German rider Andreas Dibowski jumped a faultless clear round in the final Jumping phase to hold on to his overnight lead with It’s Me XX and win Luhmühlen CCI4* (GER), presented by DHL, penultimate leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016.
There was no margin for error for the 50-year-old as second-placed Maxime Livio and Qalao Des Mers (FRA) jumped clear with less than two penalties between the top two. But Dibowski, veteran of many medal-winning German Eventing teams, held his nerve in front of his enthusiastic home crowd on Susanne Heigel’s 12-year-old ex-racehorse, a son of the Epsom Derby winner Kahyasi.
Diboswki said: “I still cannot believe it. It is quite incredible. My horse performed exceptionally on all three days. He is not a born Dressage horse, but on the Cross Country he is outstanding.” He explained: “I got It’s Me after his racing career when he was four years old. When he was five and six he was ill and needed intensive care, and only came back to Eventing three years ago aged nine. He felt very well this morning before the Jumping. He loves the atmosphere in a big arena.”
Dibowski was winning Germany’s premier event for the second time after triumphing in 2011 with FRH Butts Leon. It’s Me XX finished the Dressage phase in fourth place but moved up to pole position after Cross Country, adding just 0.4pen for being one second over the optimum time.
The experienced French combination of Maxime Livio and the Selle Français 12-year-old Qalao Des Mers, winners of the CCI3* at Saumur (FRA) in 2014, finished on their Dressage score of 44.9 to take second. Livio said: “My horse is a good jumper, and today he was perfect: careful, powerful and concentrated. He gave his best.”
Germany’s Julia Krajewski and Samourai du Thot had led the Dressage but dropped to fifth after Cross Country with 10 time-faults. However, a clear Jumping round elevated them once again to third place. The 27-year-old was delighted with her CCI4* debut, and said: “I hoped to be among the first five. Now I am on the podium - that is fantastic! Samourai du Thot jumped like a rubber ball today. I could ride fast and it is really fun to jump him when he is like this. I am very proud.”
New Zealand’s Tim Price, who won Luhmühlen CCI4* in 2014, dropped a place from third to fourth this time with a rail down on Ringwood Sky Boy.
Another former winner, Andrew Nicholson (NZL), who took the 2013 event, finished fifth and seventh on Qwanza and Perfect Stranger. Nicholson suffered a neck injury in August 2015 at Gatcombe Park (GBR), but returned seamlessly to the top of the sport and won Bramham CCI3* (GBR) a week ago.
There were just seven clear rounds over Heiko Wahlers’ Jumping track from the 26 competitors who reached the final phase of the CCI4*. Oliver Townend (GBR), fourth after Cross Country on Black Tie II, withdrew the horse before the final horse inspection this morning, as did Australia’s Emma McDougall, seventh after Cross Country with Belcam Bear.
This was the final time that Captain Mark Phillips will design the Luhmühlen Cross Country course, as Mike Etherington-Smith takes over from 2017. There were no falls and 26 of the 28 Cross Country starters completed with 18 clear rounds, four of which were inside the optimum time.
1 Andreas Dibowski/It’s Me XX (GER) 43.4 + 0.4 + 0 = 43.8
2 Maxime Livio/Qalao des Mers (FRA) 44.9 + 0 + 0 = 44.9
3 Julia Krajewski/Samourai du Thot (GER) 39.0 + 10 1 0 = 49.0
4 Tim Price/Ringwood Sky Boy (NZL) 44.6 + 1.6 + 4 = 50.2
5 Andrew Nicholson/Qwanza (NZL) 46.3 + 5.6 + 0 = 51.9
6 Bill Levett/Alexander NJ (AUS) 52.6 + 0 + 2 = 54.6
7 Andrew Nicholson/Perfect Stranger 54.7 + 0 + 0 = 54.7
8 Louise Harwood/Whitson 49.0 + 8 + 0 = 57.0
9 Kai Rüder/Colani Sunrise 50.7 + 4.4 + 5 = 60.1
10 Boyd Martin/Cracker Jack 52.1 + 4.4 + 4 = 60.5
See the full results on www.luhmuehlen.de.