Runaway Victory for Germany, U.S. Ends in Fourth and It's Farewell to France in the Samsung Super League Final
RELEASE: September 19, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Joanie Morris
Barcelona, Spain - The 2007 Samsung Super League with FEI final at Barcelona in Spain lived up to expectations on Sunday when, in a nail-biting thriller, Germany registered a second successive series title along with victory on the day.
But for France, champions over the first two seasons of this hugely popular and high-profile Nations Cup series, it was a case of so near and yet so far and luck played a big part as they were forced into relegation. A single fence separated them from the Swedish team who slotted into joint-second place with The Netherlands at the end of the day, and the Swedes owe a great deal to Holland's Gerco Schroder. Without his single second-round error they would not have shared runner-up spot and gained the extra two points that made all the difference in the final standings.
For the winning side it was a bit of a walk in the park. Christian Ahlmann and Lorenzo produced one of three double-clear performances - the other two coming from The Netherlands' Albert Zoer and Okidoki and Spain's Gonzalo Testa Ornat with Mme Pompadour. And Ahlmann could proudly say that he had not made a single mistake throughout the 2007 Samsung Super League with FEI this summer - "I had no faults with either Coster or Lorenzo" he pointed out with a big smile. It is his team-mate Marcus Ehning however who claims the €30,000 Leading Rider prize and today he did not even need to jump in the second round when, last to go, his services were surplus to requirements.
Ehning secured the German first-round zero score when foot-perfect with Sandro Boy after Ahlmann made it all look easy and Marco Kutscher's young grey stallion, Comet Obolensky, did likewise allowing them to dispense with errors for Thomas Muhlbauer and Asti Spumante at the water at fence 7 an the oxer at fence 10. The Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and the USA shared second spot, each carrying eight faults at the halfway stage, while France was next in line with 12, Belgium and Switzerland each carried 20 and the British - having yet another of their topsy turvy afternoon's - already had 28 on the board.
The line from the FEI vertical at fence five to the water-tray oxer at six and the open water at seven proved pivotal for many as did the final run down the triple combination to the last of Frank Rothenberger's 12 cleverly-place obstacles. The distance from fence five to fence six asked for a carefully-executed seven strides and then a forward five to the following water, while the treble was big and tight and tested tiring legs to the limit.
Second into the ring, Britain's Robert Smith and Ronaldo fell victim to the FEI vertical and then clipped both the second and third elements of the penultimate triple and when Tina Fletcher, very much a newcomer to this level of the sport and clearly struggling to stay afloat with the mare Overa, collected 24 faults the eight picked up by both David McPherson with Pilgrim 11 and John Whitaker with the coloured stallion Cortaflex utah van Erpekom had to be taken into account.
The Dutch looked like giving the Germans a run for their money when Jeroen Dubbeldam and BMC Up and Down and Zoer and Okidoki were clear but when both Ben and Gerco Schroder double-faulted, with BMC Rupert and Eurocommerce Berlin respectively, they lost their edge. Berlin seemed to seriously lose his jump towards the end of the first round and backed right off the triple combination but the handsome grey stallion recovered dramatically in the second round.
The French made the perfect start with Florian Angot and First de Launay keeping a clean sheet, but Aymeric de Ponnat was fortunate not to collect even more than 16 faults, helped by some luck on his way around the track, and when Kevin Staut's Kraque Boom Bois Margot hit the middle element of the treble and Olivier Guillon and Ionesco de Brekka did the same having already lowered the second element of the double at fence nine they began to slip.