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Federation Equestre Internationale News

FEI World Cup Jumping News: Fuchs Wins The First Final Competition At Drama-Filled Sony Ericsson FEI World Cup Final In Milan......

There was high drama on the opening day of the Sony Ericsson FEI World Cup Final in Milan today where Switzerland's Markus Fuchs and Tinka’s Boy took the early lead.

He threw down a powerful challenge when fourth into the ring in this speed event and the rest of the runners simply could not match his target-time of 68.35 but defending champions, Markus Ehning and Anka, are breathing down his neck going into tomorrow’s competition having finished second ahead of fellow-German Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum who was third with Shutterfly.

Course-designer Uliano Vezzani set them a 13-fence track with plenty of turn-backs and three different doubles to be jumped, and it was two of these that proved most influential throughout the class. The very first rider into the ring, America’s Laura Kraut, fell victim to the double of water-trays at fence six when Anthem, unsighted until the last moment, suddenly jammed on the brakes, and Lars Nieberg suffered the same fate with Lucie while Canada’s Elliott Stone went flying out of the saddle when Free Style decided not to be quite so free after all at this one.

The first of the two verticals here hit the floor on many occasions while the final fence, also a double, played a huge part in finishing the chances of many partnerships who jumped perfectly well to that point of the track.

Creditable performances from real rookies like Australia’s Timothy Amitrano and the aptly-named Mr Innocent who travelled all the way from the Southern Hemisphere and who lowered just two fences, Turkey’s Sencer Can who had just one down with Corlanda and Gunnar Klettenberg who produced some lovely jumping but had two mistakes with Novesta for Estonia showed just how much improvement has been taking place outside of the mainstream leagues but that made it all the more surprising when it all went horribly wrong for the big favourite, Rodrigo Pessoa.

The Brazilian who scored a hat-trick of wins between 1998 and 2000 had looked like the man to beat over the past few weeks but his stallion, Baloubet du Rouet, seemed very strong and, running on after the ditch-double at six, he hit the following oxer and then caught the vertical at eight for eight faults. This was to leave him in 24th place and afterwards Rodrigo decided to withdraw saying "Baloubet did not jump well yesterday and I think he has a back problem. He felt very stiff today and did not jump well. When he does not feel 100% he is very difficult to ride. To win the final against the best combinations in the world you need to be at your very best and the horse needs to give 100%. There is no point in my continuing in this competition" he concluded.

To add even further drama to the evening, America’s McLain Ward and Goldika took a very nasty fall at another double – a triple bar to oxer – at fence five. Turning very tight around fence one to get their line, they stood a long way off the first element and crashed through the poles. The mare, formerly ridden by Germany’s Toni Hassman but sold last year, was very shaken as she got to her feet but horse and rider left the arena together.

As, one by one, the rest took their chance Markus Fuch’s target looked better and better.

"My horse jumped really beautifully. Because I had to go at the beginning I didn’t take any crazy chances but I did try to be fast and I’m very pleased. After I jumped my round I thought it was good but not good enough to win – I wanted to be in the first five but I didn’t want to go too wild" he said.

Top of the leaderboard after Day 1 he was feeling very pleased yesterday evening but the confidence with which Markus Ehning steered Anka round the track may be something for him to think about today while Meredith’s performance with Shutterfly was not a lot short of perfection.

With four seconds added for every fence down, clear rounds were the deciding factor in settling the order at this early stage and Thomas Velin in fourth with Equest Carnute, Malin Baryard and H&M Butterfly Flip in fifth, Bruno Broucqsault (Dileme de Cephe) in sixth and Toni Hassmann with Camirez B in seventh position could all turn the tables when the second final competition takes place tomorrow.

After a very difficult season however today’s victory was all the sweeter for the winner. Markus has been suffering badly with lower-back and leg pain, particularly since the Top Ten Final in Geneva in December, and he had to earn a wildcard in order to compete in Milan.

"I’m getting older, when you are over 50 years of age it’s not so easy!" he said today. "I have been told I have a chronic inflammation of my lower pelvic area and I have had attention for that for some time but at Geneva on 6th December it suddenly got very, very bad – I have physiotherapy every day to help it. There has been a lot of pain but I take a lot of painkillers and the first time I felt really OK for some time was on the Sunday of Gothenburg. Today also I had no pain". Perhaps that is not too surprising considering the result….


Markus Fuchs:

Talking about how he has managed to keep his string of horses fit while he has been out of action himself he said – "I only started to jump again in Paris and I still had a lot of problems there but I had to go to s’Hertogenbosch to fulfil the conditions to get the wildcard to come here, so we hired several people to train the horses – both unknown and well-known. I am in the lucky position to have other good Grand Prix horses and some of them have been competing with Lesley McNaught".

Talking about what Tinka’s Boy has been doing while he has been out of the saddle Markus said "He doesn’t need much jumping at home and he had two to three months rest. Some horses need to compete in a few shows to prepare them again after a break but with him that is not the case and he showed in Gothenburg that he was in really good shape".

Markus Ehning said "I hope it goes well for me for the next few days but the course for the first day was a good course although maybe we could have had more options but at the end it worked out OK. The first few riders are looking very strong and have every chance over the next few days".

Asked about why he chose to ride Anka at the Final he said "It was my first plan to ride Anka. She had a break for three months and then I rode in Paris. I did have a problem training her at home but she started here feeling really good. I’m not sure if I will ride her all three days but today she jumped really well so she will go again tomorrow and we will see about Sunday".

Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum said "In general I was very pleased with Shutterfly. My goal was to be in the top five, not necessarily to win. Speed classes are not his strongest point so third today was perfect for me".

Course Designer Uliano Vezzani said "I was making my debut at a World Cup final and was anxious about building at this level. Not having options was part of the formula of the competition because it was a Table A over a Table C track and I’m pleased with the result and looking forward to the next few days".

RESULT: 1, Tinka’s Boy (Markus Fuchs) Sui 0/68.35; 2, Anka (Markus Ehning) Ger 0/69.09; 3, Shutterfly (Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum) Ger 0/69.77; 4, Equest Carnute (Thomas Velin) Den 0/70.48; 5, H&M Butterfly Flip (Malin Baryard) Swe 0/70.99; 6, Dileme de Cephe (Bruno Broucqsault) Fra 0/71.44; 7, Camirez B (Toni Hassmann) Ger 0/71.66; 8, Qerly Chin (Christophe Barbeau) Sui 0/72.61; 9, Eurocommerce Montreal (Wim Schroder) Ned 4/72.86; 10, Portofino (Michael Whitaker) GB 0/73.20; 11, Cigale du Tallis (Eugenie Angot) Fra 0/73.66; 12, Albin 111 (Juan Carlos Garcia) Ita 0/73.95; 13, Nassau (Jeroen Dubbeldam) Ned 0/74.85; 14, Audi’s Jikke (E Van der Vleuten) Ned 4/74.87; 15, Lando (O Becker) Ger 4/75.11; 16, Parco (Ludo Philippaerts) Bel 8/76.65; 17, Lauriston (Peter Wylde) USA 4/77.84; 18, Hilton Flight (Richard Spooner) USA 8/78.38; 19, Montender (Marco Kutscher) Ger 4/78.49; 20, El Campeon’s Ado Annie (William Simpson) USA 8/78.68; 21, MacKinley (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) Swe 8/78.79; 22, Catch 22 (Ainsley Vince) Can 8/79.16; 23, El Campeon’s So Long (Nicole Shahinian-Simpson) usa 4/79.21; 24, Baloubet du Rouet (Rodrigo Pessoa) Bra 8/79.24; 25, Diane de Fontenis (Grzegorz Kubiak) Pol 4/79.38; 26, VDL Groep Eve des Etisses (Hubert Bourdy) Fra 8/80.51; 27, Remember Me (Laura Linback) USA 8/82.29; 28, Anthem (Laura Kraut) USA 0/82.34; 29, Corlanda (Sencer Can) Tur 4/82.80; 30, JPC Modesto Equifoam (Jean Marc Nicolas) Fra 8/83.04; 31, Flashlight (Dominey Alexander) RSA 8/84.30; 32, Mill Creek Sweet Dream (Yann Candele) Fra 12/84.71; 33, Salamandra Chapman Rouge (Andre Miranda) 8/87.06; 34, Novesta (Gunnar Klettenberg) Est 8/87.65; 35, Mr Innocent (Timothy Amitrano) Aus 8/97.54; 36, Lucie (Lars Nieberg) Ger 4/99.08; 37, Wembley Da Lagoa (Marcelo Lemes de Souza) 28/107.64; 38, Survival (Seiji Ninomiya) Jap 28/111.40; Free Style (Elliot Stone) Can Elim; Goldika (McLain Ward) USA Elim; Opium Metodo (Ambak Qabil) Mal Elim.


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