Niklas Lindbäck scored a popular home win in the 10th leg of the HSBC FEI World Cup™ Eventing at Malmö (SWE) and boosted Swedish spirits at what was an important national team trial before the forthcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky (USA) next month.
Lindbäck, who rose from 10th after Dressage on Mr Pooh to take the top spot after Cross-Country with the second-fastest round, held on to win with a clear over the coloured poles. “I’m so very pleased with my horse and with my whole team. It’s great to win on home ground and I’m glad the crowd appreciated it. It’s been a good competition in which riders were certainly put to the test”, he said afterwards.
Two other Swedish riders finished in the top 10, Katrin Norling and her experienced Pandora Emm, third, and Malin Larsson on Piccadilly, ninth. But aside from Australian visitor Clayton Fredericks’s eighth place on Brookleigh, German riders were the main beneficiaries.
Dressage leader Simone Deitermann (GER) was second on her Badminton hero Free Easy NRW, while three of her compatriots are now making serious headway on the FEI HSBC World Cup™ rankings, which are still led by Michael Jung (GER).
Andreas Dibowski (GER), fourth at Malmö on FRH Fantasia, and Kai Rüder (GER), fifth on Saaten-Unions Charlie Weld, are now in equal seventh place, and Kai Steffen-Meier (GER), seventh on TSF Karascada M, is in equal ninth in the rankings. With two events left to run, the second of which is in their home country at Schenefeld later this month, the Germans look assured of some of the US$180,000 HSBC prize-pot.
Heavy rainfall on Friday and Saturday at Malmö was testing for organisers and riders alike, and only one rider achieved the optimum Cross-Country time, Sweden’s Sandra Gustafsson on Top Select. Lindback’s score of 1.2 penalties was the next fastest by far; with only one other rider, Frank Ostholt (GER) on La Fair, sixth, scoring time penalties in single figures (9.6).
Riders approved a new loop around the lake on the course designed by Guiseppe della Chiesa (ITA), which they said improved the flow of the track. One of the most influential fences was the treble of narrow white seats at 9, while Frank Ostholt (GER) retired Air Jordan, fifth after Dressage, after a stop at the water. There were 21 clear rounds from the 43 Cross-Country starters and 31 completed, of which two were withdrawn before Jumping.
Now, the action moves to France, to the new HSBC FEI World Cup™ venue of Haras du Pin, where a strongly international field is expected as riders make a last dash for valuable points.
1 Niklas Lindbäck/Mr Pooh (SWE) 47.8 + 1.2 + 0 = 44.0
2 Simone Deitermann/Free Easy NRW (GER) 38.4 + 16.8 + 0 = 55.2
3 Katrin Norling/Pandora Emm (SWE) 45.6 + 10 + 0 = 55.6
4 Andreas Dibowski/FRH Fantasia (GER) 41.2 + 10.4 + 4 = 55.6
5 Kai Rüder/Saaten-Unions Charlie Weld (GER) 40.2 + 13.6 + 8 = 61.8
6 Frank Ostholt/La Fair (GER) 53.6 + 9.6 + 0 = 63.2
7 Kai-Steffen Meier/TSF Karascada M (GER) 54.0 + 12.8 + 0 = 66.8
8 Clayton Fredericks/Brookleigh (AUS) 45.6 + 18 + 4 = 67.6
9 Malin Larsson/Piccadilly Z (SWE) 52.0 + 12 + 4 = 68.0
10 Marina Köhncke/Calma Schelly (GER) 47.0 + 21.2 + 0 = 68.2
Full results on www.ridsport.se
FEI TV: Highlights of Malmö will be shown on www.feitv.org
Calendar of events
1. Tallahassee (USA), 5-7 March 2
2. Kihikihi (NZL), 2-4 April
3. Sydney (AUS), 7-9 May
4. Marbach (GER), 7-9 May
5. Chatsworth (GBR), 15-16 May
6. Tattersalls (IRL), 27-30 May
7. Strzegom (POL), 24-27 June
8. Minsk (BLR), 21-25 July
9. Rebecca Farm, Kalispell (USA), 22-25 July
10. Malmö (SWE), 13-15 August
11. Haras du Pin (FRA), 18-22 August
12. Schenefeld (GER), 26-29 August
Standings (after 10 of 12 events)
1 Michael Jung (GER) 142 points
2 Megan Jones (AUS) 138
3 Phillip Dutton (USA) 131
4= Clarke Johnstone (NZL) 128
4= Lucy Wiegersma (GBR) 128
6 Alexey Korshunov (RUS) 125
7= Andreas Dibowski 122
7= Kai Rüder (GER) 122
9= Sonja Johnson (AUS) 119
9= Kai-Steffen Meier (GER) 119
11 Andrew Downes (GBR) 104
12 Frank Ostholt (GER) 101
For the full rankings, see www.feiworldcup.org
Prize-money distribution (in US$)
1st place: 50,000
Caption: Niklas Lindbäck and Mr Pooh claimed the HSBC honours on home ground in Malmö, Sweden (Photograph: Lotta Gyllensten/ FEI)