The last FEI World Cup™ Vaulting series qualifier before next month’s Final exceeded all expectations last night in Leipzig (GER) with audiences at the Partner Pferde treated to a dramatic showdown with stand-out performances and home-nation athletes winning all three disciplines.
World number one Kristina Boe led throughout the competition with two commanding freestyles. In the male category, Daniel Kaiser came back from second in the first round to win with a masterful display, and Torben Jacobs and Theresa-Sophie Bresch closed with a high-class Pas De Deux.
Boe put on a dominating display on home soil to secure her second consecutive World Cup qualifier on 8,469. Together with 16-year-old gelding Don de la Mar and lunger Winnie Schlüter, Boe looked at ease in the Partner Pferde arena, captivating the audience with every arm move, jump and bounce contributing to her zombie characterisation.
Silvia Stopazzini (ITA), whose grace and flexibility shone throughout the competition, finished second with Hot Date Tek and lunger Laura Carnabuci on an impressive 8.266, with Nadja Büttiker (SUI) finishing third (7,893) and series leader Anna Cavallaro (ITA) placing fourth on 7,791 due to a tumble from her horse in the first round.
The men’s division came down to a nail-biting stand-off between Germany’s Jannik Heiland and Daniel Kaiser. Together with Rockard H and Winnie Schlüter, Heiland led after the first round with a stunning freestyle set to classical music. He was elegance personified, showing exceptional harmony, flexibility and strength.
With only 0.1 point separating the two vaulters, the second round decider was electrifying.
Last year’s FEI World Cup™ Vaulting Final winner Daniel Kaiser drew on his competition experience with a freestyle masterclass on the second day. With lunger Nina Vorberg and 15-year-old gelding Sir Bernhard he gave everything to place first with a score of 8,634. Heiland, not quite able to recreate the seamlessness of his first round performance, finished second on 8,558, with Francesco Bortoletto (ITA) entertaining the Leipzig crowd finishing third on 8,118 in an incredibly hard-fought men’s final qualifier.
The Pas De Deux category was won by Theresa-Sophie Bresch and Torben Jacobs (GER) who recreated the theme that won them the gold medal at the 2011 FEI European Vaulting Championships. Their adapted freestyle reflected their growth in the sport over the past five years. Together with lunger and former world Vaulting champion Patric Looser and Picardo they put on an emotive performance to finish on 8,615.
Italy’s Silvia Stopazzini and Lorenzo Lupacchini came back from a tough first round freestyle to place second on Rosentolz 99 with lunger Laura Carnabuci finishing second on 8,271, and Jolina Ossenberg-Engels and Timo Gerdes (GER) rounded out the podium on 7.786.
At the FEI World Cup™ Vaulting Final in Dortmund on 2-5 March fans will find out who is able to hold their nerve and push the boundaries to take their prestigious titles.
The top six female and male athletes and top four Pas De Deux from the series will head to the Final.
In the female category, Kristina Boe and Anna Cavallaro will face tough competition, especially from Silvia Stopazzini with her three consecutive second place finishes in the qualifiers.
The male category, Switzerland’s Lukas Heppler has shone throughout this World Cup season but will face a tough task to fend off competition veterans including last year’s World Cup winner Daniel Kaiser and 2015 FEI European Champion Jannis Drewell (GER). Jannik Heiland is also one to watch with a high-scoring freestlyle.
In the Pas De Deux class top honours could go to any one of the pairings, but based on current form Silvia Stopazzini and Lorenzo Lupacchini and Theresa-Sophie Bresch with Torben Jacobs will head into the Final as the favourites.
1. Kristina Boe (GER) 8,469
2. Silvia Stopazzini (ITA) 8,212
3. Nadja Buttiker (SUI) 7,893
4. Anna Cavallaro (ITA) 7,791
5. Regina Burgmayr (GER) 7,551
6. Marina Mohar (SUI) 7,129.
1. Daniel Kaiser (GER) 8,634
2. Jannik Heiland (GER) 8,558
3. Francesco Bortoletto (ITA) 8,118
4. Lukas Heppler (SUI) 8,048
5. Erik Oese (GER) 7,872
6. Balazs Bence (HUN) 7,603
7. Lorenzo Lupacchini (ITA) 7,539
8. Thomas Brüsewitz (GER) 6,976.
Pas de Deux:
1. Torben Jacobs & Theresa Sophie Bresch (GER) 8,615
2. Silvia Stopazzini & Lorenzo Lupacchini (ITA) 8,271
3.Jolina Ossenberg-Engels & Timo Gerdes (GER) 7,786
4. Zoe Marcuccio & Syra Schmid (SUI) 7,318.