Samsung Super League with FEI - The Dutch Deliver in St. Gallen; U.S. Second in Overall Standings
RELEASE: June 3, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Louise Parkes -- From an FEI Press Release
The Netherlands won through in style at the third leg of the 2008 Samsung Super League with FEI in St. Gallen, Switzerland, on Friday with a superior show of strength and a lot of class. They took control in the first round with three clear performances and proved unshakeable, while the Swiss and German teams rallied brilliantly to finish joint-second ahead of the USA in fourth. The British slotted into fifth ahead of Belgium in sixth, but it was a disappointing day for the Irish, who had to settle for second-last place while, for the third consecutive time, Sweden finished bottom of the order. It is not looking at all good for the Scandinavian side, who are trailing the leaderboard a full eight points behind the Irish, and almost 15 points behind the leading Dutch going into the halfway stage at Rotterdam in three weeks' time.
“All four horses went well in the first round, but it could have been a three-way jump-off with Switzerland and Germany after the second round except that I asked Gerco to do something about that for me and, as usual, he obliged." said the very pleased Dutch Chef d'Equipe Rob Ehrens afterwards. Schroder's two rounds with Eurocommerce Berlin oozed quality and energy and The Netherlands are looking really strong as they progress through this Olympic summer...
The time proved influential over Rolf Ludi's course but, as Ehrens pointed out, "if riders kept their rhythm and jumped it as it should be jumped then it was fine". In order to stay within the time limit it was essential to make a short right-hand turn to the open water at fence four, but the following vertical of narrow planks, jumped off a dog-leg line, claimed quite a number of victims as did the triple combination two fences later. Riders had plenty of space to prepare for this but it was a short single stride from the opening vertical to the middle vertical and short again to the final oxer - "if you had a big horse it was tight but if you came in slowly then it was nice" explained Dutch team-member Vincent Voorn who, with Audi's Alpapillon-Armanie, produced one of just two double-clear performances on the day.
Those who struggled with the combination often found themselves having to ride strongly to the following oxer five strides away, while the final line - a massive vertical to a strong double - also proved influential.
When Voorn's clear was mirrored by both Piet Raymakers (Van Schijndel's Rascin) and Schroder (Eurocommerce Berlin) the Dutch could drop Angelique Hoorn's single error with Blauwendraad's O'Brien to hold a zero score at the halfway point but it was a close-run thing at this stage. The Belgians were hot on their heels carrying just the single time faults picked up by both Patrick McEntee (Every Mury Marais Z) and Judy-Ann Melchior (Aktion Pur Z) when Jos Lansink was clear with Valentina van 't Heike allowing them to discard the single error from competition pathfinder Philippe Le Jeune riding Vigo d'Arsouilles. The American team was carrying just the four faults picked up by anchorman Will Simpson (El Campeon's Carlsson Vom Dach) after clears from Charlie Jayne (Urbanus) and Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (Dragonfly). Anne Kursinski's Holsteiner stallion Champ hit the planks after the water, the first element of the triple combination and the following oxer and also added a time fault for the drop-score here.
The British finished the opening round with five on the board - Tim Stockdale (Fresh Direct Corlato) and Ben Maher (Rolette) both unlucky to lower the second element of the final double in otherwise copybook rounds and Peter Charles picking up just a single time penalty with Murkas Rubert R. This was the former Irish rider's first major team outing since returning to ride under the British flag and he looked very much at home in the arena where, back in 1995, he clinched the individual European title