Germany Wins Through In Exciting Three-Way Showdown

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Hickstead (GBR), 29 July 2011 - Germany emerged victorious in a three-way jump-off against France and the USA at the sixth leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ 2011 at Hickstead (GBR) today.  In a competition that produced big scores as the notoriously testing British track took its toll, it was Marcus Ehning who sealed the result with the only double-clear of the competition and the quickest run against the clock.

The French lined up second ahead of the Americans in third, but for the USA the danger has not gone away.  Lying second-last on the series table going into today's event, they failed to improve their position and must now head to Dublin, Ireland next week under even greater pressure.  The Germans, meanwhile, have overtaken the Irish to move into second place on the leaderboard and lie just a comfortable five points off the leading Dutch who, however, didn't enjoy their best afternoon when having to settle for joint-sixth alongside the struggling Irish in today's competition.  It was another rough day for the Danes whose fate appears to be sealed.  They look relegation-bound in this, their debut season, having picked up just eight points from the six legs of the series to date.  It will take something very special indeed to rectify that situation with just two competitions left to go.

Halfway Stage
The Germans and French were joint-leaders at the halfway stage, carrying just four faults each.  Olivier Guillon (Lord de Theize) and Roger-Yves Bost (Nifrane de Kreisker) contributed clears to the French cause while Penelope Leprevost (Topinambour) and Kevin Staut (Silvana de Hus) left just one fence on the floor. Meanwhile Germany's Janne-Friederike (Cellagon Lambrasco) and Marcus Ehning (Plot Blue) were foot-perfect, thus ensuring Philipp Weishaupt's single error was the only addition to their scoreline as Holger Wulschner's (Cefalo) double-error was dropped.

The USA was lying third, counting four faults each from Kent Farrington (Uceko) and Beezie Madden (Coral Reef Via Volo) along with a pathfinding clear from Christine McCrea and Romantovich Take One that negated Laura Kraut's 12 faults with Teirra.  The Irish were next in line with 12 on the board followed by Great Britain carrying 16, Belgium with 20, The Netherlands with 24 and Denmark already trailing with 36 faults after anchor rider, Tina Lund (Zamiro), retired.

Tough Enough
The course created by Kelvin Bywater looked tough enough first time out, but it proved even more difficult for many at the second attempt.  Always uncompromising, the big, square oxers, tall and unfamiliar verticals and the notorious open water claimed many victims, despite the fact that the water jump has recently been reduced in width and depth. And the final planks proved a heart-breaker, often penalising riders that made it all the way there only to hear them come crashing down as they crossed the line.

"There were not too many clears" said Germany's Janne-Frederike Meyer afterwards.  "It is always difficult here at Hickstead - it is a special place to ride and you need a brave, strong horse.  If they don't have courage they won't like Hickstead.  There is a little bit of a 'Derby' feel about the track and if a horse is not used to it then they can make many mistakes" she explained.

Stem The Tide
Her horse, Cellagon Lambrasco, was tiring as he left two on the floor second time out and when Wulschner followed suit, and Weishaupt collected 14 faults it was left to Ehning to stem the tide that was turning in the wrong direction, which he did with considerable ease when producing another lovely clear.  And when Germany's second-round 16 faults was matched by the French, the Americans suddenly caught up when adding just 12 to their tally despite a 16-fault second effort from Kraut.  With all three teams now carrying a total of 20 each, it would be a three-way showdown against the clock.

Ehning's horse was still warmed-up and with a faultless performance to date was the natural choice to represent Germany, but they would be last into the ring.  First into the decider was America's Beezie Madden whose 13 year old mare Coral Reef Via Volo had followed her opening four faults with a lovely clear, and they set the pace in the finale with one fence down in 44.43 seconds.  French anchorman Kevin Staut bettered that when steering Silvana de Hus home clear in 44.98 seconds, but that wouldn't be quick enough.  Last man in, Ehning cruised home with Plot Blue just over a second faster to clinch victory.  Great Britain slotted into fourth ahead of Belgium in fifth, Ireland and The Netherlands shared sixth place and Denmark brought up the rear.

Good Job

Ehning knew he had done a good job.  "When you ride for your home country you ride differently - it's something special!" he said.  And FEI President, HRH Princess Haya, who attended today's event, described it as "super! We had some really top-class sport - Hickstead is such a special place, an incredible venue with an amazing history, and the Bunn family are just so good at what they do, they add so much value to the equestrian community around the world" she pointed out, referring to the family of the late, great Douglas Bunn who put Hickstead on the map.

"There are a few horse shows that you go to around the world and you know it's going to be fabulous.  The public for equestrian sport in Great Britain are so enthusiastic, and we are thrilled to be here" she added.  And she was also thinking ahead to next year.  "This is a really fantastic way to kick off the year heading into the Olympic Games!" she pointed out.

Today's competition was something of an Olympic effort for some horses and riders.  And it was the Germans came out on top.

For further information on the sixth leg of the FEI Nations Cup™2011 go to website www.hickstead.co.uk or contact Press Officer Victoria Spicer, Email victoria@victoriaspicer.co.uk, Tel +0228 8600630. The NEXT leg takes place in Dublin, Ireland on Friday 5 August.  For all information on the Irish fixture go to website www.dublinhorseshow.com or contact Press Officer JP Montgomery, Email jp@rds.ie or Tel +353 1 240 7222.

Result:
1.  Germany 0/44.95 in third-round jump-off : Cellagon Lambrasco (Janne-Frederike Meyer) 0/8, Cefalo (Holger Wulschner) 8/8, Catoki (Philipp Weishaupt) 4/14, Plot Blue (Marcus Ehning) 0/0/0 44.95
2.  France 0/45.98 in third-round jump-off: Lord de Theize (Olivier Guillon) 0/4, Nifrane de Kreisker (Roger-Yves Bost) 0/8, Topinambour (Penelope Leprevost) 4/4, Silvana de Hus (Kevin Staut) 4/Ret/0/45.98
3.  USA 4/44.43 in third-round jump-off faults: Romantovich Take One (Christine McCrea) 0/4, Uceko (Kent Farrington) 4/8, Teirra (Laura Kraut) 12/16, Coral Reef Via Volo (Beezie Madden) 4/0.
4.  Great Britain 24 faults: Titus (Guy Williams) 8/4, Talan (Robert Smith) 4/8,  Murkas Nevada (Peter Charles) 12/4, GIG Amai (Michael Whitaker) 4/0.
5.  Belgium 28 faults: Cavalor Valentina Van T'Heike (Jos Lansink) 8/0, Bufero VH Panishof (Dirk Demeersman) 8/0, Euphony Cadjanine Z (Patrik Spits) 8/16, Cabrio Van de Heffinck (Olivier Philippaerts) 4/8.
6.  Ireland 44 faults: Cos I Can (Shane Breen) 8/12, SF Uryadi (Jennifer Crooks) 0/16, Romanov (Billy Twomey) 8/16, Nabab's Son (Denis Lynch) 4/4.
6.  Netherlands 44 faults: Tyson (Leon Thijssen) 16/0, Van Schijndel's Rascin (Piet Raymakers Jr) 8/5, Primeval Wings (Gert Jan Bruggink) 12/12, Eurocommerce Seoul (Wout Jan Van der Schans) 4/12.
7.  Denmark 69 faults: Coronada 6 (Christian Schou) 16/9, Boegaardens Apolo (Emilie Martinsen) 4/12, Udessa (Cecilie Tofte) 16/12, Zamiro (Tina Lund) Ret/NS.

Facts and Figures:
Course designer was Kelvin Bywater.
The track included the notorious Hickstead open water at fence 5 which, despite being reduced in width and and depth, still claimed a large number of victims.
The traditional Hickstead planks, last fence on the 12-obstacle course, also proved a bogey today as did the white gate at fence 3.
Two riders retired - Denmark's Tina Lund (Zamiro) in the first round and Kevin Staut (Silvana de Hus) in the second round.
Only one double-clear recorded throughout the competition - from anchorman Marcus Ehning and Plot Blue who sealed victory for Germany.
6 horse and rider combinations jumped clear in the first round, and 6 jumped clear again in round two.
Three teams went into a jump-off to decide the result - Germany, France and USA.
Germany also won the FEI Nations Cup™ in a third-round jump-off at Hickstead two years ago.  Janne-Frederick Meyer and Cellagon Lambrasco clinched it for them that day.

Quotes:
FEI President, HRH Princess Haya - "As a team event the Nations Cup is really one of the jewels in the crown of the FEI and watching it today was fantastic - only a place like this can promise that kind of quality sport."
Sonke Sonksen German Chef D'Equipe. "I am very very happy with the result but also with the Bunn Family with what they have done for our sport and for all the riders, my thanks go to them."
German rider Janne-Frederike Meyer - "My horse got tired today because he's had a very busy few weeks but we needed him on the team today and I wanted to give the team my support.  He was in great shape in Aachen, but I never expected to win the Grand Prix there!  Now he really needs a rest, this will be his last show before the European Championships I think, I must look after him now".

FEI Nations Cup 2011 - Standings after Round 6 at Hickstead (GBR);
1.   The Netherlands -  42.0
2.   Germany -  37.0
3.   Ireland  -  32.5
4.   Great Britain  - 30.0
5.   France  -  29.0
6.   Belgium  -  25.0
7.   USA  -  24.5
8.   Denmark  -   8.0

Photo Caption:  Germany won the sixth leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ 2011 at Hickstead (GBR) today.  Pictured (L to R): Hickstead's Daisy Bunn, German team members Holger Wulschner, Janne-Frederike Meyer, Chef d'Equipe Sonke Sonksen, Philipp Weishaupt and Marcus Ehning, FEI President HRH Princess Haya and Andrew Finding, British Equestrian Federation.  Photo: FEI/Kit Houghton.

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