Jessica Kuerten and Castle Forbes Libertina on their way to the win in the Rolex FEI World Cup qualifier in Leipzig, Germany.
Jessica Kurten must be faster than she expects herself to be. The Irish superstar, training and living in Germany, had Marcus Ehning on her list as the rider most likely to win €33,000 and 20 World Cup points.
"I was 11th to go in the jump off, and I was able to watch Gerco beat the result of Albert Zoer," says Jessica. "So I knew what I had to do to try and be quicker. But this was Libertina's first show after Geneva, we had decided not to ride like maniacs."
Gerco Schroder surprised the crowd to be so competitive with Eurocommerce Pennsylvania. The beautiful son of Gambrinus is in the Eurocommerce stables for several years already, but he lacks experience, having had his debut at World Cup level only recently in London Olympia. "Pennsylvania is naturally fast and he was brought up to this level very well, so I could do all the time-saving efforts with him," says Gerco.
The Dutch rider was the shooting star of Leipzig, climbing up the list, now ranking second in the provisional standings of the Rolex FEI World Cup competition. "Of course I will do my best in the World Cup qualifiers still to come, but this gives a wonderful feeling. Now I can plan my season going to the final in Las Vegas."
Frank Rothenberger did not do a bad job, selecting 13 combinations for the jump off, according to Schroder. "It was certainly not a light course. And all the difficult distances were there as well. But the arena was big, the footing very good and there were a lot of good riders on the list."
Some participants made mistakes at the Rolex vertical number 2, seemingly simple, but at an angle in eight or nine strides. The FEI vertical, coming from an acute angle, was not easy either. The last line, consisting of a double of verticals, followed by a narrow five stride to a huge oxer, caused many riders to make mistakes as well.
• IJsbrand Chardon is back on track after his disappointing performance in the FEI World Cup Driving competition in Mechelen three weeks ago. The four times World Champion took revenge in Leipzig by winning the last FEI World Cup Driving competition before the Final. Switzerland's Daniel Wurgler was super happy with his team, which took him to the second place. Fredrik Persson came third in the DHL Trophy and has earned a starting ticket for the final in his home country Sweden.
The enthusiastic spectators in the Leipziger Messe witnessed a spectacular competition. Chardon nearly missed the bridge in the first round but was able to redirect his team just in time. This cost him at least five seconds and he had to put everything at stake in the second round to make up for it. Daniel Wurgler was the last starter in the winning round, but could not handle the pressure. He missed a gate in one of the marathon obstacles and came three seconds short to win the competition. Fredrik Persson knew he had nothing to loose and went for it with his mixed team of Swedish warmblood horses and trotters. The carriage-driving teacher knocked one ball down, but was nevertheless very pleased with his third place.
Standings after 8 of 13 competitions:
1) Steve Guerdat (SUI), 51
2) Gerco Schroder (NED), 47
3) Edwina Alexander (AUS), 45
4) Daniel Etter (SUI), 45
5) Ludo Philippaerts (BEL), 41
6) Thomas Velin (DEN), 39
7) Ben Maher (GBR), 39
8) Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), 35 (already qualified)
9) Geir Gulliksen (NOR), 35
10) Max Kuhner (GER), 34
11) Rutherford Latham (ESP), 33
12) Helena Lundback (SWE), 30
13) Marcus Ehning (GER), 29
14) Lars Nieberg (GER), 29
15) Albert Zoer (NED), 27
16) Omar Bonomelli (ITA), 25
17) Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, 24
18) Vincent Voorn (NED), 22
19) Alois Pollmann Schweckhorst (GER), 20
19) Jessica Kurten (IRL), 20
1. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 224,29
2. Daniel Wurgler (Sui) 227,71
3. Fredrik Persson (Swe) 238,42
4. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 124,02
5. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 124,37
6. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) wild card 125,58
7. Steffen Scholz (Ger) wild card 126,72
Classification after 7 of 7 events (first six drivers are qualified for the Final in Gothenburg on 21 and 22 February):
1. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 27
2. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 27
3. Boyd Exell (Aus) 23
4. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 22
5. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 17
6. Fredrik Persson (Swe) 17
7. Daniel Wurgler (Sui) 16
8. Werner Ulrich (Sui) 11
9. Tomas Eriksson (Swe)
10. Zoltan Lazar (Hun) 7