011 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage series in Neumunster, Germany today where fellow-Germans Isabell Werth and Helen Langehanenberg slotted into second and third places. Salzgeber has been in formidable form all season, placing herself in a prominent position on the leaderboard when winning the Central European League qualifier at Kaposvar in Hungary last October before coming out to win again at Frankfurt, Germany in December. And the 52 year old rider did it in style once more today, getting the edge over Werth with a performance that oozed professionalism, confidence, control and harmony and which restored her to pole position on the league table ahead of the final two qualifying rounds.
The Holstenhalle in Neumunster is an atmospheric venue that buzzes with the excitement of its informed and enthusiastic audience, so horses are tested to the limit. Despite the tension however, the 15 starters however produced work of the highest calibre. “We all love to work as a judge and to see spectators close to the riders,” said Ground Jury President Gary Rockwell afterwards. “But in Neumünster the atmosphere is extraordinary – you can feel the electricity and the enthusiasm for each competitor – it’s a lot of pressure!” he pointed out.
Dutch driver IJsbrand Chardon won last night’s FEI World Cup qualifier in Bordeaux in breath taking style. Wild card driver Chardon stayed ahead of Tomas Eriksson in second guaranteeing the Swede the sixth and last starting place for the Final in Leipzig. Werner Ulrich knocked two balls down in the winning round to finish third.
The atmosphere was superb on Saturday evening in the Palais des Expositions in Bordeaux. The drivers put on a perfect show, cheered on by the many enthusiastic spectators and the great music.
Second wild card for Coudry
As in Geneva, French four-in-hand driver Thibault Coudry had been given a wild card to compete in front of his home crowd in Bordeaux. The 30-year old farmer and truck driver drove a good round with his team of Polish warmblood horses and a French trotter. But the competition in Bordeaux was too strong this year for the 2010 winner of the French World Cup leg who ended in fourth.
Battle for Leipzig
Dutch driver Theo Timmerman, Sweden’s Fredrik Persson and Tomas Eriksson and Switzerland’s Daniel Würgler all had a last chance in Bordeaux to claim the sixth and last starting place for the Final in Leipzig. Würgler knocked three cones down in the course, designed by German course designer Falk Böhnisch, to lose his chance for Leipzig. Despite the use of one of Boyd Exell’s top horses Pascal in he lead of his team, Fredrik Persson could not manage to qualify for the Winning Round. By coming sixth, Persson also knew his chances for a starting place in the Leipzig line-up were gone. Timmerman had improved his team compared to the warm-up round, but he finished fifth despite his efforts.
WILY WEISHAUPT IS BEST IN BORDEAUX – by Louise Parkes
Bordeaux (FRA), 5 February 2011 – Philipp Weishaupt and the stallion Catoki brought the German tally of wins in the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Western European League qualifying series to a sensational six this evening at Bordeaux in France. The 25 year old rider from Munich was one of 12 in the thrilling second-round jump-off, and he steered a line against the clock that proved too good for the rest and brought him through the finish more than a half-second quicker than French runner-up Simon Delestre. Third place went to Beijing Olympic silver medallist Rolf-Goran Bengtsson from Sweden while Ireland’s latest super-star, Billy Twomey, was less than a second off the winning time when slotting into fourth.
Weishaupt was more than happy at the end of the day. “Those 20 points were very important to me,” he said. “I really wanted to get to the final in Leipzig, but I needed more points and now I think it’s possible so I’m very pleased!” he added. The Germans look a formidable force going to the final on their home turf. With six victories in the ten qualifying competitions staged to date, they will surely be the ones to beat when the action gets underway on April 27.
Leipzig (GER), 4 February 2010 – For the first time in the history of equestrian sport, four FEI World Cup Finals will be held under the same roof. The Rolex FEI World Cup Final Jumping, the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Final Dressage, the FEI World Cup Final Driving and the FEI World Cup Final Vaulting will all be held in the German city of Leipzig between 27 April and 1 May 2011.
A maximum of 43 riders from 14 qualifying leagues will line out for the Final of the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping series. And the host nation of Germany, the most prolific winners of the coveted title with eight victories in total and seven of those recorded over the last nine seasons, looks set to challenge strongly once again. Last weekend in Zurich (SUI), defending champion Marcus Ehning recorded the fifth German victory from the nine qualifying legs staged so far in the Western European League. Ehning is one of four riders who have clinched the trophy on three occasions during the 33-year history of this series which, this season, sees 132 qualifying competitions taking place around the globe.
At the Final, the fate of the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping title is decided over three tough competitions culminating in a thrilling Grand Prix on the last afternoon. It is the ultimate accolade in the sport of indoor international Jumping, and the one they all want to win.
EHNING MAKES IT FIVE FOR GERMANY AT ZURICH by Louise Parkes
Zurich (SUI), 30 January 2011 – Marcus Ehning brought the German tally to five wins in the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping series with a convincing victory riding Noltes Kuchengirl at the ninth leg in Zurich, Switzerland today. In an exciting seven-way jump-off against the clock, the defending champion pipped British birthday boy, 28 year old Ben Maher riding the rejuvenated Robin Hood W, while Australia’s Edwina Alexander and Cevo Itot du Chateau finished third.
Remarkably, two Spanish riders made the cut into the jump-off and the first of these, Pilar Cordon, slotted into fourth when double-clear with Nuage Bleu while German superstars Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Shutterfly had to settle for fifth with a single mistake against the clock. Today’s result however has promoted Michaels-Beerbaum to runner-up spot in the Western European League standings which continue to be led by World No. 1 Kevin Staut from France whose first-round double-error proved costly today.