Tag Archives: Michael Jung

Michael Jung Tops Dressage after Day One at Burghley

Photo: Michael Jung with La Biosthetique Sam FBW. (FEI/Libby Law)

GBR’s Gemma Tattersall in overnight second with Arctic Soul and Mackenna Shea (USA) third on Landioso

World number one Michael Jung (GER) has yet again set the target with a beautifully ridden dressage test on his old friend La Biosthetique Sam, now 17, to take an early lead at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, sixth and final leg of the 2016/2017 FEI Classics™.

The double Olympic champions, winners here in 2015 and current FEI Classics™ series leader, impressed the ground jury — Martin Plewa (president, GER), Katarzyna Konarski (POL) and Harry Payne (GBR) — to earn the only sub-40 mark of the day, 38.9 penalties, and lead over British national champions Gemma Tattersall and the former racehorse Arctic Soul by 4.1 penalties.

“Sam is on good form. You have to be 100% perfect in all es to win and this was not our best dressage performance, but I think the cross-country is tough enough to change the result.” — Michael Jung (GER), first-day dressage leader

Tattersall, fifth individually at the FEI European Championships in Poland recently, has worked hard at containing the sensitive thoroughbred Arctic Soul in the dressage. This represents a considerable improvement on their mark of 55.8 at Badminton when brilliant performances in the jumping phases elevated them a remarkable 60 places to eventual seventh.

“I’m chuffed to bits. Arctic Soul is very shy, so the key is getting him to feel confident, rideable and relaxed. Today he allowed me to place him so that all his movements were correct.” — Gemma Tattersall (GBR), second after dressage

American rider Mackenna Shea, 24, has made a great start to her first run at Burghley and is in third place on a score of 46.1 on Landioso, a 15-year-old Dutch-bred gelding that she has produced since he was four. Shea has based herself this summer with British rider Rodney Powell, but their campaign started late due to Landioso suffering from shipping fever.

“‘I didn’t realise what a big step Burghley would be after Kentucky. Just walking the course takes so long!” — Burghley first-timer Mackenna Shea (USA), third after dressage

Jung may have an unassailable lead in the FEI Classics™ — his nearest rival, Maxime Livio (FRA) is not competing — but has he left the door open in the dressage for Burghley honours?

A host of stars could challenge for the lead. These include Zara Tindall (GBR) and High Kingdom, the pair that finished third behind Jung (on fischerRocana) at Kentucky (USA) in April, and American rider Lauren Kieffer on the lovely mare Veronica.

A quartet of New Zealanders is also likely to feature at the top of the leaderboard: Badminton winners Andrew Nicholson on Nereo, five-time Burghley winner Sir Mark Todd on Leonidas ll, 2010 winner Caroline Powell with Onwards and Upwards, and Tim Price (Ringwood Sky Boy).

Nicola Wilson (GBR), currently third in the FEI Classics™, does not have a Burghley ride and looks vulnerable to being overtaken in the series by the likes of Nicholson, fourth on the leaderboard, Price, eighth, and Tindall, ninth, all three holding obvious chances to take the prize money on offer for third.

By Kate Green

Press contacts:

At FEI:

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

At Burghley:

Carole Pendle
Press Officer
Carole.pendle@caa.com
+44 7768 462601

Michael Jung Rewrites History, Crowned Winner of Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event for Third Time

(LEXINGTON, KY) – April 30, 2017 – After four thrilling days of world-class equestrian sport, Germany’s Michael Jung made history once again, claiming a third consecutive title of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover, aboard his 12-year-old mare, fischerRocana FST. It was second place for France and Maxime Livio, with Land Rover Ambassador Zara Tindall (GBR) finishing in third place after a flawless clear round aboard High Kingdom.

Following Saturday’s tough cross-country ride, 39 horses headed into the final phase of the competition. The show jumping course set by Richard Jefferys, which featured a 2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible and a 2017 Range Rover Sport, proved tricky for the field with only four competitors finishing clear within the time. Third-to-go, Zara Tindall, produced a stunning clear round aboard her 16-year-old bay High Kingdom; the echoes of cheers from the 25,000 spectators confirmed this and put the pressure on the final two competitors. Maxime Livio, who beat Michael Jung in Pau, France last year, kept his cool to ride the fourth and final clear round of the day with his partner, Qalao Des Mers. The stadium fell silent as the formidable pairing of Germany’s Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST began their round, with a fence in hand, hoping to make history once again. Despite incurring four faults, the crowd erupted as Jung pumped his fist in the air celebrating a special moment in his career to claim the coveted Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event title for a historic third consecutive year.

Jung commented on his achievement: “fischerRocana FST is a top horse; the mare fights so hard for me and our partnership is so strong. She gave me a very good feeling in the warm up ring which made me feel good entering the arena. I did not have enough power in the triple combination so I was little nervous with two jumps to go! I am so grateful for my team and really pleased with the result.”

Land Rover Ambassador, Zara Tindall, spoke of her third-place finish. “I am so lucky to be here and I am very thankful to Land Rover and Rolex to have me back here; I wouldn’t be here without their support. My horse is fantastic; all through the competition he has been amazing; he owes me nothing and I have loved riding him this weekend. I have really enjoyed being here it as it is an amazing event to be a part of.”

Olympic bronze medallist, Phillip Dutton (USA), moved up the leader-board with his Irish Sport Horse gelding, Mr. Medicott, to not only take fourth place but also the USEF Championship Trophy awarded to the highest placed American rider, a prize presented to him for a record fifth year.

“It is particularly rewarding to finish as the top US rider,” said Dutton, who also celebrated his 40th Rolex Kentucky completion. “It has been a great event and it is the perfect way for Mr. Medicott to finish his four-star career.”

Saturday’s cross-country saw Erin Sylvester produce a thrilling round aboard her 13-year-old thoroughbred mare Mettraise to win the “Land Rover Best Ride of the Day” that rewards the top U.S. rider to complete the cross-country course closest to the optimum time without jumping penalties. Sylvester was presented with a 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport 24-month lease by Helen McDonald, Events and Partnerships Manager, Jaguar Land Rover NA LLC at the 2017 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover.

The optimum time of 11 minutes and 17 seconds proved difficult for the horse and rider combinations with only five out of 57 starters finishing within the time set by renowned course designer Derek di Grazia. Despite accurate clear rounds from fellow U.S. team mates, Holly Payne Caravella and Matthew Brown, Sylvester demonstrated true perfection, finishing spot-on the optimum time of 11 minutes and 17 seconds, to win the Land Rover Discovery Sport 24-month lease.

For any equestrian fans unable to attend the event, the NBC telecast of the Rolex Equestrian Championships presented by Land Rover will allow those to enjoy it from home on Sunday, May 7, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. EST and NBCSN on Sunday, May 28, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. EST.

For a copyright-free two minute highlights film, please click here.

To learn more about the 2017 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover, please visit: www.RK3DE.org.

Michael Jung Makes It Three in a Row at Kentucky

Michael Jung (GER) and FischerRocana FST. (FEI/Rebecca Berry)

Jung retains Kentucky crown, with Livio (FRA) and Tindall (GBR) holding on to second and third

Germany’s Michael Jung smashed yet another record when winning the Kentucky Three-Day Event for the third year running on the 12-year-old FischerRocana, a mare that may not have the biggest movement but certainly has the biggest heart.

Jung did have a jumping fence down, but his supremacy in the dressage and cross-country meant he could afford it and is second in the FEI Classics™ after three out of six legs behind the superbly talented Frenchman Maxime Livio (FRA), who finished runner-up at Kentucky on Qalao Des Mers with a clear jumping round.

“She is a really wonderful horse, a top fighting girl. She jumped wonderfully and was only a bit spooky at the white fence. I really like Kentucky – and not just because I win here! – but because I feel very welcome. You can train the horse for every phase and it’s why I like it and why I come back.” — Michael Jung (GER)

With one FEI Classics™ win each, and a second place each, Livio and Jung both have their sights firmly on the 2016/17 series title. However, only Jung is competing at Badminton next weekend, fourth leg of the series, which could be his opportunity to step up to top the leaderboard.

Both Livio and Zara Tindall, the only British athlete in the field, finished on their dressage scores. Tindall was ecstatic with her third place after a beautiful clear round on High Kingdom and it must have laid the ghost of the disappointment two years when she had to withdraw before dressage when the horse suffered a freak injury.

Matthew Brown (USA) slipped from fourth to sixth after hitting the very first rail with BCF Super Socks, so it was the super-consistent Phillip Dutton (USA), who has now completed Kentucky an amazing 40 times, who captured yet another national title as highest placed USA rider, as he moved up to fourth with a clear round on the 18-year-old Mr Medicott, a horse having his last four-star run after an illustrious career. Hannah Sue Burnett (USA) was fifth on Under Suspection.

The Kentucky three-peat was Jung’s 10th four-star win – William Fox-Pitt holds the record with 14 – and the German Olympic champion, who is only 34, looks to be catching up with the Briton. Just hours after his triumph on American soil Jung was catching a flight to England en route to defending his title at Badminton next weekend.

A record number of spectators watched the 4* Eventing action this year at Kentucky, with 34’000 attending cross country and 24000 at the jumping finale.

By Kate Green

Press contacts:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Marty Baumann
Press Chief
info@classic-communications.com
508-698-6810 x 10

Michael Jung Takes Over Kentucky Lead after Cross Country

Michael Jung (GER) and FischerRocana FST. (FEI/Rebecca Berry)

Even dual Olympic champion Michael Jung admitted cross country day at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, third leg of the FEI Classics™, was a tough one with Derek di Grazia’s track posing a serious challenge. However, the German maestro is yet again in pole position on FischerRocana FST, despite finishing four seconds (1.6 time penalties) over the optimum time of 11 minutes 17 seconds and surviving a precarious moment when the brave little mare made an enormous leap into the lake.

Jung, currently third in the FEI Classics™ having led the series last year, has a fence in hand to win a record third successive Kentucky on the same horse. His nearest challenger is Frenchman Maxime Livio, current leader of the FEI Classics™ after his win in Pau, who rode a masterful round to finish exactly on the optimum time on Qalao Des Mers to rise from eighth place after dressage to second.

“Today was not our best ride, but we have a true partnership and kept fighting,” said Jung. “FischerRocana looks very well after the finish – she is a tough girl!”

The leaderboard has changed dramatically and a brilliant, committed ride by the sole British representative, Zara Tindall on High Kingdom, has propelled her from 16th to third place. A determined Matthew Brown, previously 19th after dressage, has leapt to fourth place on Super Socks BCF and is the highest placed American rider.

Demonstrating the openness of the competition, Erin Sylvester (USA), who was only 51st after dressage, is now 13th on Mettraise after finishing bang on the optimum time.

There were 26 clear rounds from the 42 finishers and six within the optimum time. Dressage leaders Clark Montgomery (USA) and Loughan Glen lost their chance of retaining their position with a disappointing refusal at a skinny brush at fence 18a.

Three other riders in contention after dressage also disappeared off the leaderboard: both Kim Severson (USA), third on Cooley Cross Border, and Jessica Phoenix (CAN), fifth on Bentley’s Best, retired after run-outs at corners and Elizabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA), fourth, parted company from Fernhill By Night at the Normandy Bank.

The jumping finale, which starts at 1pm local time, is sure to be a tense affair as the magnificent Michael Jung bids to make history – again.

Press contacts:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Marty Baumann
Press Chief
info@classic-communications.com
508-698-6810 x 10

Michael Jung Wins $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge

Michael Jung. Photos by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Reigning Olympic champion Michael Jung of Germany claimed victory in his $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge debut on Saturday night, November 5, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Jung, who won individual gold and team silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, thrilled a full house in the Ricoh Coliseum by guiding Cruising Guy home in the fastest time to win the $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge.

Held over two rounds, riders came into Saturday’s competition carrying forward their opening phase scores from Friday night.  Ranked second behind Karl Slezak of Tottenham, ON, coming into the final phase of competition, Jung shot to the top of the leaderboard with a penalty-free, two-night cumulative time of 152.13 seconds when Slezak had two refusals riding Fernhill Wishes.

Jung’s win was especially remarkable, considering he had only ridden his winning mount, Cruising Guy, for the first time 24 hours earlier.

“I really felt more of a partnership with the horse tonight,” said Jung following his victory.  “He was really concentrated, and nearly in every moment he was super to ride.  He’s an experienced horse and very well prepared.  I just had a good ride with a good horse.  I have to say thank you to the team and to the horse.”

Rachel McDonough riding Irish Rhythm
Rachel McDonough riding Irish Rhythm

While Jung claimed victory, Toronto’s own Rachel McDonough placed second riding Irish Rhythm with a two-round time of 160.59 seconds.  Rounding out the top three was Canadian Olympian Jessica Phoenix of Cannington, ON riding Abbey GS, owned by Charlotte Schickedanz.

Jung made his first trip to Toronto a winning one over the 18-obstacle track set by course designer Captain Mark Phillips of Great Britain, himself an Olympic team gold medalist from the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany.

“I really liked the show,” said Jung, 34.  “It’s very beautiful, and the course designer is very experienced.  I’ve ridden many of his courses outside.  It’s totally different inside, but he did a good job.  It’s good competition.”

In addition to his success at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Jung won both the individual and team gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics and is one of only two riders to ever win the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, achieved by winning the CCI4* Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event (USA), the CCI4* Badminton Horse Trials (GBR), and the CCI4* Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) in succession.

Competition at the Royal Horse Show continues on Sunday, November 6, featuring the $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby at 1 p.m.

Limited tickets for the Royal Horse Show can still be purchased by visiting royalfair.org or ticketmaster.ca.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.

About The Royal

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show.  This year, the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs from November 4-13, 2016, at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto.  For competition schedules, live webcasting, results, and to purchase tickets, visit www.royalfair.org.

Emily Riden
Jump Media
emily@jumpmediallc.com

Michael Jung Holds Cross Country Lead at Pau

Michael Jung (GER) and FischerRocana FST (Trevor/FEI)

Lausanne (SUI), 15 October, 2016 – Michael Jung (GER) rode two brilliant rounds of Cross Country at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau (FRA), the first leg of the FEI Classics™ 2016/17, to hold the lead on FischerRocana FST and be within a fence of victory on his Dressage leader, the youngster FischerTakinou, now in fifth place with a few time penalties.

France’s Maxime Livio thrilled the large crowd enjoying the warm autumn sunshine by finishing bang on the optimum time of 11 minutes to rise to second place on his Luhmühlen runner-up Qalao des Mers.

Time proved influential on Pierre Michelet’s (FRA) clever Cross Country course and only one other rider finished on a clean sheet. That was the trailblazer Christopher Burton (AUS), who has now risen 22 places to 22nd on TS Jamaimo.

Jung, the 2015/16 FEI Classics™ champion, finished just one second over time on the 11-year-old mare FischerRocana FST, twice a winner of Kentucky and the individual world silver medalist in 2014.

He gave the nine-year-old FischerTakinou, a far less experienced horse, a beautifully sympathetic, unhurried ride for 8.8 time penalties but he is still within a Jumping fence of his leading ride.

“Rocana was wonderful – she is so simple to ride – and Takinou gave me a good feeling for his first time at this level,” commented Jung.

Nicola Wilson (GBR) on One Two Many and Jock Paget (NZL) on Clifton Signature both rode stylish, well-judged rounds are now in third and fourth places respectively and could put pressure on Jung in the final Jumping phase.

Boyd Martin (USA) on the grey Cracker Jack and last year’s winner, Olympic gold and silver medallist Astier Nicolas (FRA), on the CCI4* first-timer Molokai rose to sixth and seventh places with two time penalties apiece, and Tina Cook (GBR) showed all her class aboard her Olympic reserve, Billy the Red, to rise five spots to eighth.

The Dressage runner-up Alexander Bragg had a great round on the big Dutch warmblood Zagreb, following Jung’s lead in taking a neat line out of the final water complex, and he is in ninth place, 0.2 penalties ahead of Australian Olympian Sonja Johnson, a sheep farmer from Perth, who has climbed into the top 10 on the tiny chestnut Thoroughbred Parkiarrup Illicit Liais.

There were two high-profile departures from the leaderboard. Laura Collett (GBR), eighth after Dressage on Palmero 4, had the bad luck to fall two fences from home at the colourful Artists’ Palette upright fence and Tim Price (NZL), 11th on Xavier Faer, was unshipped when getting an awkward jump in over the log at the last water complex (fence 22a).

Kirsty Johnston, ninth after Dressage on Opposition Detective, had an early run-out at fence 4 when the horse took a strong hold over the preceding drop and ran past the corner.

Karin Donckers (BEL), fifth after Dressage on Fletcha van’t Verahof, is now in 16th place after incurring 13.2 time penalties.

The tight time meant there were big gains to be made on the scoreboard. Among those to leap up the order were Camilla Speirs (IRL) on the diminutive Portersize Just A Jiff and Nicola Wilson (GBR) on Annie Clover, up from joint 32nd after Dressage to 11th and 12th, respectively.

Pierre Michelet had makes full use of the compact site at Pau, which takes in the racecourse, and had produced what riders considered a more technical track than last year. It rode well, and there were 35 clear rounds and 39 finishers from the 48 Cross Country starters.

There’s live action on FEI TV (cross country and jumping) at www.feitv.org and live results on www.worldsporttiming.com.

Full results: www.event-pau.fr

Use hashtags #FEIClassics #Eventing

See FEI Classics™ hub: www.fei.org/fei/events/fei-classics.

By Kate Green

Les 4 Etoiles de Pau Media Contact:

Véronique Triffaux
servicedepresse@centaure-production.fr
T +33 (0)5 59 92 94 25
M +33 (0)6 80 03 18 44

FEI Media Contact:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Jung Takes Control after Dressage at Pau

Michael Jung (GER) and FischerTakinou. (Trevor Holt/FEI)

Lausanne (SUI), 14 October 2016 – Newly crowned Olympic champion Michael Jung has given himself a great chance of winning one of very few major competitions to elude him this far, the French premier event of Les 4 Etoiles de Pau (FRA), opening leg of the new FEI Classics™ season for 2015/16.

The Ground Jury, Wayne Quarles (USA), Christina Klingspor (SWE) and Alain James (FRA), awarded the only sub-40 mark, 39.3, for his performance on FischerTakinou. The nine-year-old, by Jaguar Mail, is competing in his first CCI4*, but he showed his brilliance when easily taking the European title in difficult rainy conditions at Blair Castle (GBR) last year, and the weather at Pau has been wet.

Jung explained that the chestnut gelding missed the Olympics due to a tick infection. “He is a very talented horse and always good in the dressage – he concentrates just as well whether he is at home or at a competition,” commented the world number one.

Jung is also in fourth place on the genuine mare FischerRocana FST, a dual Kentucky winner, and will take some beating as he aims to get a head start on the new FEI Classics™ leaderboard again.

German riders have headed the sought-after FEI Classics™ rankings for the last two years; Ingrid Klimke’s Pau victory in 2014 contributed to her success in 2015 before Jung took over in 2016 in the lucrative series that links the world’s six CCI4*s.

British rider Alexander Bragg, who works part time as a farrier, has produced the test of a lifetime to lie second amid distinguished company; he scored the excellent mark of 43.0 penalties on the 12-year-old Dutch-bred Zagreb, a horse he has produced from one-star level.

The pair made their CCI4* debut at Burghley but were eliminated on the Cross Country. “My main aim was an accurate test, so I am pretty happy right now!” said Bragg, 35. “Zagreb is improving on the flat all the time and is more composed in his flying changes.”

Fellow Brit Nicola Wilson, a regular visitor to the popular French event with its racecourse setting, friendly atmosphere and beautiful Pyrenean backdrop, is third on One Two Many on 43.6.

The veteran Belgian rider Karin Donckers is fifth on Fletcha van’t Verahof, only 0.1 penalty ahead of New Zealander Jock Paget, sixth on Clifton Signature. Maxime Livio (FRA) is the highest placed of the home riders in seventh on Qalao des Mers.

Two British riders hold eighth and ninth places: Laura Collett (GBR), a member of the winning British team at the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing final at Boekelo (NED) last weekend, riding Palmero, and Kirsty Johnston, who makes her Pau debut aboard Opposition Detective, yet another CCI4* sired by the famous Fleetwater Opposition, the stallion her father stands.

Tim Price (NZL), the runner-up in 2015, is in 11th place on CCI4* first timer Xavier Faer, last year’s winner, Astier Nicolas (FRA), is poised in 12th place on Molokai and experienced Cross Country rider Kristina Gifford is not far off the pace on Billy The Red and Calvino ll, currently holding 13th and 14th places.

Christopher Burton (AUS) starts the Cross Country action Saturday when he is first out on course at 1300 hours (local time); the recent Burghley winner will be hoping for one of master designer Pierre Michelet’s influential tracks as he scored the disappointing mark of 60.3 on the 17-year-old Australian Thoroughbred TS Jamaimo and is lying well down the order in 44th place out of the 49 starters.

Lower-placed Dressage competitors shouldn’t be disheartened; riders are viewing the Olympic designer’s Pau track as a challenging test, full of twists, turns and changes of camber, plus the reappearance of the carved fish that proved so influential at the 2014 World Equestrian Games at Haras du Pin.

A thrilling day’s sport is assured, and there is live coverage on FEI TV (cross country and jumping) at www.feitv.org and live results on www.worldsporttiming.com.

Full results: www.event-pau.fr

Use hashtags #FEIClassics #Eventing

See FEI Classics™ hub: www.fei.org/fei/events/fei-classics.

By Kate Green

Les 4 Etoiles de Pau Media Contact:

Véronique Triffaux
servicedepresse@centaure-production.fr
T +33 (0)5 59 92 94 25
M +33 (0)6 80 03 18 44

FEI Media Contact:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Can Olympic Champion Michael Jung Claim French Season-Opener at Pau?

Astier Nicolas (FRA), Olympic team gold and individual silver medalist at Rio 2016 and last year’s winner at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau. (Trevor Holt/FEI)

Lausanne (SUI), 12 October 2016 – Les 4 Etoiles de Pau (FRA), first leg of the FEI Classics™, is the only CCI4* in the northern hemisphere to have eluded double Olympic champion Michael Jung, who has had the most extraordinary run of success over his career to date.

The clear winner of the overall FEI Classics™ title for 2015/16 with victories at Kentucky (USA) and Badminton (GBR), Jung was second last year at Pau on fischerRocana FST. He returns again this weekend with the lovely 11-year-old mare, with proven 4* form with two victories at Kentucky. He also brings his double European gold medal ride fischerTakinou and will be looking to get a head start on the FEI Classics™ 2016/17 leaderboard.

The FEI Classics™ series links the elite 4* fixtures on the international Eventing calendar, with points accumulated across the six events – Pau (FRA), Adelaide (AUS), Kentucky (USA), Badminton (GBR), Luhmühlen (GER), and Burghley (GBR).

Jung is the sole German at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau in an international field in which 13 nations are represented. Competition starts 13 October with the horse inspection at 09.00 CET, with the Dressage phase starting at 09.00 CET on Friday 14 October.

Last year Astier Nicolas, a member of the French gold medal team at the Rio Olympic Games and individual silver medalist, and sixth place overall in last season’s FEI Classics™, thrilled the home crowd by winning at Pau on Piaf de B’neville.

This year he rides Molokai, heading a strong French squad that includes his Rio team mate Karim Florent Laghouag on Punch de l’Esques, Maxime Livio (Qalao des Mers) and regular FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing rider Caroline Chadelat (Kadessia).

Britain and New Zealand have traditionally enjoyed success at Pau and the two squads this year are headed by riders who had to sit on the sidelines at the Rio Olympic Games.

Tina Cook (GBR), travelling reserve for the British team in Rio and double bronze medalist at the 2008 Olympics, brings Billy the Red and Calvino. Jock Paget (NZL), who had to withdraw Clifton Lush in Rio with an injury, was runner-up at Pau in 2012 and rides the exciting prospect Clifton Signature.

Fellow New Zealander Tim Price, second to Jung in the 2015/16 FEI Classics™ standings and third at Pau 2015, brings the 10-year-old British-bred Xavier Faer to Pau for the horse’s first 4* outing.

Fellow antipodean, Australia’s Christopher Burton, Burghley 2016 winner and fifth in the 2015/16 FEI Classics™, brings his Adelaide 2013 winning ride TS Jamaimo.

The starting line-up also features a strong contingent from Ireland, plus riders from Italy, Belgium, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and the USA.

The FEI Classics™ 2016/2017 season looks set to get off to a thrilling start at the premier French event where everyone is waiting to see what Olympic course designer Pierre Michelet has in store.

Live coverage on FEI TV (cross country and jumping) at www.feitv.org and live results on www.event-pau.fr.

Use hashtags #FEIClassics #Eventing

See FEI Classics™ hub: www.fei.org/fei/events/fei-classics.

By Kate Green

Les 4 Etoiles de Pau Media Contact:

Véronique Triffaux
servicedepresse@centaure-production.fr
T +33 (0)5 59 92 94 25
M +33 (0)6 80 03 18 44

FEI Media Contact:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Christopher Burton Fulfils Burghley Dream

Christopher Burton and Nobilis 18. (Trevor Meeks/FEI)

Lausanne (SUI), September 4 2016 – Christopher Burton (AUS), one of the most talented riders to hit the Eventing circuit in the last few years, emerged victorious on Nobilis 18 at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), final leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016, even if he did live a little dangerously in the closing stages of the competition.

Such was Burton’s supremacy after the first two phases that he entered the Jumping arena with four fences in hand, but he did manage to hit four – if he’d had another he would have handed a sixth Burghley victory to the invincible Andrew Nicholson (NZL), who rose a place to be second on Nereo with just one down and a couple of time penalties.

Jonelle Price (NZL) scored her best CCI4* result this year, third on Classic Moet with just four faults, and her husband, Tim, who had taken the pressure off Burton with his three fences down on Ringwood Sky Boy, ended up in fourth place.

“I tried to keep it interesting for you all,” said Burton wryly. “Nobilis is usually a careful jumper, but he felt a bit tired and the ground was perhaps a little dead, but that’s three-day eventing for you.

“Never in my wildest dreams did it occur to me that I would win Burghley. I’d walked past all the plaques on Winners’ Avenue – all these old boys with their names on them! – and thought it would be nice to have my name there too.”

Andrew Nicholson may not quite count as an “old boy”, but he is 21 years older than Burton and he admits that he is not back to full strength after breaking his neck 12 months ago. “You don’t know how special this is,” he told the television cameras.

And it was particularly appropriate that this result should come on Libby Sellar’s 16-year-old Nereo, three-times a runner-up at Burghley, a winner of World and Olympic medals and a one-man horse with which the Kiwi genius has particular affinity.

Jonelle Price, who scored her best ever Burghley result, admitted that she was disappointed with her Dressage mark, which left her in 22nd place. “I feel as if I’ve been digging myself out of a hole from the start, first after the Dressage and then when I got time penalties with the wrong line at the Dairy Farm on the Cross Country. But now, of course, I’m delighted.”

Cedric Lyard (FRA) on Cadeau du Roi and Oliver Townend (GBR) on Samuel Thomas benefited from clear Jumping rounds and rose to fifth and seventh places, split by Bettina Hoy (GER), sixth, who incurred eight faults on Designer 10.

Only three other riders achieved clears over Richard Jeffrey’s influential Jumping track: Shane Rose (AUS) on Virgil, 16th, Tim Price on Bango, 21st, and Ros Canter (GBR) on Allstar B, 25th of the 38 finishers. Bill Levett (AUS) withdrew Improvise overnight when in ninth position.

Andrew Nicholson was also pleasantly surprised to find himself the recipient of 20,000 USD for leaping into third place in the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016, an astonishing achievement considering he has only competed at two CCI4* events this season – he was fifth at Luhmühlen in June.

No one was ever going to catch Michael Jung (GER), the runaway winner of the 40,000 USD FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 first prize with victories at Kentucky and Badminton plus a second place at Pau last year, but Tim Price, who was third at Pau and fourth at Luhmühlen as well, managed to hold onto second place and he takes home a cool 30,000 USD.

It has been an FEI Classics™ season of great thrills and stories, but one man has stolen the show and set the standard: the unmatchable Michael Jung.

About the Burghley winner

Christopher Burton, 34, is the current world number two. He has won Adelaide CCI4* twice, in 2008 on Newsprint and in 2013 on the catch ride TS Jamaimo, but he really sprang into the public consciousness with a brilliant trailblazing Cross Country ride at the London Olympic Games in 2012 where he finished 16th on Holstein Park Leilani.

Burton, who is married to fellow rider Rebekah, has been settled in Britain, in Surrey, for five years, notching up several good international placings including third and fourth places at Burghley last year on TS Jamaimo and Haruzac, and second place on Nobilis 18 at Blenheim CCI3*.

This year, he won the CCI3* at Saumur on Santano ll, his ride in the Rio Olympic Games where he led after the Cross Country phase and finished in eventual fifth place with a team bronze medal.

Nobilis 18 is an 11-year-old Hannoverian-bred gelding by Nobre owned by Sue Lawson, Carolyn Townsend and Chris Burton.

About the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 winner

Michael Jung (GER), 34, has won an individual medal every year since 2009, six of them gold, and is the first rider in history to have held Olympic, World and European titles simultaneously.

Riding La Biosthetique Sam, he won the world title in Kentucky (USA) in 2010, double European gold in Luhmühlen in 2011 and double Olympic gold in London (GBR) in 2012 plus individual gold and team silver at the Rio Olympic Games (BRA) this year. He has won three European titles on three different horses: in 2011 on Sam, in 2013 on Halunke and in 2015 on FischerTakinou. He also won world team gold and individual silver medals on fisherRocana FST in 2014.

Jung, who lives at Horb, Germany, where his parents, Joachim and Bridgette, own a riding establishment, has also won Kentucky twice in succession on FischerRocana and in the last 12 months added victories at Burghley and Badminton on Sam to take the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. This is his first FEI Classics™ victory.

FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 Final Leaderboard – see full results here

Use hashtags #FEIClassics #Eventing

By Kate Green

Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials Media Contact:

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French Win Eventing Team Gold; Germany’s Jung Takes Second Successive Individual Title

(L to R) the silver medallists from Germany Michael Jung, Sandra Auffarth, Julia Krajewski and Ingrid Klimke; the French gold medallists Thibaut Vallette, Astier Nicolas, Karim Laghouag and Mathieu Lemoine; the bronze medallists from Australia, Christopher Burton, Shane Rose, Sam Griffiths and Stuart Tinney. (Arnd Bronkhorst/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 9 August 2016 – France claimed team gold and Germany’s Michael Jung took his second successive individual title as Olympic Eventing drew to a close at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro (BRA).

Team

In a cliff-hanger of a contest it came down to the last four into the arena to decide the team result, and it was the defending champions from Germany who claimed silver with Australia slipping from the overnight lead to take the bronze.

The Australians were in charge as the day began, but with only a 4.5 point advantage over their New Zealand neighbours while the French were just 6.2 further adrift and the Germans were stalking the leading pack over 11 penalty points further behind. France was the only one of the leading sides to go into the closing phase with a fully intact four-member team, however, and in the end that proved the clincher.

The 12-fence track tested the turning skills of horses that took on one of the toughest Olympic Eventing cross-country tracks of all time Monday. But most were jumping fresh and well again and the pure quality of the four French horses was key to success.

Australia’s grip on the lead was severely undermined by a cricket score for their opener, Stuart Tinney, whose horse Pluto Mio kicked out four fences and also went over the time-allowed to collect a very expensive 17 faults. This dropped them into bronze medal spot, and left New Zealand out in front despite a single mistake from opener Jonelle Price with Faerie Dianimo. The French were already looking very comfortable after fabulous rounds from both Karim Laghouag with Entebbe and Thibaut Vallette riding Qing de Briot, but they began to look vulnerable when Mathieu Lemoine’s Bart L got tired towards the end of the track and left two fences on the floor for eight faults.

Enhanced

The Kiwis’ lead, meanwhile, was further enhanced by a great clear from Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation, while the Australians held their ground when Sam Griffiths returned on a zero score with Paulank Brockagh. Their chance of gold was gone, but they would hold onto bronze if the man who has led the individual standings throughout the competition so far, Christopher Burton, could bring Santano II home without incident.

As the final moments played out, however, the Germans loomed large on the horizon when Sandra Auffarth (Opgun Louvo), Ingrid Klimke (Bob) and Michael Jung (Sam) posted three superb clears to pile the pressure on the three teams ahead of them. The French didn’t flinch, and a foot-perfect run from their four-line rider, Astier Nicolas with Piaf de B’Neville, meant they posted a finishing score of 169.0 penalties.

It was still all to play for as legendary double Olympic gold medallist Mark Todd came in as anchorman for New Zealand, but a heart-wrenching 16 faults with Leonidas ll sent Kiwi chances crashing down. Their finishing score of 178.80 left them almost three penalty points behind the Germans and now only an Australian meltdown could keep them on the podium.

And the drama lasted to the very end. Australia’s Burton and Santano picked up eight faults to round up the Aussie finishing score to 175.30 for bronze, relegating New Zealand to fourth, 3.5 points adrift.

Record

Todd was tipped for the sixth Olympic medal of his career which would have been a New Zealand record. “That will be one of the biggest lows in my career. The whole week was a roller coaster ride. After yesterday’s cross country we were still in with a chance and then – boom – you’re out. I was hoping to go out on a high. Leonidas is such a good jumper but he got wound up when going into the arena. I thought he would settle but he got more and more rattled,” said the shattered 60-year-old Kiwi legend.

The French, however, were on a high. This is the first gold and only the second medal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for the country that has only won two previous team titles in Eventing – a bronze in Rome in 1960 and gold at Athens in 2004.

“This is fantastic,” a clearly thrilled Astier Nicolas said afterwards. “There was a lot of pressure going into this, and really I just had to do what I could for the team. But even though there was a lot of pressure, I didn’t let it bother me. I really enjoyed my round and I am very happy. It’s just fantastic. It is an immense pleasure to be part of this team that has won gold for France. It is something we have waited for a long time, and it’s amazing!”

Individual

Jung (34) matched the record set by New Zealand’s Mark Todd at Los Angeles (USA) in 1984 and Seoul (KOR) in 1988 when making it a back-to-back double of individual Olympic Eventing golds. And, also like Todd, he rode the same horse that carried him to both team and individual glory in London (GBR) four years ago – Sam.

The defence of his London 2012 title didn’t get off to the perfect start as he had to settle for fifth place after the opening dressage phase, but a sensational cross-country run with the 16-year-old Sam Monday moved him up into second behind overnight leaders, Australia’s Christopher Burton and Santano II.

Having contributed to his country’s team silver medal winning performance with a copybook showjumping performance, Jung moved into pole position and couldn’t be toppled. And in a nail-biting finale, it was French team gold medallist Nicolas Astier who took the silver with Piaf de B’Neville, while America’s Philip Dutton and Mighty Nice moved up from fourth to take the bronze.

Man to beat

Jung came to Rio as the man to beat, with not just team and individual gold from London 2012 on his career record but also the individual world title from Kentucky (USA) in 2010 and team gold at Normandy (FRA) in 2014 along with three consecutive double-European titles. He’s long been a phenomenon, and the result further confirms his supremacy as one of the most successful athletes in the history of this super-tough sport.

Burton had already dropped to third as the individual final action began with the top 25 jumping in reverse order of merit, and two fences down cost him a podium placing, allowing Dutton to move up the order in the closing stages. The 52-year-old American made just one mistake with the aptly-named Mighty Nice to post a final score of 51.80.

Frenchman Astier Nicolas was lying in silver medal spot having helped secure team gold for his country with another fabulous another fabulous ride on his 13-year-old gelding Piaf de B’Neville. In 11th after dressage, his cross-country clear Monday sent him rocketing up to third individually, and another fault-free effort Tuesday moved him up another place in the race for the ultimate prize. An uncharacteristically wild jump at the third fence added four jumping penalties and two time faults, but even though that moved their scoreline up to 48.00 they still held the lead as Jung returned to the arena.

Cooler

But they don’t come any cooler than the man from the Black Forest and he made it look like a walk in the park as he crossed the finish line having added no penalties to his first-day total of 40.90, leaving him 7.1 penalties clear of Nicolas, the biggest winning margin in Eventing since the Barcelona 1992 Olympics when Australia’s Matt Ryan and Kibah Tic Toc won by a margin of 11.2.

“It’s the second time to win with Sam and that makes it even more special. I couldn’t be more proud of him,” Jung said. “He is so strong; on the cross-country he can run every hill, jump every fence, but in showjumping he’s very nervous and it’s hard for him to concentrate. He jumped better in the second round than in the first. Yesterday it was difficult for me in the warm-up because of the people and the noise, but today the preparation was much nicer because it was quiet and he could settle.” And he added without hesitation when asked where he goes from here: “Well, Tokyo 2020 of course, and the Europeans and maybe the world title along the way!”

The final leaderboard showed Australia’s Sam Griffiths and Christopher Burton in fourth and fifth places followed by New Zealand’s Clarke Johnstone (Balmoral Sensation) and Mark Todd (Leonidas ll) in sixth and seventh while China’s Alex Hua Tian sent a ripple of excitement across China when slotting into eighth place. “I can’t believe it. I came here hoping to be in the top 20 – I never imagined this!” said the 26-year-old rider.

Quotes:

Phillip Dutton (USA) – individual bronze: “I wasn’t actually expecting medal today. I was pretty happy with fourth. But now I’m pretty ecstatic about third!”

Christopher Burton (AUS) – team bronze: “Santano is a young green horse and today he showed his greenness a little bit. But he’s been far and above our expectations of what we thought when we bought him. So we’re still very happy.”

Ingrid Klimke (GER) – team silver: “My own personal aim was to finish like I sat in dressage, because I was very pleased with the dressage and now with the jumping. Yesterday… I would lie if I said we celebrated with a few beers last night (after cross-country). But on the other hand I must say I think my horse is a hero because he did so many wonderful things. There was just this one moment that there was a mistake.”

Talking about being with other event riders: “It’s always a big hug – yesterday from the people who were disappointed. There were many of them, so we were a good group. We were saying, ‘It was bad luck today or whatever, but this was not our day.’ And others we congratulated because we saw that they did wonderful rounds. It’s just great to be together and have these special moments.”

Sam Griffiths (AUS) – team bronze: “To go clear in an Olympic stadium is always a great thrill. The team competition was so tight; I knew I needed to go clear. But, to be honest, I’m sitting on what I think is one of the best horses in the world (mare Paulank Brockagh). I just sort of have to tell her where to go and she did the rest for me! Winning medals is great because it means we can bring our sport to the wider public. Obviously winning Badminton is also fantastic, but to take a sport to a wider community is always great.”

Alex Hua Tian (CHN): “The Don (Don Geniro) was very special this week. He is only nine years old and very inexperienced. This was a great week for me, for equestrian sport and for China. The hard work starts now with raising funds for the next four years. It does not stop. I will go home and have young horses to qualify for their (young horse eventing) world championships (at Le Lion d’Angers, France). Other riders will think about Badminton or Burghley but for me it will be Tokyo.”

Astier Nicolas (FRA) – team gold and individual silver: “It’s been a long wait to bring team gold back to France and victory tastes good today. I was lucky my horse felt very good even if he was tired after the cross-country. In the first round today I knew I had to jump clear for us to win, and that’s why I was not so good in the second round – it was just bad riding! My horse (Piaf De B’Neville) has been bought by a good owner of mine who then built a syndicate for him, with family and friends, so it’s amazing to have an owner as a team-mate! We have only nice people around him and he is the horse of my life, a good friend for me and a very very nice person!”

Full results here:

https://www.rio2016.com/en/equestrian-eventing-team-jumping-final
https://www.rio2016.com/en/equestrian-standings-eq-eventing-individual

By Louise Parkes

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