|30/04/2006 - FEI World Cup Final|
Ehning and Sandro Boy Reign Supreme
In a rare show of emotion Germany's Marcus threw his arms around Sandro Boy's neck and punched the air in delight after claiming the FEI World Cup Jumping trophy for the second time in his career at the Putra Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia today. Joint-leader after the first two final competitions, he held his ground to win the day with the stallion Sandro Boy whose spectacular jumping kept the spectators enthralled throughout the week of competition.
"He's an unbelievable horse" the 32 year old rider said, "it doesn't matter to him where he finds himself - how short he is to a fence, how long he is or how big the fence is, he just jumps it and the feeling is unbelievable". But he didn't have it all his own way because while the challenge from Switzerland's Beat Mandli fell away with a mistake in the final high-pressure round, Ireland's Jessica Kuerten fought him every inch of the way and finished just one point behind. The closing stages of the 2005/2006 FEI World Cup Jumping series turned into a battle between arguably the very best big-jumping horses in the world and Kuerten was only just shaded due to a slower time with Castle Forbes Libertina in the first leg on the opening day.
Mandli had to settle for third, with Italy's Juan Carlos Garcia finishing fourth after producing two magical rounds today from his faithful old friend Loro Piana Albin who seemed to find an extra lease of life in the Asian heat, and Britain's Michael Whitaker bounced up the order from 12th place to finish sixth thanks to some masterful riding that gave him a closing-day clean sheet with Insul Tech Portofino.
Course designer Frank Rothenberger let his imagination loose and came up with a big, bold 13-fence first-round track that proved too much for the first 10 horses but not for Germany's Pia-Luise Aufrecht and Hofgut Liederbach's Abrisca who gave it plenty of air when eleventh into the ring. The fence material was bright and extremely colourful and the obstacles themselves were always going to require a big clean jump but Abrisca was fault-free at both the difficult combination fence at five and the flimsy double at 10. The treble combination began with a triple bar inviting a major effort before the following upright and finally an oxer, while the light-poled double at 10 came after a colossal oxer consisting of a front bar, a cross-bar in the middle and then a back rail, taking some horses by surprise due to its 1.70m expanse and the amount of timber involved.
Aufrecht's clear round was followed by the same from Michael Whitaker, but another five jumped before Loro Piana Albin recorded the third foot-perfect run of the competition. For Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst and Candy, lying sixth, it was all to come to an end however when the German rider decided to call it day as his gallant mare seemed to find the fence dimensions just that bit too big. After hitting the upright at eight, the massive oxer at nine and the first element of the double at ten Pollmann-Schweckhorst brought Candy back to a walk and left the arena - but they were unbeaten and unbowed. Sweden's Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and MacKinley were looking good until getting unbalanced to the double at 10 where they hit the first element, and then it was the turn of reigning champion Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum. There had been some concern when her gelding Checkmate failed the vet check on Saturday along with Beezie Madden's Judgment, but both horses passed today's re-inspection and the 11 year old Checkmate left all the poles standing to put the pressure on the final three of the 24 starters.
Pressure is something Jessica Kuerten can take however, and the Irish rider showed that ultra-professionalism that has raised her up amongst the elite in the world when crossing the line without incident. Lying in equal-first place, and only one point ahead of Kuerten, Beat Mandli stayed in the race when clear with Ideo du Thot but the 10 year old gelding looked a little green on the approach to the treble and it took a strong drive from the Swiss rider to make the distance from the vertical at 11 to the oxer at 12 while Ehning brought round one to a close with a flawless performance from Sandro Boy.
There was no change to the top four as the second round began but Garcia had been promoted to fifth with Bengtsson in sixth while Germany's Heinrich Hermann Engemann was next in line at this stage. The new nine fence track was another big one, and while America's Margie Engle (Quervo Gold), Germany's Pia Luise Aufrecht (Hofgut Liederbach's Abrisca), Holland's Gerco Schroder (Eurocommerce Milano) and Britain's Michael Whitaker (Insul Tech Portofino) found the key, the real battle was played out at the top of the order.
There was a gasp of surprise when Checkmate, fourth-last to go, hit the front bar of the oxer at fence four allowing Garcia and Loro Piana Albin to further improve after another happy round and when, despite an erratic line from the triple bar at seven to the double at eight when Castle Forbes Libertina looked like she might be about to go into overdrive, Kuerten also returned home unscathed it was down to a duel between Mandli and Ehning. But Ideo du Thot clipped the FEI oxer at five and with Sandro Boy in show-off mode it was a 'fait accompli'. The German partnership made it look like a walk in the park and Ehning, FEI World Cup Jumping champion in 2003 in Las Vegas, was about to be crowned king once again.
"I put too much pressure on my horse at the red oxer and that's why he hit the next one" Mandli said with some disappointment afterwards. "He was running away from me a bit when he hit the fence - I think it was my fault actually" he added. There was no disappointment in Kuerten's voice however. When asked if she was worried about having a rail down she replied "I never felt in any danger. I was worried in the first round that Libertina would take charge but she jumped sensationally - she just wants to do everything right" she added. And for Ehning there was the satisfaction of a job well done and of sitting on one of the most sensational show jumpers of all time. Sandro Boy makes the biggest fences look inconsequential - "yes" said his rider in his usual under-stated manner, "he did a fantastic job".
RESULT AFTER THIRD ROUND: 1, Marcus Ehning (Sandro Boy) Ger 0; 2, Jessica Kuerten (Castle Forbes Libertina) Irl 1; 3, Beat Mandli (Ideo du Thot) Sui 4; 4, Juan Carlos Garcia (Loro Piana Albin) Ita 6; 5, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Checkmate) Ger 8; 6, Michael Whitaker (Insul Tech Portofino) GBR 10; 7, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (MacKinley) Swe 12; 8, Pia-Luise Aufrecht (Hofgut Liederbach's Abrisca) Ger, Gerco Schroder (Eurocommerce Milano) Ned 13; 10, Heinrich Hermann Engemann (Aboyeur) Ger 14; 11, Margie Engle (Quervo Gold) USA 18; 12, Gunnar Klettenberg (Novesta) Est 23; 13, Beezie Madden (Judgement) USA, Philippe Leoni (Cyrenaika) Fra 24; 15, Jean-Marc Nicolas (JPC Modesto Equifoam) Fra 26; 16, Laura Kraut (Anthem) USA 27; 17, Alison Firestone (Secret Love) USA 34; 18, Richard Spooner (Camaron Hills Shanroe) USA 40; 19, Ljubov Kkochetova (Ilion Kilen) Rus 27; 20, Geir Gulliksen (Cattani) Nor 29; 21, Jill Henselwood (Special Ed) Can 30; 22, Abdullah Al Sharbatly (Quatro) KSA 32; 23, Joie Gatlin (Suncal's King) USA 49.
RESULT OF FINAL COMPETITION: Equal 1, Hofgut Liederbach's Abrisca (Pia Luise Aufrecht) Ger, Insul Tech Portofino (Michael Whitaker) GBR, Loro Piana Albin (Juan Carlos Garcia) Ita, Castle Forbes Libertina (Jessica Kuerten) Irl, Sandro Boy (Marcus Ehning) Ger 0 faults; equal 6, Eurocommerce Milano (Gerco Schroder) Ned, Checkmate (Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum) Ger, Ideo du Thot (Beat Mandli) Sui 4 faults; equal 9, Judgement (Beezie Madden) USA, Quervo Gold (Margie Engle) USA, Aboyeur W (Heinrich Hermann Engemann) Ger, MacKinley (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) Swe 8 faults; 13, JPC Modesto Equifoam (Jean-Marc Nicolas) Fra 9 faults; 14, Anthem (Laura Kraut) USA 12 faults; equal 15, Novesta (Gunnar Klettenberg) Est, Cyrenaika (Philippe Leoni) Fra 16 faults: 18, Camaron Hills Shanroe (Richard Spooner) USA 24 faults; equal 19, Special Ed (Jill Henselwood) Can, Cattani (Geir Gulliksen) Nor 8 faults (Round 1); 21, Iliion Kilen (Ljubov Kochetova) Rus 11 faults; 22, Quatro (Abdullah Al Sharbatly) KSA 12 faults (Round 1); 23, Suncal's King (Joie Gatlin) USA 27 faults (Round 1); 24, Candy (Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst) Ger Retired.
2005/2006 FEI WORLD CUP JUMPING SERIES - CALENDAR OF EVENTS:1, Helsinki (Finland) - 6/9 October; 2, Oslo (Norway) - 14/16 October; 3, Verona (Italy) - 4/6 November; 4, Stuttgart (Ger) - 16/20 November; 5, Geneva (Switzerland) - 8/11 December; 6, London-Olympia (Great Britain) - 13-19 December; 7, Mechelen (Belgium) - 26/30 December; 8, Leipzig (Germany) 19/22 January; 9, Bordeaux (France) - 3/5 February; 10, Vigo (Spain) - 9/12 February; 11, 's-Hertogenbosch (The Netherlands) - 23/26 March; 12, Goteborg (Sweden) - 13/16 April. Final Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 26/30 April.
BIOGRAPHIES of riders competing in the FEI World Cup Jumping series are available at www.horsesport.org.
MBPtv BROADCAST SCHEDULE FOR FEI WORLD CUP FINAL AT KUALA LUMPUR:
ARD (Germany) - Sunday 30 April 10.00
SVT (Sweden) - Thurs 27 April 19.25, Friday 28 April 17.30, Sunday
30 April 22.35
TVE Teledeporte (Spain) - Check local service
RAI (Italy) - Thurs 27 April 19.25, Friday 28 April 17.00, Sunday
30 April 10.25, 17.20
Equidia (France) - Sunday 30 April 20.45, Monday 1 May 11.30
Eurosport - Thurs 27 April 14.00, Friday 28 April 14.00, Sunday 30 April 08.45, 10.30
NRK Norway - Sunday 30 April 16.45
NOS (The Netherlands) - Sunday 30 April, 16.00
CNBC ASIA - Check local service
ESPN Star (Pan Asia) - Thurs 11 may 11.00, Friday 12 May 06.00,
Saturday 13 May 02.00, 07.00, 15.00, Monday 15 May 03.00, Tuesday 16 May 12, 19.00, Wednesday 17 May 05.00, 09.00, 16.30
ESPN Brazil - Check local service
Finnish Sport TV - Monday 8 May 18.00, Monday 15 May 18.00
Fox Sports Australia - Check local service
Fox Sports Middle East - Sunday 21 May 15.00
Horse TV USA - Saturday 27 May 20.00, 23.00, Sunday 28 May 05.00,
07.00, 16.00, 22.00, Monday 29 May 01.00, 14.00
M-Net Pan Africa - Saturday 13 May 00.00, Sunday 14 May 02.30.
TSI (Switzerland) - Check local service
VIASAT SPORTS (Denmark)- Check local service.
YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE RULES for World Cup Jumping riders from FEI website www.feiworldcup.org.
|Kuala Lumpur (MAS) |
25/04 - 30/04/06
|Hagen (GER) |
CSIOY /CSIOJ /CSI A Amateurs /CDI3* /CDIY /CEI3* 160km+ /CEI2* 90km /CEI1* 60km /CEIYJ2* 90km /CEIYJ1* 60km /CEI3* 120km
26/04 - 01/05/06
|Saumur (FRA) |
CDI3* /CDIY /CDIJ /CDIP
26/04 - 30/04/06
|Lexington, KY (USA) |
CCI4* w-out SC
27/04 - 30/04/06
|Modena (incl. Y. horses classes) (ITA) |
28/04 - 01/05/06
|Badminton (GBR) |
CCI4* w-out SC
04/05 - 07/05/06
|La Baule (SL) (FRA) |
04/05 - 07/05/06
|Porto Alegre (BRA) |
04/05 - 07/05/06
|Sydney, NSW (AUS) |
04/05 - 06/05/06
|Bastelicaccia (FRA) |
05/05 - 08/05/06