Hong Kong 17th August
n the 2nd Qualifier there were 13 individuals that jumped first and then the team riders went.
There only 5 clean rounds from 77 combinations, and Australia’s Edwina Alexander was one of them.
Edwina was brought up in Sydney and moved to Europe 10 years ago where she lives with her partner Jan Tops, from The Netherlands. Jan who won the gold medal in the team jumping event at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain riding Top Gun. He competed in four consecutive Summer Olympics for his native country, starting in 1988.
Edwina really flew at the first jump and just kept it going for the first fence. Her French Gelding, Itot du Chateau is one of the smallest horses on the European jumping circuit and certainly one of the best.
Three further clear rounds came from Rolf-Goran Bengtsson of Sweden riding Ninja, Eric Lamaze and Hickstead of Canada, Ward Mclain and Sapphire from the United States and the ever popular Rodrigo Pessoa on Rufus from Brazil.
Australian Matt Williams who competed in front of his family was so close but did have a rail. The determined Matt who now lives in Europe to ensure he has th greatest opportunity for succes was ewxtremely disappointed.
In the team competition there were 2 horses that left all the fences upright and with just one time penalty in rounds that had to be fast to make the 90 second time allowed. Tony Andre Hansen did an absolutely magnificent round on Camiro and Opium riden by Marc Houtzager of Norway was so close to the time.
Several jumps really put some of the horses under pressure. The water jump was 4 metres wide and there were a lot of toes in the water. It seemed to wake the horses up though, and many went on the do a much better job in the back end of the course.
Jump 7 was intended to draw the horses eyes down to the ground and left many unprepared for the sweeping bend to the oxer at 8. A gallop from 10 to 11a, the first of the treble combination had many horses a little flat making the first vertical into the combination very difficult.
The speed of the course at 375 metres per minute was actually slower that a traditional Nation Cup where the speed is quite a bit faster at 400metres per minutes. Parts off the course really needed to be galloped at 400metres per minute to provide the momentum required, this was really obvious at the water jump.
Competing as an Individual, Jos Lansink from Norway had a fabulous clear round but incurred on time penalty on the magnificent stallion Cumano. Cumano is one of the best horses in the world and a favourite for the Individual Gold medal. Points from the second qualifier are carried through to the next round.
Joe, who carries forward one penalty point, used to ride for the Netherlands but became a Belgium citizen as he lives and works there. He now rides for Belgium.
Katie McVean riding Forest for New Zealand had a very similar night to her team mate Sharn Wordley ‘s first qualifier. Katie just couldn’t get Forest to really move forward off her leg and ended with a penalty tally of 45.
Marco Kutscher from Germany riding Cornet Obolensky a Flemmish Warmblood stallion could not quite make the time for the Olympic course and ended with 13 points in total His score will not be used going forward in the Team finals on Tuesday night. This will be a disappointment to the Bronze Olympic medallist.
Marco originally finished fourth in the show jumping at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, but was moved to third place and received a bronze medal after Irish gold medal winner Cian O'Connor was stripped of his medal after a doping scandal involving O'Connor's horse Waterford Crystal.
Meredith Michaels Beerbum and Shutterfly have been called one of the best combinations in the world. Together they won the Individual and team bronze at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen. Unfortunately Meredith took 4 point at jump 10 a big Oxer with a 1.8 metre spread. Although now a German citizen and riding for the German Olympic team, Meredith was born in Los Angeles and the first woman to have reached the No. 1 position on the FEI show jumping world rankings (December 2004) and was ranked #1 in the world four consecutive months in 2007
Ludger beerbaum, winner of Gold medals at Seol, Atlanta, Barcelona and Sydney is not having an easy ride at the 2008 Beijing Olymoics on All Inclusinve and took two rails for 8 penalty points in the 2nd Qualifier. He came in to the water on an angle which of course makes the already massive 4 metre water even wider.
Another Olympic medallist Rolf-goran Bengtsson from Sweden had a fabulous clear round, even having enough time to have a look at the big screen over his shoulder. His Dutch Warmblood Ninja, lived up to his name in agility. Ninja does have a small stride, but he kept going forward which allowed him to make the time allowed. Rolf-goran was a Silver Medallist at the Athen Olymic games and placed 12th in the Team completion at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen in 2006.
Peter McMahon from Australia had a bad start on Genoa, taking the first fence of the night, and ended up on a score of 16. He will though go through to the Team Finals, where he will have a chance to put in a better performance.
Angelique Hoorn from the Netherlands nearly didn’t ride here at the Beijing Olympic Games. She and Marc Houtzager were selected by coach Rob Ehrens to represent the Netherlands at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing after injuries forced Jeroen Dubbeldam and Albert Zoer out of the team.
Her selection will be vindicated by her score with O’Brien of only 4 penalty points.
Vincent Voorn whoes father competed at Sydney Olympics in 2000 rode Alpapillon-Amranie in the 2nd qualifier and made most of the course look like hard work, although he took the water jump beautifully. That one jump was not enough though to keep him in the top three of the team and his score will no longer count.
At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Mclain Ward won the gold medal as part of the United States team, together with Peter Wylde, Chris Kappler and Beezie Madden (who is also competing here at the Beijing Olympics)
His mare Sapphire is by the same stallion (Darco) as Patick Lam’s Stallion Urban. Patrick was not fortunate as Mclain who had a clear round and is looking to be in a good position to continue the Olympic winning streak. Patrick Lam finished the night on 9 penalty points but absolutely delighted with his performance as was the Hong Kong crowd.
Mclain had the first double clear of the evening having had one of very few clear rounds in the first qualifier held earlier in the week.
For Laurie Lever from Australia it iwas not a good night.16 penalty points gave him the same as Peter Mcmahon. Depending what happens further on in the competition one of these riders scores may be discard as only the top three scores count. Laurie is an expereinced competitor and could well pull a clear round out of his hat in the next qualifier.
Niklaus Schurtenberger Switzerland had a great round, showing genuine care over the verticals in the course and great stretch on the oxers, and a clear round for Eric Lamaze and Hickstead means that he could be favourite for the individual Gold.
In 1992 Rodrigo Pessoa rode Special Envoy in the Olympic Games in Barcelona for Brazil, making him one of the youngest rider to compete in the Olympics at the age of 19. In 1996 he again rode in the Olympics in Atlanta and helped Brazil win the bronze medal with Loro Piana TomBoy. In 1998 he won rider of the Year and his clear round in the 2nd qualifier will place him in a good postion for a chance of a medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Order of Canada recipient and member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.Ian Millar has competed in 9 Olympic Games and all on different horses. Here at this Olympics riding In Style, Ian moves to the next round with 4 penalty points, but is easily still in the running for an individual medal and a team medal with the Canadian team.
© Cyberhorse 2008 Toni-Anne Collins