Frank Ostholt (GER) is back in the limelight at Luhmühlen, presented by E.ON Avacon (GER), a competition he won back in 2006 on probably his best known horse, Air Jordan. Ostholt, 35, an Olympic team gold medallist in Hong Kong in 2008, heads an international field at the third leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2011 series on Little Paint, a 13-year-old gelding by Nitron, on which he took second place at Luhmühlen three years ago.
He has just 1.9 penalties in hand over Britain’s Piggy French on Flying Machine. French, the reigning European silver medallist, is a rider with her sights firmly set on a first CCI4* win, having finished a close second recently at Badminton, and is well placed in the HSBC FEI Classics™ leaderboard in third.
There are five Germans in the top 10 after Dressage, including the reigning World Champion and 2009 Luhmühlen winner Michael Jung (eighth), this time riding the 12-year-old Leopin, a recent winner of Compiegne CCI2* (FRA), but Sweden, Australia, Italy and New Zealand are also represented in the 43-strong field.
Much interest will surround ninth-placed Jonathan Paget, representing New Zealand on Clifton Lush. The 27-year-old made a great impression on his championship debut last year and Clifton Lush, a new ride for him, went well at Luhmühlen last year for former jockey Joe Meyer (NZL).
Mary King (GBR), the current HSBC FEI Classics™ leader and top of HSBC Rankings, is in 14th place on Apache Sauce, ahead of 2010 series champion William Fox-Pitt on Macchiato, both of whom have plenty of chances to add to their points tally this weekend.
Cross-Country Course Designer Captain Mark Phillips (GBR) says tomorrow’s ground conditions should be excellent after the recent rain, and predicts that fence 12, the HSBC Hexagon Corner, will be influential.
Results after Dressage:
1 Frank Ostholt/Little Paint (GER) 35.3 penalties
2 Piggy French/Flying Machine (GBR) 37.2
3 Niklas Jonsson/First Lady (SWE) 37.8
4 Sandra Auffarth/Opgun Louvo (GER) 39.0
5 Andreas Dibowski/Butts Leon (GER) 40.0
6 Paul Tapner/Stormhill Michael (AUS) 40.5
7 Susanna Bordone/Blue Moss (ITA) 42.8
8 Michael Jung/Leopin (GER) 43.2
9 Jonathan Paget/Clifton Lush (NZL) 43.8
10 Dirk Schrade/Hop and Skip (GER) 45.2
13 Will Faudree/Pawlow (USA) 45.8
17 Jennifer Brannigan/Cambalda (USA) 46.5
26 Julian Stiller/Chapel Amble (USA) 52.8
Photo: Frank Ostholt (GER) and Little Paint head an international field at the third leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2011 at Luhmühlen, presented by E.ON Avacon. Photo: Peter Nixon/FEI