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.
STAUT CONTINUES TO LEAD STANDINGS AS ROLEX JUMPING SERIES RESUMES IN ZURICH by Louise Parkes
Zurich (SUI), 27 January 2011 – World No. 1, Kevin Staut, continues to lead the Western European League standings as the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping series resumes this weekend in Zurich following a four-week break. And, although he is already well-qualified for the final which will take place in Leipzig, Germany from 27 April to 1 May, the Frenchman is listed amongst the star-studded field of competitors at the popular Swiss fixture.
Riders from 19 countries will line out in the preliminary competition which will decide Sunday’s start-list, and the home contingent includes 2010 Zurich champion Steve Guerdat who, despite five outings so far this season, has collected only 15 qualifying points and has plenty more to do if he is to make the cut into the final. Staut has collected a massive 87 points so far, thanks to good results at all but one of the qualifiers to date and to his victory in Geneva in December. Riders are likely to need at least 40 points to have the chance of finishing within the top-18 qualifying group when the Western European league draws to a close at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands at the end of March.
CORNELISSEN PIPS WERTH IN A THRILLER AT AMSTERDAM by Louise Parkes
Amsterdam (NED), 22 January 2011 – In one of the toughest battles so far this season, Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival held on to win the seventh leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage series in Amsterdam, The Netherlands today. Winner of yesterday’s Grand Prix, the Dutch star was firm favourite going into the competition. But Germany’s Isabell Werth pushed her all the way with a great performance from Warum Nicht while Sweden’s Patrick Kittel and Watermill Scandic finished a close third.
Underlining the quality of today’s competition, just over six points separated the top seven riders and it is clearly now shaping up to a classic finale in Leipzig, Germany in three months time. Kittel showed however that the result may not necessarily be decided between the traditional protagonists from Holland and Germany. On today’s form, he will be chasing the Swedish dream of measuring up to the third-place finish of Jan Brink and Briar at the 2006 final in Amsterdam and even pushing for the ultimate accolade achieved by Louise Nathhorst and LRF Walk on Top on her home turf in Gothenburg back in 1998.
REEM ACRA SERIES RE-COMMENCES IN AMSTERDAM TOMORROW – Cornelissen favourite after victory in today’s Grand Prix
Amsterdam (NED), 21 January 2011 – The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen looks set to take the seventh leg of the 2010/2011 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage season by storm when the series re-commences on her home turf in Amsterdam tomorrow after partnering the fabulous 14 year old gelding Jerich Parzival to a clear-cut victory in today’s Grand Prix at the Dutch fixture. Cornellisen had an advantage of more than four percentage points over runner-up Patrick Kittel riding Watermill Scandic for Sweden, and all five judges – Holland’s Mrs. E. Mouw and Mr. W. Ernes, Mr. J. M. Roudier from France, Belgium’s Mr. J. van Daele and Great Britain’s Mr. S. Clarke – put her in No. 1 spot.
With only three further qualifying legs remaining before the final which kicks off in Leipzig, Germany at the end of April the pressure is mounting with every round, and Amsterdam attracted a strong line-up of 20 top dressage contenders. The top-15 from today’s Grand Prix have qualified for tomorrow’s Freestyle and amongst the seven flying the host nation flag will be Hans Peter Minderhoud who secured maximum points at the sixth leg in Mechelen, Belgium in December. This morning, however, he had to settle for eighth place with IPS Tango, while it was team-mate Sander Marijnissen who produced the second-best Dutch result when slotting in just ahead of him in seventh, riding Moedwil.
Koos de Ronde did it again. The Dutch golden team member of Kentucky has won the FEI World Cup Driving competition in Mechelen for the third time in a row. De Ronde beat Hungary’s Jozsef Dobrovitz with an exciting fast and clear round to put the pressure on last-to-go and wild card driver Boyd Exell. But the World Champion from Australia was unable to stay clear and left the arena with 15 penalty points. When the scores were finally tallied, De Ronde was declared the deserved winner.
Charley is back After wins in 2008 and 2009 in the Nekkerhal just 140 kilometres from his home in The Netherlands, Koos de Ronde was determined to be the best again in Mechelen. Koos was very pleased to be able to use his black horse Charley in the lead of his team again after having to replace him at Budapest due to injury. De Ronde put his team in the highest gear from the start and was the only driver with two clear rounds.
Too generous Boyd Exell, who had received one of the three wild cards from the organisers, was last to go in the Winning Round after a very fast first round. Koos had asked him to be generous before he went into the fully packed arena, but Boyd explained afterwards that he had not planned to be that generous! Boyd, who had swapped his leaders around, went too fast in tight places and knocked three balls down.
KUERTEN KEEPS THE BELGIANS AT BAY ON THEIR HOME TURF AT MECHELEN by Louise Parkes
Mechelen BEL, 30 December 2010 – Ireland’s Jessica Kuerten fended off a powerful challenge from the host nation contingent to scoop maximum points in the eighth leg of the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping series at Mechelen in Belgium this afternoon. From a starting field of 38 only four went into the second-round jump-off, and the 41 year old German-based rider snatched victory when second-last to go against the clock riding Lady Georgina Forbes’ Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois.
“It was a very special win, and I feel quite emotional,” Kuerten said afterwards. “We really wanted to win, we were unbelievably motivated and we had to go very fast to beat Gregory Wathalet. Winning this and the Queen’s Cup on Tuesday has made it a fairytale week!” she added. Belgium’s Wathalet took runner-up spot with Sea Coast Cortes C while his fellow-countrymen Jos Lansink (Casper Van Spieveld) and Niels Bruynseels (NASA) filled third and fourth places respectively as the home riders put on a great show in front of their own crowd in the packed Nekkerhal Arena.