German trio stake World Cup jumping claim

April 29, 2011

by Lulu Kyriacou

The Rolex FEI World Cup show jumping opened overnight in Leipzig, Germany with a 1-2-3 for the home side in the opening round.

Katie McVean and Delphi finished sixth in the opening World Cup final class overnight. © Lulu Kyriacou
Katie McVean interview
Despite this not being her preferred surface, Sabrina got defending champion Marcus Ehning off to a good start posting a time of 63.79 in the traditional speed opener.

This was not quite good enough to win the €25,000 first prize because team-mate Marco Kutscher was slightly faster with Cash in 63.55.

He also took the lead from first-in Gerco Schroder, who stopped the clock in 65.12 with Eurocommerce New Orleans, ultimately in fourth. This was mainly due to making an excellent turn into Fence 9 which nearly everybody else then felt compelled to match.

For some, like Christian Ahlmann (Taloubet Z), it worked beautifully, slipping him into third spot, but for others, notably Edwina Alexander, it did not quite come off. The Australian rider survived the mistake there but then she and Cevo Socrates parted company after a similar mistake at the last. Although Alexander clung on long enough to get through the finish and post a score, she was subsequently eliminated because she did not ride Cevo Socrates out of the arena, the horse had made a run for it. Ireland's Denis Lynch was also eliminated for a fall from Abbervail van het Dingeshof at the second part of the double at Fence 7.

Katie McVean said she was "delighted and amazed" to be in the money at a World Cup final. © Lulu Kyriacou
Frank Rothenburger's course produced 12 clear rounds overall but none was more exciting than New Zealand's Katie McVean. According to McVean, the always excited Delphi jumped the round of her life to leave the Kiwi rider 6th overall. "I am loving every minute so far. Whatever happens in the next couple of days this is a great experience for me and I am just delighted and amazed to be getting a prize at a World Cup Final," she said afterwards.

The results of this part of the contest often prove deceptive when the results are converted to points after the next round to give a total score.

Other clear rounds included Kevin Staut (9th on Silvana de Hus) Ashley Bond (8th on Cadett) and Richard Spooner on Cristallo. The fast four fault rounds include such luminary riders as Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum on her triple winner Shutterfly and Olympic champion Eric Lamaze, whose Hickstead was pronounced fit to compete after being asked to re-present at the vet check. He faulted at the fourth fence to be a little way off the pace after the first round.

First round winners Marco Kutscher and Cash 63.
© Lulu Kyriacou
Interview (English)

Marcus Ehning and Sabrina 327 were second in the first round. © Kit Houghton/FEI
Interview (English)

Kutscher said he would ride Cash in the next round after his victory today. "I thought maybe I might use my other horse Allerdings tomorrow, but instead I'm going to rely on the experience of Cash," he said. He placed eighth with te same horse at the finals in Las Vegas, USA in both 2005 and 2007.

Points calculated from these two competitions will allow only the top two thirds through to Sunday's Grand Prix final, which will be held over two gruelling rounds. Only 15 will qualify for the second round, and the rider with the minimum number of accumulated faults at the end of the competition will be declared the 2011 Rolex FEI World Cup Final champion.

• French rider Simon Delestre has confirmed that the sale of his champion speed mare, Orphee D'Illion, was down to the money offered by the connections of new rider Ahamed Hamcho.

"I will never have another speed horse like her but the owners were just offered too much money to turn down, but I am happy we have had such a good partnership. It will not be easy to find and then train another one like that," Delestre said.