French hero, Kevin Staut, won the eleventh qualifying round of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2011/2012 series on his home turf at Bordeaux tonight. Riding the 13 year old grey mare, Silvana HDC, he devastated the opposition in the ten-horse jump-off with a display of class and courage that snatched the honours from Australian runners-up Edwina Top-Alexander and Cevo Itot du Chateau. Belgium’s Rik Hemeryck slotted into third with Quarco de Kerambars, while Ireland’s Denis Lynch finished fourth with his exciting new stallion, Contifex.
But tonight’s competition was as much about the battle for positions on the Western European League leaderboard as anything else. Following the next, and last, qualifying leg at Gothenburg, Sweden, the top-18 riders will make the cut for the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping final which will take place in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands at the end of April. So the placings all the way down the line are critical at this stage, and the pressure is at boiling point.
With three of the first seven riders clear over Uliano Vezzani’s first-round track, it seemed another big start-list was in prospect for the jump-off. But, surprisingly, many of the highest-ranked riders running later in the class failed to keep a clean sheet as the triple combination at fence five, the double at fence eight and the last line that included a vertical with water-tray followed by a big oxer and the final vertical took a heavy toll.
The were 11 runners from France, but only two managed to keep a clean sheet and make it into the deciding round. Staut would ensure that the glory remained at home however.
Set the Pace
It was his fellow-countryman, Julien Epaillard, who set the pace in the jump-off with the 12 year old Mister Davier who lowered the first of the two remaining elements of the triple combination and the massive Rolex oxer at the end of the new track for eight faults. And the door was still wide open when Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt and Monte Bellini hit the 1.60m FEI vertical which had also claimed plenty of victims in the opening round.
Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson made no mistake however, steering the 11-year-old gelding H&M Reveue de Hurtebise through the finish in 37.78 seconds to set the standard, but Belgium’s Rik Hemeryck shaved more than two seconds off that with a great run from the fresh-looking Darco gelding, Quarco de Kerambars, who seemed to be relishing his evening out as they took the lead.
Nina Fagerstrom and Talent had been in sparkling form in the opening round, but the Finnish rider paid the price when cutting too close to the right-hand wing of the fence as she negotiated the penultimate oxer this time out, and it was Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander who would be first to loosen Hemeryck’s grip on pole position. Producing one of those magical rounds that have earned them a place in the hearts of jumping fans all around the globe, the spring-heeled 16-year-old Cevo Itot du Chateau and his equally petite rider popped every fence with plenty to spare before galloping down to the last to stop the clock in the new target-time of 34.59 seconds.
With just four left to go, it seemed possible that the destination of the maximum points in this leg of the series was already decided, but Staut had his own ideas about that. Having seen Hemeryck go, he knew there was no room for complacency and set off in determined fashion, although things didn’t quite as smoothly as he would have liked.
“I was determined to try and try to do the best I could do, but I missed a bit my turn to the combination (now just two elements remaining) which was fence number three, so I went quickly to the next and I had to take all the risks to the last” the Frenchman explained afterwards. “I saw a stride to the last from very far away and I asked everything of Silvana there - she was so brave - she was just fantastic!” he added.
Silvana had her ears pinned back as she raced through the finish in 34.16 seconds, and that would prove an unbeatable time as Denis Lynch steered his nine-year-old stallion Contifex home with a lovely clear in 36.53 seconds to take fourth while the final two - Portugal’s Luciana Diniz with Lennox and three-time Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping champion Marcus Ehning from Germany riding Plot Blue - both faulted at the first element of the former triple combination.
Staut was delighted with his result. “I’m really happy - there’s a special feeling when you know that you have won in front of your home crowd!” he said.
He has competed in every leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping series this season and plans to take in the last qualifier at Gothenburg before heading to the Final. Asked why he has competed in every round, he replied “the World Cup tour is a fantastic series. I like to start in Olso and Helsinki and pick up some points there and once I have enough points then I just enjoy going to the fantastic shows - they have such a great atmosphere. I’m very happy that Rolex continues to sponsor this great series - we are very lucky to have them with us in our sport” he pointed out.
For the last qualifying fixture in Sweden he will bring some younger horses while Silvana will have a well-earned rest. “She will go on holiday now to the sea for a while, she deserves it, and then she will compete again in one month in Paris” he explained. And after that? “Well then she will be ready for the Final!” Staut pointed out. It’s shaping up for a thrilling end to the 2011/2012 series, and with just one more chance to make the start-list, the battle for those last few precious qualifying points will be ferocious when the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg opens its doors in three weeks’ time.
For further information on the eleventh leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping Western European League 2011/2012 at Bordeaux, France go to website http://www.jumping-bordeaux.com/ or contact Press Officer Marie-Sol Fournier at Email email@example.com or Tel: +33 556 11 99 43. The last qualifying leg of the series takes place at Gothenburg, Sweden on Sunday 26 February. For details of the Swedish fixture check out website www.goteborghorseshow.com or contact Press Officer Mayvor Thorin at Email firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel +46 705 828420.
Result: 1, Silvana HDC (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/0 34.16; 2, Cevo Itot du Chateau (Edwina Tops-Alexander) AUS 0/0 34.59; 3, Quarco de Kerambars (Rik Hemeryck) BEL 0/0 35.54; 4, Contifex (Denis Lynch) IRL 0/0 36.53; 5, H&M Reveuer de Hurtebise (Malin Baryard-Johnsson) SWE 0/0 37.78; 6, Plot Blue (Marcus Ehning) GER 0/4 35.35; 7, Monte Bellini (Philipp Weishaupt) GER 0/4 36.60; 8, Lennox (Luciana Diniz) POR 0/4 37.44; 9, Talent (Nina Fagerstrom) FIN 0/4 37.48; 10, Mister Davier (Julien Epaillard) FRA 0/8 35.63. Full result at www.scgvisual.com
Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2011/2012 Western European League – Standings after Round 11 at Bordeaux, France:
1. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson SWE - 77
2. Kevin Staut FRA - 73
3. Denis Lynch IRL - 67
4. Patrice Delaveau FRA - 60
5. Marco Kutscher GER - 53
6. Steve Guerdat SUI - 51
7. Ludger Beerbaum GER - 49
8. Pius Schwizer SUI - 48
9. Nick Skelton GBR - 48
10. Edwina Alexander AUS - 47
11. Luciana Diniz POR - 46
12. Marcus Ehning GER - 45
13. Scott Brash GBR - 43
14. Harrie Smolders NED - 42
15. Emilie Martinsen DEN - 41
16. Malin Baryard-Johnsson SWE - 41
17. Maikel van der Vleuten NED - 36
18. Ben Maher GBR - 32
19. Philipp Weishaupt GER - 32
20. Dermott Lennon IRL - 30
20. Rik Hemeryck BEL - 30
Facts and Figures:
Bordeaux presented the penultimate leg in the 12-round qualifying series for the 2011/2012 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping series.
The last qualifier will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden on Sunday 26 February.
The series Final will take place in 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands from 19 to 22 April.
38 starters in today's competition including 11 from the host nation of France.
18 countries represented.
10 into jump-off - 2 from France and Germany and one rider from Sweden, Ireland, Finland, Portugal, Australia and Belgium.
5 double-clear rounds.
12 horse-and-rider combinations collected just 4 faults in the first round.
1 retirement - Olivier Guillon and Lord de Theize from France who were the first to go in the opening round of the competition.
Tonight's winning rider, Kevin Staut from France, has competed in all of the 11 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifiers so far this season.
Quotes: Kevin Staut - “I didn’t have a big plan going into the jump-off, I didn’t think too much, I just knew that I had to be really quick”.
Photo Caption: Kevin Staut, winner of the eleventh, and penultimate, qualifying round of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2011/2012 series on his home turf at Bordeaux tonight riding Silvana HDC, is presented with a Rolex watch by Arnaud Reverdin, Commercial Director, Rolex France. Photo: FEI/Kit Houghton.