Sweden's Niklas Lindbäck and Mister Pooh scored a brilliant back-to-back victory in the FEI World Cup event at Malmö in Sweden at the weekend, the penultimate competition in the 2011 series.
Niklas Lindbäck and Mister Pooh scored a back-to-back victory at the Malmö World Cup round in Sweden.
Lindbäck, who triumphed in 2010 and went on to impress at several other international events, including a fifth place at Badminton this year, jumped clear in the final phase to take the top spot after overnight leader Ingrid Klimke on FRH Butts Abraxxas hit three fences.
"I am very pleased with how Mister Pooh jumped," said Lindbäck. "We had a few mistakes in the dressage, but he is on great form ready for the Europeans. I didn't expect to win again and to do it in front of a home crowd is great."
Third after the cross-country, Lindbäck finished the competition with just 0.4 of a penalty in hand over the highest-placed German rider, 22-year-old Julia Krajewski, second on After The Battle, for whom it was a best three-star placing.
Kai Rüder (GER) had an expensive two rails down on the stallion Leprince des Bois and dropped from second to third, but he joked: "I'm keeping my clear round for the Europeans!"
Lindbäck now moves into 10th place in the FEI World Cup Eventing rankings, with one more event to go, at Haras du Pin in France. But the main beneficiary from Malmö was Lucy Wiegersma, the sole British rider to make the long journey. She was fourth on Simon Porloe and seventh on Woodfalls Inigo Jones and now moves into eighth place in the rankings.
A strong field of 40 started at Malmö, a key selection trial for German and Swedish riders before the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championship later this month (25-28 August).
Simone Deiterman (GER) and FRH Free Easy led the dressage phase from Klimke, but suffered a cross-country refusal. The only rider to achieve the optimum time was Sandra Gustafsson (SWE) on Top Select, but she was one of three riders to withdraw before the jumping. A total of 36 completed the cross-country with 23 clear rounds.
Lindbäck said he didn't push Mister Pooh across country, but he still finished with the second fastest time of the day. "When Mister Pooh gets into the rhythm he is a very fast horse, and you don't need to push him," he said.
Former Swedish rider Yogi Breisner, who trains the British team and had paid a flying visit to his homeland, described the track designed by Guiseppe della Chiesa as "a very decent track, difficult and twisty".
Malmö is one of the more unusual eventing venues, but popular with riders for its attractive seaside setting against the backdrop of the Twisting Torso. The showground will host the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championship in 2013, the first to be held in Sweden. Klimke said she had already told her friends to book the date: "Even if I am not picked, I want to come back. It is a very special track," she said.
Catrin Norinder, Director of Eventing and Olympic at the FEI, said: "Thousands of spectators flocked to watch the cross country at FEI World Cup Eventing in Malmö - the event was a major success and the support from the city was immense.
"Malmö now has its preparations under way for the FEI European Eventing Championship for Young Riders, which will take place 10-12 August 2012."