The FEI World Cup™ Vaulting second qualifier at the Salon du Cheval in Paris (FRA) this weekend saw top individual honours go to Germany's Janika Derks and France's Clément Taillez, with the French brother and sister Lucie and Simon Chevrel winning the pas-de-deux.
The annual Paris qualifier got off to a dramatic start with several vaulters taking unexpected tumbles from their horses in the first competition, making the second vital for securing World Cup points, and this led to a fascinating two days.
The favourite coming into Paris, Janika Derks faced an extra challenge of competing on a borrowed horse, but this did not deter her. With the 12-year-old Quartz d’Obliche and lunger Fabrice Holzberger she secured the top spot on a final score of 8.164 with her creative clown routine.
Derks, who finished fourth individually at this year's FEI World Vaulting Championships for Seniors in Le Mans (FRA), vaults with the well-known club Neuss Grimlinghausen. Currently ranked world number two, she is now aiming to win her first FEI World Cup™ Vaulting title.
Switzerland’s Pascale Wagner pulled up considerably with her second round performance. Oozing confidence she took second place (7.579), and overtook wildcard Manon Noel (FRA) whose apt ‘Ice’ themed freestyle routine scored 7,522 in front of her home crowd in wintery Paris. Isabel Fiala (AUT) unluckily replicated her Madid qualifier, suffering a tumble from her horse in the first round to finish fifth (6.573).
Clément Taillez (FRA) gave two outstanding performances to take the title with Dyronn and lunger Cedric Cotton on 8.547 points. His artistic ‘dance’ freestyle received plaudits from three of the four judges who marked his technical elements in excess of 9.
“This is the first time I’ve scored a 9.4 for artistic, which is very cool,” said Taillez. “My horse was really good as usual - we know each other 100%, so it’s always a pleasure.” Straight off the back of his win in Madrid (ESP) last Friday, Lukas Heppler (SUI) continued his convincing start to his World Cup campaign and with Edmonton, lunged by Koen Akkerman, he rounded off a successful weekend finishing second on 7.662.
Showman Balázs Bence (HUN) recovered from having to improvise to the wrong music, which ultimately impacted his artistic score, putting in a crowd pleasing performance in the second round to place third (7.579). Vincent Haennel, silver medallist at the FEI World Vaulting Championships for Seniors in Le Mans, finished fourth on 7.461 with his Napoleon-themed freestyle, with Theo Dennis placing fifth on 7.220.
The FEI World Cup™ Vaulting pas-de-deux category got its 2016/2017 series off to an unpredictable start. Lucie and Simon Chevrel, bronze medalists at the FEI World Vaulting Championships for Seniors, made an abrupt exit off their horse on both days of competition during their breathtaking performance on the slightly unsettled Sweetie de la Fosse. But even with two premature finishes, their Adam and Eve routine proved enough to take the title on a score of 6.707. Likewise, Zoe Maruccio and Syra Schmid (SUI) suffered an arduous first round, falling multiple times, but showed great resilience to put on a much improved second day performance to score 5.654
1. Janika Derks (GER) 8.164
2. Pascale Wagner (SUI) 7.579
3. Manon Noel (FRA) 7.522
4. Carola Sneekes (NED) 7.469
5. Isabel Fiala (AUT) 6.573; Coralie Chataigner (FRA) 6,385.
1. Clément Taillez (FRA) 8.547
2. Lukas Heppler (SUI) 7.662
3. Balázs Bence (HUN) 7.579
4. Vincent Haennel (FRA) 7.461
5.Theo Dennis (FRA) 7.220.
Pas de Deux:
1. Lucie & Simon Chevrel (FRA) 6.707
2. Zoe Marcuccio & Syra Schmid (SUI) 5.654.