The host nation had plenty to celebrate when taking team and individual gold at the FEI South American Eventing Championship 2014 staged at Cross Horse Stables in Barretos, Sao Paulo, Brazil at the weekend.
This important CCI 2* is one of the two qualifying competitions in the South American region for the Pan-American Games which will take place in Ontario, Canada in July 2015. A total of four countries contested the team medals, while 26 horse-and-rider combinations battled it out for the individual title which went to Brazil’s Henrique Pinheiro riding Land Quenote do Feroleto.
And it was a convincing team victory, with Brazil finishing more than 23 penalty points clear of the silver medallists from Chile, while Argentina took the bronze and Uruguay missed out on a podium placing.
Chile was the only country to finish with a full complement of four riders, and Carlos Lobos got off to a spectacular start with a dressage mark of 46.2 which left him out in front in the individual rankings at the end of the first phase. However only three riders managed to score below 50 in dressage, and when two of them were flying the Brazilian flag that left the host nation already in a strong position going into cross-country day.
Marcio Carvalho Jorge was lying in runner-up spot with Coronel MCJ on a mark of 48.3, while Serguei Fofanoff and Estiva TW was third on 49.8, and Pinheiro bolstered the strong Brazilian attack when filling fourth spot on a mark of 50.8.
Pierre Michelet from France, the man who set the challenge at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 and at the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses at Le Lion d’Anger in France over the last few months, is one of the most sought-after cross-country course designers in the world. He put his extraordinary expertise to work in the creation of the cross-country test at Barretos, and it certainly proved influential.
One horse-and-rider combination retired while 10 were eliminated, and the Brazilians began to look vulnerable when Marcio Carvalho Jorge was amongst the latter, leaving them with only a three-man side going into the final day.
However the remaining three were well capable of carrying the weight.
Chile’s Lobos was still holding the lead as the final jumping phase began having added just 0.8 time penalties during his cross-country run, and with Jorge out of contention Brazil’s Fofanoff was sitting in silver medal position having added just 1.2 to his tally. Pinheiro lay in bronze medal spot and always looked threatening when he was the only rider to bring his horse home inside the time on cross-country day. And when he produced one of just four clears over the colored poles. the 36-year-old rider rocketed up to gold medal spot with his 11-year-old Holsteiner mare in the final analysis.
A single jumping error cost Lobos dearly, moving him on to a final score of 51.0 which left him so tantalisingly close, just 0.2 behind in silver medal position while, despite putting 12 additional faults on the board, Fofanoff dropped just one place to take the bronze.
The final score for the Brazilian team was 199.9 which left them well clear of Chile’s Lobos, Carlos Villarroel (Paradigma), Sergio Iturriaga (Versailled) and Guillermo Garin (Ubago) on 133.6 in team silver spot. Argentina’s Juan Alberto Gallardo (CT Red Hot) and Juan Sebastian Vargas (Remonta Nantes) were both eliminated in the cross-country phase, but Marcelo Rawson (Larghago) and Luciano Brunello (Erevan) finished on creditable scores of 81.4 and 84.4 respectively. So when Francisco Calvelo Martinez and Noir de la Muralla were the only members of the Uruguayan side to post a finishing score, the bronze went to Argentina.
Yesterday’s result has earned the winning team a qualification spot for the 2015 Pan-American Games, and it seems the host country for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is in really great shape.
“We are very pleased with the result which is a good step towards our ultimate goal of taking a good place in the the Pan-American Games and the Olympics” said New Zealand super-star Mark Todd who coaches the Brazilian side.
This is the second significant result for Brazilian eventers in just over two months. At the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy, France, the team of Ruy Fonseca, Gabriel Figueirdo and Marcelo Tosi lined up eighth of the 16 competing nations, beating considerably more experienced sides including the crack New Zealand squad that included Todd.
Results: FEI South American Eventing Championship 2014:
Team Championship: GOLD - Brazil 199.9: Land Quenote Do Feroleto (Henrique Pinheiro) 50.8, Estiva TW (Serguei Fofanoff) 63.0, CDC Superstar (Andre Paro) 86.1, Coronel MCJ (Marcio Carvalho Jorge) Elim; SILVER - Chile 223.7: Ranco (Carlos Lobos) 51.0, Paradigma (Carlos Villarroel) 83.7, Versailled (Sergio Iturriaga) 89.0, Ubago (Guillermo Garin) 133.6; BRONZE - Argentina 1165.8: Larthago (Marcelo Javier Humberto Rawson)) 84.4, Erevan (Luciano Brunello) 81.4, CT RED (Juan Alberto Gallardo) Elim, Remonta Nantes (Juan Sebastian Vargas) Elim.
Individual Championship: GOLD - Land Quenote Do Feroleto (Henrique Pinheiro) BRA 50.8; SILVER - Ranco (Carlos Lobos) CHI 51.0 ; BRONZE - Estiva TW (Serguei Fofanoff) BRA 63.0.