Philipp Weishaupt and the stallion Catoki brought the German tally of wins in the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping Western European League qualifying series to a sensational six this evening at Bordeaux in France. The 25 year old rider from Munich was one of 12 in the thrilling second-round jump-off, and he steered a line against the clock that proved too good for the rest and brought him through the finish more than a half-second quicker than French runner-up Simon Delestre. Third place went to Beijing Olympic silver medallist Rolf-Goran Bengtsson from Sweden while Ireland's latest super-star, Billy Twomey, was less than a second off the winning time when slotting into fourth.
Weishaupt was more than happy at the end of the day. "Those 20 points were very important to me" he said. "I really wanted to get to the final in Leipzig, but I needed more points and now I think it's possible so I'm very pleased!' he added. The Germans look a formidable force going to the final on their home turf. With six victories in the ten qualifying competitions staged to date, they will surely be the ones to beat when the action gets underway on April 27.
Course designer, Uliano Vezzani, created a course that set the riders thinking, and many of them walked the track several times to ensure they understood the questions he would ask of them. The line from the triple bar at fence five to the double at fence six was placed against one of the long-sides of the arena, and the distance between the two fences proved influential as many who opted for a five-stride pattern here struggled to get airborne quickly enough in front of the first oxer-element of the double. For the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ individual jumping champions Philippe Le Jeune and Vigo D'Arsouilles the solution was an effortless four-stride effort instead, but the Belgian duo fell foul of the very last fence and so joined 13 other horse-and-rider partnerships on a frustrating four-fault result.
The next bogey on the track was the triple combination which also claimed a large number of scalps as the opening vertical was followed by a double of oxers with a long two strides between them.
Set The Pace
It was Colombia's Rene Lopez and Noblesse des Tess who set the pace when first into the ring against the clock and it seemed the French-based rider and his brilliant 10 year old mare had seriously put it up to the rest when they scorched home to stop the clock in 36.28 seconds. But Weishaupt was next to go, and suddenly the picture was very different indeed.
Rolling back sharply after the oxer at fence two, he cut inside the FEI vertical at fence seven and so faced the third fence at an extraordinary angle that was time-saving but immensely challenging. Catoki didn't hesitate however, and racing on from there galloped home in 34.05 seconds to throw down the gauntlet to the remaining ten contenders. Finland's Mikael Forsten decided to go for a careful clear with Evli Nandele, but Spain's Sergio Alvarez Moya gave it a good shot with Wisconsin when breaking the beam in 36.09. Germany's Marco Kutscher and Cornet Obolensky were more than a second slower than that, but Ireland's Billy Twomey wasn't going to be fazed by Weishaupt's target and, although he didn't make the same hand-brake turn, he temporarily moved into runner-up spot with a great round from the stallion J'Taime Flamenco that stopped the clock on 34.88 seconds.
Germany's Lars Nieberg and Lord Luis were clear but only fast enough for tenth place in the final analysis as they crossed the line in 37.30, but Frenchman Simon Delestre was considerably more competitive as he set the 10 year old Napoli du Ry alight in a round that included a little tap at the front element of the dreaded double. It stayed up however as the home partnership raced through the finish in 34.79 seconds, And it could hardly have been a closer contest for runner-up spot as Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Ninja La Silla put a time of 34.80 on the board when next to go.
Switzerland's Pius Schwizer and Ulysse had to settle for fifth when returning in 36.29 seconds while with both elements of the double on the floor Brazil's Alvaro de Miranda and AD Ashleigh Drossel Dan presented no danger, but the story could never be over until the last man left the ring. And when the last man is German ace Ludger Beerbaum then anything can happen.
Weishaupt has been Beerbaum's stable-rider for the last eight years and has learned a great deal of what he knows from his boss, but he said after the competition that he didn't have time to discuss jump-off strategy with Beerbaum because he himself was going so early in the second round. Beerbaum however had plenty of time to see Weishaupt's round and steered his 11 year old stallion Chaman through the same short-cut as his protege. But despite shaving off valuable fractions of seconds here, he was only quick enough for sixth place.
Had To Take Risk
"I knew I had to take a risk if I wanted to win and that the turn wouldn't be easy, but I told myself - don't think too much - just do it! " Weishaupt said afterwards. "I knew I wouldn't be fast enough if I went around the other fence before jumping the third - I had to risk something because there were so many others coming after me and I really wanted those 20 World Cup points!" he added. He talked about the challenge of competing a stallion that spends so much of his time at Beerbaum's breeding station. "It's not so easy. Catoki had a lot of mares last year and he is already producing some very good young horses. He has only done four shows in the last four months, this is his first show this year and before that we did London, but I'm planning to take him to Vigo next week" he pointed out. "It's going to be difficult to have him ready for Leipzig, because this year the final is very late - right in the middle of the breeding season - its not so good for me but I can understand that Catoki must do his job".
Runner-up Delestre said he tried to take the same short-cut as Weishaupt but that his horse is a bit spooky so he decided not to take the risk. "But I'm very satisfied because I needed points and I'm almost sure to be in the final now!" he said. Bengtsson explained that he couldn't make the turn because his horse wasn't turning so well. "And I was worried about galloping the last line because I had a problem with that in London and I wanted to be sure of a good placing instead" he pointed out.
The Swedish rider has no concerns about points because he is lying second on the Western European League leaderboard which is still headed by World No. 1 Kevin Staut from France while another great performance from the on-form Twomey today has promoted the Irishman to third ahead of Germany's Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum in fourth. With just three legs left to go however, the heat is now on going to Vigo next Sunday, to Gothenburg later in the month and to the last qualifying opportunity at 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands in March.
For further information on the tenth leg of the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping series go to website www.jumping-bordeaux.com or contact Press Officer Marie-Sol Fournier at Email email@example.com or Tel: +33 556 11 99 43. The next leg takes place in Vigo, Spain on Sunday 13 February 2011. For all information on the Spanish fixture go to website www.csivigo.com or contact Press Officer Alejandra Mier Rodriguez at Email firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel +34 669 718 736.
RESULT: 1, Catoki (Philipp Weishaupt) GER 0/0 34.05; 2, Napoli du Ry (Simon Delestre) FRA 0/0 34.79; 3, Ninja la Silla (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) SWE 0/0 34.80; 4, J'Taime Flamenco (Billy Twomey) IRL 0/0 34.88; 5, Ulysse X (Pius Schwizer) SUI 0/0 35.29; 6, Chaman (Ludger Beerbaum) GER 0/0 35.52; 7, Wisconsin (Sergio Alvarez Moya) ESP 0/0 36.09; 8, Noblesse des Tess (Rene Lopez) COL 0/0 36.28; 9, Cornet Obolensky (Marco Kutscher) GER 0/0 37.28; 10, Lord Luis (Lars Nieberg) GER 0/0 37.30; 11, Evli Nandele (Mikael Forsten) FIN 0/0 42.58; 12, AD Ashleigh Drossel Dan (Alvaro de Miranda) BRA 0/8 36.00. Full results at www.jumping-bordeaux.com
Facts and Figures:
10 from the host nation, France
This was the second leg of the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifying series to be staged in France. The first was held in Lyon last November.
The was round 10 of the 13 qualifiers that will take place before the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final at Leipzig, Germany 27 April to 1 May.
Riders from 17 nations competed
The youngest horse in the competition was the 8 year old chestnut stallion Sisley de la Tou Vidal ridden by Penelope Leprevost for France
The oldest horse in the competition was the 16 year old gelding Ninja la Silla which finished third for Sweden's Rolf-Goran Bengtsson
5,800 spectators watched the competition unfold
14 riders collected 4 faults in the opening round
Three horse-and-rider combinations retired in the first round
11 of the 12 horse-and-riders partnerships who made it through to the jump-off produced a double-clear - only Brazil's Alvaro de Miranda and AD Ashleigh Drossel Dan faulted second time out.
John Roche, FEI Director Jumping "the atmosphere here in Bordeaux was fantastic. The stadium was packed and clearly the crowd was full of equestrian enthusiasts - they really enjoyed the competition. The show itself was a huge success and it was great that the seating capacity was increased by a further 1,000 - it added to the atmosphere".
Philipp Weishaupt - "I'm very lucky because I have three great Grand Prix horses - Catoki, Souvenir and a nine year old by Montender".
Philipp Weishaupt - "I've been riding Catoki for one and a half years - he is a very special horse, he really focuses on his fences".
Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2010/2011 Western European League - Standings After Round 10 at Bordeaux, France:
1. Kevin Staut FRA - 87
2. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson SWE - 73
3. Billy Twomey IRL - 63
4. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum GER - 62
5. Rodrigo Pessoa BRA - 56
6. Sergio Alvarez Moya ESP - 50
7. Christian Ahlmann GER - 46
8. Philipp Weishaupt GER - 44
9. Harrie Smolders NED - 43
10. Ludger Beerbaum GER - 42
11. Simon Delestre FRA - 41
12. Marcus Ehning GER - 40
13. Michael Whitaker GBR - 35
14. Lars Nieberg GER - 34
15. Marco Kutscher GER - 34
16. Carsten-Otto Nagel GER - 33
17. Pilar Cordon ESP - 31
18. Jessica Kuerten IRL - 30
19. Luciana Diniz POR - 30
20. Malin Baryard-Johnsson SWE - 29
ROLEX FEI WORLD CUP™ JUMPING 2010/2011
CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR WESTERN EUROPEAN LEAGUE: 1, Oslo (Norway) 14-17 October; 2, Helsinki (Finland) 21-24 October; 3, Lyon (FRA) 27 Oct-1 November; 4, Verona (Italy) 4-7 November; 5, Stuttgart (Germany) 17-21 November; 6, Geneva (Switzerland) 9-12 December; 7, London-Olympia (Great Britain) 14-20 December; 8, Mechelen (Belgium) 26-30 December; 9, Zurich (SUI) 28-30 January; 10, Bordeaux (France) 4-6 February; 11, Vigo (Spain) 10-13 February; 12, Gothenburg (Sweden) 24-27 February; 13, ‘s-Hertogenbosch (The Netherlands) 24-27 March; FINAL - Leipzig (Germany) 27 April-1 May.
Broadcast Schedule can be downloaded from www.feiworldcup.org
Photo Caption: Philipp Weishaupt and the stallion Catoki secured Germany's sixth victory in the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping series at Bordeaux, France tonight. Photo: Cecile Grand/FEI.