ROLEX FEI WORLD CUPTM JUMPING 2009/2010
Olympia, London (GBR), 20 December 2009
AUDIO LINKS: Eric Van der Vleuten : http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/ROL_Van_der_leuten.mp3
Cian O'Connor : http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/ROL_OCoonor.mp3
ERIC AND TOMBOY STORM HOME AT OLYMPIA
Holland's Eric Van der Vleuten rocketed up to the top of the leaderboard after a superb victory with VDL Groep Tomboy in the sixth leg of the Rolex FEI World CupTM Jumping series at Olympia, London today. Ireland's Cian O'Connor set the target with Rancorrado in the 11-horse jump-off but was pipped at the post by the Dutchman's second-last-to-go ride, while Penelope Leprevost claimed third with Mylord Carthago.
Today's winner has amassed 57 points this season, so is already guaranteed a place at next April's Rolex FEI World CupTM Jumping Final in Geneva, Switzerland but he had to fight hard for those maximum 20 points today.
A BIT OF A PUZZLE
The first-round track proved a bit of a puzzle in the early stages, the tight confines of the Victorian Grand Hall at the central London venue once again proving a challenge when the fences were raised by course-designer Frank Rothenberger. Balance and rhythm were key to success, but Germany's Max Kuhner lost both of these when dislodged from Acantus GK at the vertical fence seven. He found himself running alongside his horse with a look of complete surprise on his face after Acantus jumped awkwardly and he was the only rider eliminated on the track. Two retired, but with 11 through against the clock it was always going to be a tough one to win.
Norway's Geir Gulliksen was pathfinder in the jump-off with L'Espoir but left one on the ground as did Sweden's Svante Johansson and Saint Amour. Third into the ring this time around was Johansson's team-mate Malin Baryard-Johnsson who had produced the most immaculate clear from the volatile mare, Actrice, first time out, but the Swedish star, who gave birth to her second child, Edward, just a few short weeks ago, saw her chances disappear with two fences on the floor.
Verona winners, Michael Whitaker and GIG Amai, were roared on by the home crowd but also fell victim to the double and it was O'Connor who returned the first zero score. Aileen Bryan's scopey 11 year old gelding covers a lot of ground and the Irishman left out a stride between the first two fences. He was a little careful to the double but still stopped the clock on 35.66 seconds to put it up to the rest of them.
A LITTLE CAUTIOUS
Two medal winners from this summer's Alltech FEI European Jumping Championships followed him into the ring but Italy's Natale Chiaudani was a little cautious with SNAI Seldana di Campalto while Switzerland's Pius Schwizer didn't take too many chances either with his lovely eight year old Carlina. Britain's Ben Maher and Robin Hood looked like a real threat to O'Connor's lead but despite taking a stride out to the last they only broke the beam in 36.07 and when European individual gold medallist Kevin Staut from France left one on the ground with Le Prestige St Lois, who insisted on bucking his way around the ring, only two more stood between the Irishman and victory.
Van der Vleuten's VDL Groep Tomboy was in a silly mood too, and also threw in a few bucking moments, but this 10 year old Emilion gelding is a speed machine and scorched home regardless in 35.08 seconds to clearly stamp his authority on the class. And although Penelope Leprevost's good nine year old Mylord Cathago was quick and clear they still had to settle for third in the final analysis.
A GREAT RUN
"My horse has been great for the last six months" said the winner afterwards, "and we've had a fantastic run in the World Cup this season". They finished eighth at the opening leg in Oslo, Denmark, third at the next leg in Helsinki, Finland and fourth at both Lyon, France and Verona, Italy over the last few weeks so today's result is not altogether a huge surprise.
Eric said he doesn't worry when Tomboy throws a buck "because it just means that he's feeling good. He only does it when he's very fit, and when you ask him to go faster against the clock - he's not trying to be difficult, it's just his way of playing a bit. He's a sharp kind of horse, and sometimes you might think that the bucking will lose you some time on the course but he's very fast and you don't want to stop him from enjoying himself!" the rider added.
Tomboy will now have a few weeks rest before coming back out for Amsterdam Show in the new year "and then maybe we will do a few more shows just to get ready for the final in Geneva. I'll make the plan with our Dutch Chef d'Equipe so we can be sure we are ready - I'm looking forward to it already!"
The Rolex FEI World CupTM Jumping action now moves on to Mechelen in Belgium next week.
The Netherlands' Eric Van der Vleuten pictured with his Rolex watch after winning today's sixth leg of the Rolex FEI World CupTM Jumping series at Olympia, London riding VDL Groep Tomboy. Picture: Kit Houghton.
Result: 1, VDL Groep Tomboy (Eric Van der Vleuten) Ned 0/0 35.08; 2, Rancorrado (Cian O'Connor) Irl 0/0 35.66; 3, Mylord Carthago (Penelope Leprevost) Fra 0/0 35.97; 4, Robin Hood W (Ben Maher) GBR 0/0 36.07; 5, Carlina (Pius Schwizer) Sui 0/0 36.77; 6, SNAI Seldana di Campalto (Natale Chiaudani) Ita 0/0 37.89; 7, GIG Amai (Michael Whitaker) GBR 0/4 35.16; 8, Saint Amour (Svante Johansson) Swe 0/4 36.34; 9, L'Espoir (Geir Gulliksen) Nor 0/4 37.35; 10, Le Prestige St Lois (Kevin Staut) Fra 0/4 38.06; 11, H&M Actrice (Malin Baryard-Johnsson) Swe 0/8 36.83.
FULL RESULTS at http://eventcontent.hippoonline.de/453/453zeitplanENG.htm
Rolex FEI World CupTM Jumping - Standings after sixth leg at Olympia, London:
1. Eric Van der Vleuten - 57
2. Pius Schwizer - 48
3. Rodrigo Pessoa - 41
4. Daniel Etter - 40
5. Natale Chiaudani - 38
6. Kevin Staut - 37
7. Ludger Beerbaum - 34
8. Marco Kutscher - 34
9. Marcus Ehning - 31
10. Michael Whitaker - 30
11. Patrice Delaveau - 29
12. Philipp Weishupt - 29
13. Ben Maher - 28
14. Albert Zoer - 26
15. Svante Johannson - 22
16. Daniel Deusser - 22
17. Beat Mandli - 21
18. Penelope Leprevost - 21
FULL RESULTS AT http://eventcontent.hippoonline.de/453/453zeitplanENG.htm
Facts and Figures:
11 horse and rider combinations qualified for the jump-off
The youngest horses in the competition were both 8 year olds and were both ridden by Swiss riders - Carlina with Pius Schwizer and LB Rendam ridden by Christina Liebherr.
The 8 year old Carlina jumped double-clear to finish fifth.
Cian O'Connor who finished second today "Rancorrado is deceptively fast - he's got a huge stride and he eats up the distances"
Frank Rothenberger, Course Designer "It was working out fine for me when the early riders had plenty of four faults but I got a bit of a surprise when there were 11 clear rounds!"
Cian O'Connor - "If you told me this morning I'd finish second today I would have been very happy!"
Ben Maher who finished fourth - "Robin Hood is not a quick jumper, so I struggle in the jump-offs. He's been a bit off-colour for a while but he feels really well again now"
Eric Van Vleuten, today's winner - "Olympia is such a great show - its what show jumping is all about, the crowds are so enthusiastic and the place is full of excitement - I love it!"
CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR WESTERN EUROPEAN LEAGUE: 1, Oslo (Norway) 9-11 October; 2, Helsinki (Finland) 15-18 October; 3, Lyon (FRA) 28 Oct-1 November; 4, Verona (Italy) 5-8 November; 5, Stuttgart (Germany) 15-22 November; 6, London-Olympia (Great Britain) 15-21 December; 7, Mechelen (Belgium) 26-30 December; 8, Leipzig (Germany) 21-24 January; 9, Zurich (SUI) 28-31 January; 10, Bordeaux (France) 5-7 February; 11, Vigo (Spain) 11-14 February; 12, Gothenburg (Sweden) 25-28 February; 13, s'Hertogenbosch (The Netherlands) 25-28 March; FINAL - Geneva (Switzerland) 14-18 April.
Broadcast Schedule can be downloaded from www.feiworldcup.org
Photo Catalogue - Photographs of winning riders in high/low resolution can be downloaded from FEI Photo Calalogue at www.fei.org>Media>Photo Catalogue - no reproution fee ut photographer must be credited (name appears under picture). Usage strictly for editorial purposes.
Media Guide - 2009/2010 Media Guide filled with useful facts, figures, statistics and contact details can be downloaded from www.feiworldcup.org - click on Jumping then Media. Hard copy available from FEI Communications - Email email@example.com.
FEI World CupTM Jumping has entered its 32nd season. The series, created in 1978, today comprises 14 leagues on all continents. The best riders from 121 preliminary competitions will qualify for the final in Geneva, Switzerland which takes place from 14-18 April 2008.
The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), founded in 1921, is the international body governing equestrian sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and includes 133 National Federations.
Equestrian sport has been on the Olympic programme since 1912 with three disciplines - Jumping, Dressage and Eventing. It is one of the very few sports in which men and women compete on equal terms. It is also the only sport which involves two athletes - horse and rider. The FEI has relentlessly concerned itself with the welfare of the horse, which is paramount and must never be subordinated to competitive or commercial influences.