“I’ve been very successful in the Rolex series for quite a few years, but this season I am more keen than ever to get to the Final”
(PRWEB UK) 18 November 2012
SUPER STAUT REIGNS SUPREME IN STUTTGART
Kevin Staut broke German hearts today when, despite all the odds being in favour of a home-side win, it was the Frenchman who came out on top in the fifth qualifying round of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2012/2013 Western European League series at Stuttgart, writes Louise Parkes.
Partnering the on-form grey mare Silvana HDC, Staut snatched what looked like certain victory from Germany’s Marcus Ehning and Noltes Kuchengirl when quicker by a margin of just one-hundredth of a second in an action-packed 11-horse jump-off against the clock.
Third place went to Portugal’s Luciana Diniz and Winningmood, while Sweden’s Jens Fredricson and Lunatic slotted into fourth. Today’s result leaves Staut with the same number of points as Western European League leader Sergio Alvarez Moya from Spain who went out of contention this afternoon with a single mistake in the opening round of the competition. The Spaniard, however, continues to head the league table going into the next round at Geneva, Switzerland in December because he has had more consistently strong results so far throughout this Rolex indoor season.
Germany’s Christa Jung, one of the few female course designers on the international Jumping circuit, said before the competition began that she expected between eight and ten clears over her first-round track. With such a high-quality field of 40 starters however, it was no surprise when that number was exceeded.
With eight of the top-10 in the current Rolex World Rankings list, including World No. 1 and reigning Olympic champion Steve Guerdat from Switzerland in action, this was always going to be a heavyweight contest. And the home nation demonstrated its exceptional strength when six of the 10 German entries qualified for the barrage.
A total of 11 horse-and-rider combinations collected just a single first-round fence-penalty, and for many this came at the triple combination at fence six where the final element regularly hit the floor. As Staut explained afterwards, those running later in the class had something of an advantage. “There was a big water-tray oxer going in and coming out (at the triple combination), and many horses had some faults, particularly at the exit fence. In big Grand Prix competitions like this it is good to have the information about how the fences are jumping, and so it is always better to go towards the end of the class. When you don’t have that information, then it is much easier to make a mistake” he pointed out.
An interesting addition to the Rolex FEI World Cup™ jumping Western European League startlist today was Jessica Springsteen who represented the USA along with her trainer Laura Kraut. Both ladies picked up eight faults on their tour of the track but the decidedly less-experienced 20-year-old Springsteen, daughter of rock legend Bruce Springsteen, showed the potential that has seen her rise to prominence in recent times.
A look at the second-round jump-off running order continued to suggest a German victory, as four former Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping champions were included and they were all from the host country. Ludger Beerbaum and Christian Ahlmann are both one-time champions, while Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Marcus Ehning have each taken the title on three occasions.
And it was Michaels-Beerbaum who led the way against the clock. The Los Angeles-born 42-year-old however is carefully producing her latest star ride, the nine year old mare Bella Donna, and is in no rush to put her under pressure. So she steered her way home to set the target with a fine clear in the generous time of 52.41 seconds.
Jens Fredricson and Lunatic are never ones to hang about however, and the Swedish pair showed a new route home when turning sharply right-handed after clearing the FEI vertical which was now third fence on the track. That left them way up on time going to the following oxer, and from there it was a case of running as quickly as possible through the two remaining elements of the former triple combination, clearing the following vertical and then turning back sharply again to race down the long distance to the final obstacle, the wall which was previously jumped in the opposite direction as the first fence in the opening round. Fredricson cleared the line more than eight seconds quicker, and this was always going to be a competitive effort.
Full report at http://www.fei.org