June 18, 2011 - Piggy French (GBR) galloped through pouring rain on her appropriately named 10-year-old Irish gelding Flying Machine to take the lead after Cross-Country at Luhmühlen, presented by E.ON Avacon (GER), the third leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™.
The leaderboard has changed substantially and now the cost of just one Jumping fence covers the top four riders, ensuring a thrilling day’s sport tomorrow. French is highly competent in this phase, but she has no margin for error if she is to score her longed-for first CCI4* victory.
“I have not managed to run the horse as often as you would like to before a four-star, but the shock treatment seems to have worked!”, said French. "I am very excited about how he coped with it all. I am lucky to have many lovely horses to ride and when you have a day like this, it’s a bonus. The rain was unbelievable, and my gloves were heavy with water so I got rid of them, but it was no better without them!"
The home side’s Sandra Auffarth (GER) had the ride of her life to move up a place to second on the nine-year-old Selle Francais Opgun Louvo, the horse she rode into third place in the 2009 Young Horse Championships at Le Lion d’Angers (FRA). The German rider was making her four-star debut and it will be quite a story if she snatches victory tomorrow – and she says her horse is a good jumper.
Her experienced compatriots, Andreas Dibowski, who has never won Luhmühlen, and Frank Ostholt, the Dressage leader, are sitting dangerously close in third and fourth.
Peter Thomsen, seventh after Dressage, had a stop on Horseware’s Parko three fences from home; Susanna Bordone (ITA) on Blue Moss and Michael Jung (GER) on Leopin both retired after refusals, and Jonathan Paget (NZL) was eliminated for a rider fall with Clifton Lush at the influential fence 21 complex in the arena.
There were 19 clear rounds, 10 within the optimum time. These included the British trio of Mary King, William Fox-Pitt and Oliver Townend, who have all been elevated into the top 10 as a result.
Follow the action this weekend with daily FEI reports on www.fei.org, plus full start lists and results from www.luhmuehlen.de and highlights on www.feitv.org.
Results after Cross-Country
1 Piggy French/Flying Machine (GBR) 37.2 + 1.2 = 38.4
2 Sandra Auffarth/Opgun Louvo (GER) 39.0 + 0.0 = 39.0
3 Andreas Dibowski/Butts Leon (GER) 40.0 + 0.0 = 40.0
4 Frank Ostholt/Little Paint (GER) 35.3 + 6.8 = 42.1
5 Dirk Schrade/Hop and Skip (GER) 45.2 + 0.0 = 45.2
6 Mary King/Apache Sauce (GBR) 46.0 + 0.0 = 46
7 William Fox-Pitt/Macchiato (GBR) 46.2 + 0.0 = 46.2
8 Clayton Fredericks/Dunges Laurent Rose (AUS) 47.2 + 0.0 = 47.2
9 Paul Tapner/Stormhill Michael (AUS) 40.5 + 7.6 = 48.1
10 Oliver Townend/ODT Master Rose (GBR) 48.2 + 0.0 = 48.2
HSBC FEI Classics™ Leaderboard in 2011 (after 2 out of 5 events)
1 Mary King (GBR) 25 points
2 Mark Todd (NZL) 15 points
3 Piggy French (GBR) 12 points
4 Sinead Halpin (USA) 10 points
5 Sam Griffiths (AUS) 8 points
6 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 8 points
7 Niklas Lindback (SWE) 6 points
8 Clayton Fredericks (AUS) 6 points
9 Caroline Powell (NZL) 5 points
10 Oliver Townend (GBR) 5 points
Keep up-to-date with the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2011 leaderboard here.
Photo caption: Piggy French (GBR) and the aptly named Flying Machine galloped through the worst of the weather to take over the lead at the third leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2011 at Luhmühlen, presented by E.ON Avacon. Photo: Peter Nixon/FEI