Michael Jung leads German triumph at Fontainebleau
Michael Jung, Olympic and European champion and his wonderful 16-year-old horse La Biosthetique Sam FBW led the German team to victory in the competitive opening leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing 2016 at the weekend at Fontainebleau (FRA).
Jung and Sam also took the individual CIC3* honours for the second year running (Michael Jung was also second on FischerRocana FST) and Sandra Auffarth, the world champion, came third on her great chestnut gelding Opgun Louvo; she was the only rider in the field without cross country time penalties, finishing exactly on the optimum time of 6 minutes 15 seconds.
Their team mates, Jorg Kurbel (Brookfield Bouncer) and Andreas Ostholt (So Is Et), were also clear on cross country, although like most of the field with time penalties in double figures.
Host nation France finished second, led by former European champion Nicolas Touzaint (FRA), who knows his way around the twisting forested tracks of Fontainebleau well and finished fourth individually on Crocket 30, and European team silver medalists Thomas Carlile and Sirocco du Gers who placed fifth individually. Gwendolen Fer and Romantic Love, who came second in Fontainebleau last year helping France to win the series opening leg, were this year eliminated for a horse fall at fence 14.
Ireland, who won the last FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing meet of 2015 in Boekelo, placing sixth overall in the series, produced another determined performance in Fontainebleau and finished third, led by Jonty Evans, who placed 11th individually on his exciting Olympic prospect Cooley Rorkes Drift.
An all-male Australian trio led the dressage phase, but slipped to fourth when Andrew Hoy (Cheeky Calimbo) had a run-out at fence 10a. Bill Levett finished best of the team, in eighth place on Improvise.
A three-rider Swedish team finished fifth, led by the 2012 Olympic silver medalist Sara Algotsson-Ostholt riding Reality 39.
Great Britain, who won the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing 2015, slipped from fourth after dressage to sixth out of nine teams with refusals at fence 18 for both Gemma Tattersall (Quicklook V) and Dani Evans (Smart Time). Izzy Taylor finished best of the quartet in 14th on Allercombe Ellie with the second fastest cross country time (2.4 penalties).
There were 49 clear rounds from the 71 cross country starters and 59 completions, but the optimum time proved influential around Olympic designer Pierre Michelet’s (FRA) track, which is always technically demanding thanks to its winding route around the ancient forest of Fontainebleau.
The course at the next FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing 2016 venue, Ballindenisk (IRL), a typically, bold Irish track designed by Peter Fell (IRL), could not be more contrasting, and promises an equally thrilling competition next month (22-24 April).
1 Germany 161.2 penalties
Michael Jung/La Biosthetique Sam, 40.1; Sandra Auffarth/Opgun Louvo, 45.9; Jorg Kurbel/Brookfield Bouncer, 75.2 (Andreas Ostholt/So Is Et, 78.7)
2 France 167.1
Nicolas Touzaint/Crocket 30, 51.6; Thomas Carlile/Sirocco Du Gers, 51.6; Arnaud Boiteau/Quoriano ‘ENE HN’, 63.9 (Gwendolen Fer/Romantic Love, EL XC)
3 Ireland 197.3
Jonty Evans/Cooley Rorkes Drift, 60.7; Cathal Daniels/Rioghan Rua, 67.1; Austin O’Connor/Kilpatrick Knight, 69.5 (Clare Abbot/Euro Prince, 77.7)
4 Australia 204.6
Bill Levett/Improvise, 55.0; Christopher Burton/Haruzac, 63.4; Andrew Hoy/Cheeky Calimbo, 86.2
5 Sweden, 246.9
Sara Algotsson Ostholt/Reality 39, 66.8; Frida Andersen/Herta, 77.3; Jonna Friman/Lady-Grey, 102.8
6 Great Britain, 286.8
Izzy Taylor/Allercombe Ellie, 63.5; Gemma Tattersall/Quicklook V, 93.3; Dani Evans/Smart Time, 130.0 (Laura Collett/Pamero 4, EL XC)
7 Italy, 317.3
Arianna Schivo/Quefira de L’Ormeau, 73.6; Cielia Casiraghi/Verdi, 109.1; Rebecca Chiappero/Quilando Z, 134.6
8 Netherlands, 1,204.5
Merel Blom/Rumour Has It N.O.P., 90.3; Alice Naber-Lozeman/Harry Belafonte, 114.2;
Elaine Pen/Vira N.O.P, EL XC (Tim Lips/Concrex Bayro N.O.P, WD HI2)
9 Belgium, 2,084
Giel Vanhouche/Figaro de Verby, 70.3; Lara de Liederkerke-Meier/Ducati Van Dem Overdam, EL XC; Julien Despontin/Waldano 36, EL HI2