's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands- Valuable World Cup points were at stake Friday evening in the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final as riders vied for a place in Sunday's final competition. Louis Koninck tested the 33 riders that returned for round two over a demanding track in the Indoor Brabant. Riders within the top 25 of the placings following tonight's round qualify to contest Sunday's final competition, of those entries seven will be representing the U.S.
Rich Fellers, Thursday's round one winner, guided the diminutive Flexible to a near flawless round just faulting at one fence. Fellers (Sherwood, OR) and Harry and Mollie Chapman's 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion jumped another efficient round only adding four faults at the middle oxer of the triple at fence 11. The pair finished tonight's class in eighth place.
"That was a funny triple. I don't know what was affecting the horses' vision, what they were looking at, but that's not a typical rail for Flexible. I felt like I rode him well and I don't know what I would have done differently there. Anyways, that's the sport." The consummate sportsmen, Fellers feels he may have benefit from tonight's unlucky rail. "We always try to see the positive. I thought of that when I came out of the ring, at least I don't have to jump him off, and he'll just be that much more fresh for Sunday because you do two rounds."
Fellers goes into Sunday's two round final in equal second place in the overall standings with a one fault total.
Beezie Madden was the top placing American rider in round two, guiding Abigail Wexner's Cortes 'C' to fifth place and the fastest four fault round of the night. Madden (Cazenovia, NY) utilized the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding's ground covering stride and huge jump to execute a near impeccable round. Like Fellers, they also faulted at 11B; this was their only mistake.
"I'm a little disappointed with that. But I thought he jumped well and we're in a good place." Madden likes her chances on the final day and believes the course will suit her horse. "My horse has lots of scope and normally they big build on Sunday. So we will look to jump good rounds and I think we can move up."
They head into Sunday's final competition in eighth place with seven faults.
Margie Engle and Richard Spooner will enter the final round in equal 16th place on 14 fault totals. Engle (Wellington, FL) and Gladewinds, Griese, Garber, and Hidden Creek Farm's Indigo were on pace to jump a clear round until an unfortunate rail at the last fence leaving them in ninth place for Friday's class. Spooner (Agua Dulce, CA) and Show Jumping Syndication International's Cristallo faulted at two fences for an eight fault total in round two.
Earlier in the day Spooner piloted Molly Ohrstrom's Billy Bianca to a win in the Brabants Dagblad Prijs, out running the field by a full two seconds. Kirsten Coe (Johnston, SC) heads into Sunday in 18th place on a score of 15 faults. While, Charlie Jayne (Elgin, OH) and Kent Farrington (Wellington, FL) are tied for 23rdplace in the overall rankings on 19 fault scores. The final U.S. entry in round two was Francie Steinwedell-Carvin (La Canada, CA) who gained valuable World Cup experience with Prentis Partners' Taunus this week.
Switzerland's Pius Schwizer goes into Sunday's final two rounds with a total of zero faults and the overall lead. Steve Guerdat also of Switzerland lies tied for second overall with Fellers on a one fault total.
The winner of the second round of the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final was Philipp Weishaupt and Monte Bellini of Germany, posting a speedy time of 33.04 seconds in tonight's three horse jump-off.
The first round of the final competition in the 2012 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final gets underway Sunday at 2 p.m. CEST.
Watch live action from the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final on http://www.feitv.com.
Follow the 2012 U.S. Jumping Team; http://usefnetwork.com/featured/2012Jumping/
Details about the Finals are available at http://www.indoorbrabant.com/
Photos: Rich Fellers and Flexible (Photo by SusanJStickle/PhelpsSports.com); Beezie Madden and Cortes 'C' (Photo by SusanJStickle/PhelpsSports.com)