Team Germany Wins the Final Leg and 2008 Samsung Super League with FEI Title
RELEASE: September 25, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Malina Gueorguiev
Germany reigned supreme at the Samsung Super League with FEI final in Barcelona, Spain, on September 21 to secure the 2008 title and their third consecutive series victory. Team members Ludger Beerbaum and Marco Kutscher produced the only two double-clear performances of the day, and Beerbaum secured the CHF50,000 Leading Rider Award for the 2008 season.
The Belgian team finished a strong second ahead of The Netherlands in third while the Irish took fourth ahead of the host team from Spain, who were seriously impressive. British hopes of ousting the Germans from the top of the leaderboard faded fast however, and they had to settle for sixth ahead of Switzerland, while it was a disappointing day for the USA as they finished second-last, beating only the three-man Swedish side, who were eliminated following the retirement of Jens Fredricson as Round Two got under way.Really Pleased
"I'm really pleased with how it went for us," said Beerbaum following the prizegiving. "I'm not just talking about today, but for the whole season. Germany had several teams with different riders gaining points for us, and today we had four really good performances. We were very disappointed after the Olympic Games—especially myself and Marco (Kutscher)—so it was great to show we could come back and jump well at this level, and I'm really happy about winning the Leading Rider Award," the rider added.
By the end of the first round the result was still wide open but the Germans were already out in front with just four faults while Belgium and The Netherlands shared second place with eight and Ireland lay close behind with nine. Spain, Switzerland and Great Britain were in joint-fifth spot with 16 faults apiece, but the Americans were already in big trouble having racked up a total of 24.
Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and SRF Dragonfly opened the U.S. account with six fences down, and when Georgina Bloomberg added 20 more faults on her tour of the track with Curius, then not even the excellent single-error round from Super League newcomer James Benedetto riding Kannan S Gigi Z and a classic clear from Laura Kraut and her Olympic Team Gold medal-winning partner Cedric could make amends. Sweden, meanwhile, was already feeling the pain of having only three team-members, trailing the field with a total of 28 at the half-way stage.The Perfect Challenge
The course set by Frank Rothenberger and Javier Trenor presented the perfect end-of-season challenge. "When we walked it I didn't feel that any one particular distance or combination of fences would cause a problem," Ludger said. "It was tough and demanding enough, but you could choose either a forward option or an extra-stride option in many places—you could see that on the run to the triple and after the triple—and it didn't suit just one particular type of horse so it was very fair," the German rider added.Sweden's Fate
Sweden's fate was sealed when Fredricson retired after his 11-year-old stallion Platini VDL hit five fences early on the track, but the Americans rallied brilliantly, if a little late, when Shahinian-Simpson's mare proved infinitely more rideable second time out to contrast her opening effort with a lovely clear. Kraut and Cedric were copy-book once again when picking up just a single time fault, so with Bloomberg's 12 faults dropped, only the 11 collected by Benedetto had to be added to complete their total of 36.
The non-Super League Spanish side added just 13 to their 16-fault first-round tally. Ricardo Jurado produced the best result with just a fence down from Procasa Julia des Brumes in both rounds, while the Swiss added 17 more to their score-sheet.
Pius Schwizer had an unhappy second round with Nobless M, who collected 25 faults, but Daniel Etter (Peu a Peu) and Steve Guerdat (Ferrari) faulted just once this time out while Nicklaus Schurtenberger'