FEI Vaulting World Cup Final French favourites storm ahead
Written by Joanne Eccles MBE
The 10th edition of the FEI Vaulting World Cup Final started in spectacular style with French favourites Manon Moutinho and Lambert Leclezio dominating the Individual Female and Male classes with their high difficulty, technical routines proving impossible to beat. Janika Derks and Johannes Kay of Germany, blew the competition away to take the top spot overnight in the Pas de Deux.
Derks, vaulting on top of Rockemotion lunged by Nina Vorberg, had to settle for second place overnight in the Individual Female competition with 7.883 points. Her gracefully performed technical routine didn’t score quite enough to stay ahead of Manon Moutinho (FRA) who finished with 8.237 points, and who teamed an incredibly high level of freestyle exercises with superbly performed technical moves to give herself a 0.3 lead going into tomorrow’s Final competing with Saitiri and Corrine Bosshard.
Showing the special bond they have Manon explained,
“It’s the first time my mare sees an arena like this. This was a big arena for her, and the crowd feels really close. When we came in, the lunger kept her close, and I trust her because I knew this was strategic, but as soon as she said ok – then I just went into performance mode”.
Manon Moutinho (FRA)
Kimberly Palmer (USA) (7.644) brought her artistry to the table to hold the bronze medal position, proving that she can take on the best in the world even when competing on a borrowed horse. Hannah Steverding sits just behind her on 7.436.
In the Male competition Lambert Leclezio (FRA) showed us just why he is the one to beat this year, aboard his reserve horse Saitiri, he delighted the audience with near perfect technical exercises to take the lead on 8.785. Just within touching distance, (8.489), Lorenzo Lupacchini (ITA) didn’t allow Lambert to get too far ahead. His experience was evident with Rosenstolz on the circle and Laura Carnabucci on the lunge as we were treated to his performance to Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’. After an unfortunate landing in his Cartwheel exercise, Jannik Heiland (GER) was forced to settle for third place with Lukas Heppler in fourth.
World Champions Janika Derks and Johannes Kay (GER) had a dream start to their Final competition together. A beautifully executed test gained them a perfect score from the artistic judge and an overnight score of 8.754. Compatriots, Chiara Congia and Justin Van Gerven, dug deep to show their best on a slightly unsettled Calidor with Patric Looser working hard from the center to ensure the pair could show the elements they planned. They were rewarded with a score of 7.873 but it will be a big ask for them to try to take the title tomorrow. Third place currently is the Austrian pairing, Romana Hintner and Eva Nagiller, with Jolina Ossenberg-Engels and Timo Gerdes completing the class.
The Leipziger Messe proved to be a challenging atmosphere for several horses throughout the competition. Thomas Brusewitz (GER) in 7th place, adapted as he went to try to complete his technical program on Calidor. An unfortunate fall in his last exercise, the jump to backwards stand, left him with no score for the exercise and a deduction at the end of the test. Eva Nagiller (AUT) finishing 8th was also forced to make modifications to her planned routine.
In today’s Individual FEI Vaulting World Cup Final it’s the French to beat, whilst the Pas de Deux class, we will see the end of an era as Janika Derks and Johannes Kay end their careers together.