Interviewed after the dressage test, German Andreas Dibowski says he never thought he would be able to bring back home a third German victory after those of Bettina Hoy in 2008 and Dirk Schrade in 2009. But he did …
“I am too far in the standing, I think I should forget about the triple German victory; my mare was a little deceiving today [Friday]. If I could be in the top 10, I would be happy.” Those were the comments of the Olympics team champion after his dressage performance. The next day, he would do a fantastic comeback thanks to a perfect cross-country with only 10 penalty points. For that in eventing nothing is decided until after the rider passes the last fence of the jumping test.
The very selective course would influence the ranking established by yesterday’s cross-country test. Only two clear rounds … and the weather didn’t help. An incredible deluge unsettled most of the horses but not Leria du Ter who, once more, allowed Gwendolen Fer to finish sixth, therefore best French rider of this CCI****. Last year she was already seventh: “But I will not wait five more years to win in Pau. I want to confirm my level with new competitions; next year I want to go to Badminton.”
Andreas Dibowski admitted that he was more disturbed by the weather conditions: “My mare is usually more confident in the jumping but today she lost some of this confidence as she was irritated by the puddles and the permanent variation of the field.” But that didn’t stop FRH Fantasia to be in control of the course and to do a clear round. Thus the German took the lead of the ranking but he was well aware that his rival, William Fox-Pitt had an advance of two faults.
But Navigator did three! “I am really sorry for these faults”, said a very gentleman Dibowski, sincerely compassionate and without any irony, to his unfortunate competitor. Although not that unfortunate because the Briton still won the HSBC FEI Classics series and leaves Pau with a big cheque of 150.000 US$. The humble Fox-Pitt adds: “If someone had told me that I would be second in this competition, I wouldn’t have believed it. Being second behind a rider like Andreas really is an honour!” Eventing is a real gentleman sport!
And it’s also a sport of fine ladies: leading the dressage test, Belgian Karin Donckers only went down one place a day and therefore completes this prestigious podium!
Beyond those thrilling sport performances, Pau once more proved to be a major centre of the international eventing sport: more than 41.000 visitors, 34.000 alone for the cross-country, came to this ultimate meeting of the international season.
For more information (videos of the press conference) visit www.event-pau.fr
Photo: Andreas Dibowsi and FRH Fantasia & William Fox-Pitt and Navigator! © Marianne Delleci