FIRST DRESSAGE DAY AT THE HSBC FEI EUROPEAN EVENTING CHAMPIONSHIP
Fontainebleau (FRA), 24 September 2009
Audio links (click the name to listen to the interview):
Franck Ostholt (GER) in German
Michael Jung (GER) in German
Dirk Schrade (GER) in German
William Fox Pitt (GBR)
Lucy Wiegersma (GBR)
Nicola Wilson (GBR)
Karim Laghouag (FRA) in French
Erik Vigeanel (FRA) in French
Sam Watson (IRL)
GERMANY TAKE EARLY LEAD AT THE HSBC FEI EUROPEAN EVENTING CHAMPIONSHIP
The German squad has begun the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships at Fontainebleau (FRA) as they mean to go on, with 3 riders in the top 4 and a healthy 14-point lead over defending champions Great Britain at this very early stage of proceedings after the first day of Dressage.
France is in bronze position, thanks to an excellent performance from their second team rider, Eric Vigeanel on the 19-year-old Coronado Prior, who is lying indivually 6th. "My horse is like a good wine - he improves with age," joked Vigeanel.
And Belgium is lying 4th, with the promise of a good test to come tomorrow from anchorwoman Karin Donckers (BEL) on the graceful Gazelle de la Brasserie.
In the current individual standings, Frank Ostholt (GER), second to go for his team on the 14-year-old Hannoverian gelding Air Jordan, has a minute 0.4 lead over individual rider Dirk Schrade (GER) on Gadget de la Cere, and team rookie Michael Jung (GER), their trailblazer, is in equal 4th place on his 4* winner La Biosthetique Sam, also the HSBC FEI World CupTM Eventing Champion.
"We are World and Olympic Champions but somehow the European title has evaded us over the last few years," said Ostholt, noting that Germany's last European team gold medal was, astonishingly, as far back as Kiev (USSR) in 1973. "We hope to put that right this weekend!"
William Fox-Pitt (GBR), second to go for Great Britain, interrupted German domination with a beautiful test on the long-legged French bred chestnut Idalgo, who was produced by Nicolas Touzaint.
And British individual Lucy Wiegersma lies in equal 4th place on Woodfalls Inigo Jones, a rising star who was 5th at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event in April.
"He was very suspicious of the arena and seemed to think there was a ghost hiding behind every flowerpot," said Wiegersma. "It was a big step up for him and I'm thrilled, because I think there is a lot more to come."
Germany should consolidate their lead tomorrow, when Ingrid Klimke (GER) and Andreas Dibowski (GER) perform their tests, and Britain has Olympic bronze medallist Kristina Cook (GBR) and dual 4* winner Oliver Townend (GBR) to come, while great excitement will surround the team debut of Italian rider Roberto Rotatori following his brilliant 4th place at on his 4* debut at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) in May.
However, all riders acknowledge that Pierre Michelet's (FRA) Cross-Country course could completely change the order. "It is a real championship course," said Frank Ostholt. "There's a lot to jump, it's very technical and you need to remain very focussed."
Frank Ostholt (GER) aboard Air Jordan 2 © Kit Houghton. Additional photographs in high resolution are available from the online FEI Photo Catalogue.
65 riders have started the competition from 18 nations, with 8 nations forming teams
The ground jury is Michel Asseray (FRA), David Lee (IRL) and Anne Mette Binder (DEN)
Technical delegate is Tom Ryckewaert (BEL)
Frank Ostholt, Dressage leader: "I am very pleased with my Dressage test. Air Jordan is an old horse who knows the job. When you walk him around on a long rein outside the arena he is very relaxed, but when he comes into the arena he becomes quite ambitious and you have to ride him carefully because he can become excited. He is my horse of a lifetime - I have been on the German squad seven times (since 1993), and six of those occasions was with him."
William Fox-Pitt, 3rd: "If Idalgo was a human, he would be a troublesome child. His dressage was much better than at Badminton (where he was 2nd) and to be just 2 points behind Air Jordan feels like a miracle."
On the Cross-Country, Fox-Pitt commented: "There isn't one particular fence that blows me away, but the whole way round there are difficult fences and places to make a mistake. It's a track which requires forward riding. I'm not sure that the turning will suit Idalgo, and I will have to help him, but he jumped around Les Etoiles de Pau last year beautifully, so that has given me confidence about Monsieur Michelet's courses."
1 Germany, 84.2
2 Great Britain, 98.2
3 France, 101.3
4 Belgium, 105.90
5 Italy, 115.40
6 Netherlands, 117.00
7 Ireland, 118.9
8 Sweden, 121.30
1 Frank Ostholt/Air Jordan (GER) 39.2
2 Dirk Schrade/Gadget de la Cere (GER) 39.6
3 William Fox-Pitt/Idalgo (FRA) 41.5
4= Michael Jung/La Biosthetique Sam (GER) 45
4= Lucy Wiegersma/Woodfalls Inigo Jones (GBR) 45
6 Eric Vigeanel/Coronado Prior (FRA) 46.7
7 Pascal Leroy/Glenburny du Leou (FRA) 48.3
8 Joris Van Springel/Bold Action (BEL) 49.2
9 Niklas Lindback/Mister Pooh (SWE) 49.8
10 Didier Dhennin/Ismene du Temple (FRA) 50.6
FOLLOW THE EVENT
Full results and start sheets on www.fontainebleau2009.com
Photographs: High resolution photographs will be available from the online FEI Photo Catalogue. Please note that these photographs are for editorial use only.
WATCH THE EVENT ON FEI TV
Extensive and high-quality live and on-demand coverage of the event will be offered on www.feitv.org
Confirmed (live) broadcasting times on www.feitv.org are:
Friday, September 25 (tbc): 19:00-20:00 CEST (highlights package)
Saturday, September 26: 11:00-17:00 CEST (Cross-Country)
Sunday, September 27: 10:00 - 12:00 CEST (Jumping Part l)
Sunday, September 27: 14:00 - 16:30 CEST (Jumping Part ll)
HSBC, ‘the world's local bank', is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations. HSBC Holdings plc is the exclusive financial services partner to the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) and in 2008 became a ‘Platinum Sponsor' - the FEI's highest sponsorship platform.
HSBC's equestrian sponsorship portfolio includes:
The HSBC FEI ClassicsTM
The HSBC FEI World CupTM Eventing
The HSBC FEI European Eventing Championship 2009
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