Sarah Carless ..
A confident Australian team put up a brilliant performance to take their first FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing victory and break Germany’s winning run at their home leg at Aachen.
The Australian quartet led a competitive nine-nation field from the start and extended their lead of just 0.7 penalties after dressage to a convincing final margin of 9.5 penalties with four fast cross country rounds.
Chef d’Equipe Prue Barrett’s team, comprising of Shane Rose (CP Qualified), Christopher Burton (Nobilis 18), Samantha Birch (Hunter Valley II) and Sonja Johnson (Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison) put in strong performances to beat the German’s, who have won every FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing leg at Aachen since the series began in 2012.
“It was a great team event to win here in Aachen and a fantastic boost for Australian Eventing,” said Rose, who was the highest placed team rider in second. “We all came here as a team well prepared and focused and the win was what we wanted. Individually I am really happy with the three phases, in particular the dressage phase where it all came together really well. With a few weeks to Rio we will continue to fine tune and be ready as a team for the challenges there. I have only been in Europe for one week and of course coming to Aachen is a fantastic opportunity. I have always had this event on my program and plans through to Rio. We don’t have many events like this in Australia and to be able to run my horse over a beautiful course was super – however I should have gone one second faster,” he said.
Germany’s chances of taking victory were scuppered in the show jumping when Dirk Schrade had two Jumping rails down on Hop And Skip and Badminton runners-up Andreas Ostholt and So Is Et had three rails down. However, the team were boosted by Ingrid Klimke (SAP Escada FRH) and reigning Olympic champion Michael Jung (La Biosthetique Sam FBW) in fourth and sixth places individually.
Ireland is having a great FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing season and their all-female trio of Aoife Clark (Wasting Light), 13th, Elizabeth Power (Soladoun), 15th, and Sarah Ennis (BLM Diamond Deluxe), 20th all went clear across country to finish third.
Horse Sport Ireland Eventing high performance manager Nick Turner said: “The three girls all rode phenomenally well and to finish third overall without a discard score was quite an achievement. They deserve a huge amount of credit to jump clear in Show Jumping and Cross Country here in Aachen where the courses were very technical.”
Great Britain finished fifth. Nicola Wilson with One Two Many was the best British placed rider in eighth, with Kristina Cook and Calvino II in 12th. 12th places. Laura Collett and Grand Manoeuvre had an unlucky run out at Fence 22b – an influential double of angled hedges near the end of the course – marring an otherwise stellar round, whilst Frankie Reid-Warrilow was eliminated for cumulative refusals on Dolley Whisper.
After six events in the series, Great Britain remain at the top of the leader board with 465 points, having contested all six competitions, with wins at Ballindenisk (IRL) and Strzegom (POL). Germany lie in second (360 points) and France third (295 points).
In the individual competition, Michael Jung once again proved his precision feeling for time. The Olympic gold medallist, World and European Champion, set off on the cross-country course in the lead with his Olympic candidate fischerTakinou. He followed his intuition, which meant he was slightly over the optimum time when he crossed the finish line and picked up 5.20 penalty points. Had the German been one second slower, he would have come second behind Shane Rose from Australia. Jung finished on a score of 42.4 points, ahead of Rose on 42.8.
Ingrid Klimke came home in third and fourth place respectively with Horseware Hale Bob OLD and SAP Escada FRH, with Christopher Burton, who won the CICO Aachen in 2012 and 2013, came fifth with Nobilis 18, ahead of Michael Jung’s Badminton Winner La Biosthetique-Sam FBW.