Ingrid Klimke (GER) was deservedly jubilant after a superb Cross Country ride on Butts Abraxxas which kept her in the lead and still on her Dressage score at Luhmühlen (GER), presented by E.ON Avacon, the third leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™.
Klimke, who says her nerve has not been affected at all by the recent birth of her second child, said: “I’m really thrilled. My plan worked, my horse felt confident and fit and although I had thought I would take the long route at the corner in the arena (23), when I got there I decided I would like the challenge!”
Klimke declared herself “eager for tomorrow”, but she has no room for error in the final Jumping phase. Olympic team bronze medallists Sharon Hunt and the 16-year-old Tankers Town, who have proven ability over the coloured poles, have moved up three places to lie second and are just 3.8 penalties behind.
Hunt, who has produced the Irish-bred chestnut since he was a youngster, was competing at Germany’s premier event for the first time. She said: “Tankers Town is an experienced horse and I expected to do well here, so I’m relieved that I have. It was a big course, with a lot of wide, square fences.”
Oliver Townend (GBR) had to re-motivate himself after a fall from first ride Carousel Quest at the third water complex when the grey got too close to the upturned boat in the water (fence 27) and sent his rider over his head, but he had a classic round on the Tattersalls (IRL) CIC3*-W winner Ashdale Cruise Master and has now moved up a place to third.
“It makes a big difference when you’ve been on a downer and then you have a lovely ride like that. It gives you hope,” said Townend. “He’s becoming a very good horse – we just needed more time together.”
There were 37 completions from the 41 Cross Country starters, with 32 clear rounds, eight of which were inside the optimum time of 10 minutes.27 seconds, a happier set of statistics than those that faced Course Designer Capt Mark Phillips (GBR) last year.
His more flowing track for 2010 was much praised by riders. Klimke’s Olympic team mate Andreas Dibowski (GER), lying fourth on the 10-year-old mare FRH Fantasia, said there were a “lot of happy horses, and that means it has been a good course”, and Townend said it was a sign of a good track if positive riding was rewarded.
Lucy Wiegersma (GBR), who proved an exemplary pathfinder on Granntevka Prince (eighth), has two horses in the top 10 – she is also fifth on the powerful chestnut Woodfalls Inigo Jones.
Two New Zealand riders have ascended to the top 10: Joe Meyer moved up 10 places to sixth with a fast round on Clifton Lush and Andrew Nicholson, who is also 14th with Armada, rose seven places to seventh on Mr Cruise Control.
Allison Springer (USA) on Arthur and Susanna Bordone (ITA) with Carrera both dropped down the order with 20 time faults apiece, Springer to 15th and Bordone to 17th. Mary King (GBR), ninth on Apache Sauce, had a run-out in the arena with Kings Temptress.
There was also disappointment for Paul Tapner (AUS) when Kilfinnie ll ran out at the brush arrowhead coming out of the coffin (12c) and Nick Gauntlett (GBR), 10th after dressage on Chilli Morning, fared even worse when the stallion refused to jump the preceding little ditch. Francis Whittington (GBR) recorded the only horse fall when Sir Percival, which had been going brilliantly, fell when angling the wide hedge out of the arena (24). Both horse and rider were uninjured in the fall.
1 Ingrid Klimke/FRH Butts Abraxxas (GER) 39.2 + 0 = 39.2
2 Sharon Hunt/Tankers Town (GBR) 43.0 + 0 = 43
3 Oliver Townend/Ashdale Cruise Master (GBR) 42.8 + 0.8 = 43.6
4 Andreas Dibowski/FRH Fantasia (GER) 44.2 + 0 = 44.2
5 Lucy Wiegersma/Woodfalls Inigo Jones (GBR) 44.8 + 0 = 44.8
6 Joe Meyer/Clifton Lush (NZL) 49.0 + 0 = 49.0
7 Andrew Nicholson/Mr Cruise Control (NZL) 48.2 + 0.8 = 49.0
8 Lucy Wiegersma/Granntevka Prince (GBR) 48.2 + 2.8 = 51.0
9 Mary King/Apache Sauce (GBR) 51.0 + 1.6 = 52.6
10 Andreas Ostholt/Franco Jeans (GER) 53.3 + 0 = 53.3
Follow the event on www.luhmuehlen.de
FEI TV: Luhmühlen will be shown on FEI TV; visit www.feitv.org
HSBC FEI Classics™ Standings (after 2 of 5 events)
1 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 15 points
2 Paul Tapner (AUS) 15
3 Phillip Dutton (USA) 12
4 Andreas Dibowski (GER) 12
5 Becky Holder (USA) 10
6 Daisy Berkeley (GBR) 10
7 Mary King (GBR) 8
8 Boyd Martin (USA) 8
9 Caroline Powell (NZL) 6
10 Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch (CAN) 6
HSBC FEI Classics™ Calendar of Events in 2010
1. 21-25 April - Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event (USA)
2. 30 April - 03 May - Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR)
3. 17-20 June - Luhmühlen presented by E.ON Avacon (GER)
4. 2-5 September - Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR)
5. 4-7 November- Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA)
Prize Money - HSBC will contribute US$ 1million to the series over the next three years. Prize-money is awarded, as follows, to the top five riders on the leaderboard after the fifth and final event:
WINNERS OF THE 2009 SEASON
1. Oliver Townend (GBR) - US$ 150,000 (Series champion);
2. Dirk Schrade (GER) - US$ 75,000;
3. Andreas Dibowski - (GER) US$ 50,000;
4. William Fox-Pitt (GBR) - US$ 33,000;
5. Sam Griffiths (AUS) - US$ 25,000
Caption: Ingrid Klimke (GER) and Butts Abraxxas were fast and clear round Capt Mark Phillips’ Cross Country course to retain their lead at Luhmühlen, the third leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™. Photo: Kit Houghton/FEI