Home Team Gets Best of Draw in Aachen for the Samsung Super League with FEI Series
RELEASE: July 5, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Louise Parkes
The rain was still falling in Aachen, but German eyes were smiling as the home team was drawn in the most favorable position for Thursday's leg of the 2007 Samsung Super League with FEI series.
Deputizing for chef d'equipe Kurt Gravemeier, top German rider Markus Beerbaum was delighted when his country was drawn last to go of the eight nations, but British chef d'equipe Derek Ricketts was less enthusiastic when his side was pulled out of the hat in No. 1 position. "We've had an up-and-down season so far," said the manager of the British team, which won the second leg of the series in Rome before suffering elimination in St. Gallen and then winning again at the last outing in Rotterdam two weeks ago. "Somehow I think it could be our turn to finish last this time!" he said with a mixture of amusement and resignation.
The order-of-go for the competition is as follows:
1. Great Britain
5. The Netherlands
"This is the fifth leg of the Samsung Super League with FEI series and, as usual, Germany is in the lead!" said FEI First Vice-President Sven Holmberg, "But we are looking forward to a very exciting competition, and it will be interesting to see how the new formula, with the second round jumped under floodlights, will work out," he added.
If the weather continues as it has been, however, then the first round could also be jumped under lights. Aachen, which is well known as a wet spot, has not escaped the downpours that have been plaguing most of Europe in recent weeks, and riders were obliged to battle with some very difficult conditions during Wednesday's classes.
The Swiss team has already lost one of it's most important assets; Christina Liebherr suffered a very nasty accident on Tuesday and will not compete for the rest of the week. "She was riding down to the oxer, which was the third-last jump on the course, and she got a bit close and her horse crashed into the fence," explained Chef d'Equipe Rolf Grass. "The horse then came back up and hit her hard in the face; she was knocked out cold for a few minutes," he added. Liebherr was rushed to the hospital and kept under observation overnight. However, although she was back at the showgrounds on Wednesday, her team manager is determined she will not compete for the remainder of the fixture. "She has a big black eye, and I don't want her to ride again until she is well recovered," Grass insisted.
His team therefore consists of Theo Muff, Markus Fuchs, Niklaus Schurtenberger and Pius Schwizer, and the remainder of the managers also named their sides. British pathfinder will be Nick Skelton, who will be followed by Rotterdam hero David McPherson and Ellen and Michael Whitaker. George Morris listed Richard Spooner, Margie Engle, McLain Ward and Beezie Madden, and they will be under considerable pressure. They had a horrible day in Rotterdam and dropped to last on the series leaderboard, which needs to be addressed this time out.
Just ahead of them, by only a single point, are the Swedes and Maria Gretzer knows that Helena Lundback, Royne Zetterman, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Lotta Schultz have no room for error while the French are only marginally better off. Gilles Bertran de Balanda will be looking for a strong performance from Florian Angot, Olivier Guillon, Michel Hecart and Roger-Yves Bost.
Vincent Voorn will be first into the ring for The Netherlands, currently fifth on the league table, and will be joined by Marc Houtzager, Albert Zoer and Gerco Schroder, while the fourth-place Belgian side includes Patrick McEntee, Francois Mathy Jr., Mark Van Dijck and Jos Lansink.
The German stranglehold on pole position has been eroded by strong British performances, and just 4.75 points separate the two sides at the top of the order, but it would be difficult to forecast a German defeat. Marcus Ehning, w