Brilliant Baloubet beats them all in Bordeaux  

8 Feb 2004

Double World Cup Champion Rodrigo Pessoa wins Bordeaux 

Double World Cup Champion Rodrigo Pessoa scooped the 25,000 Euro winners prize and rocketed up the league leaderboard with a superb victory in tonight's FEI World Cup qualifying competition in Bordeaux riding Baloubet du Rouet.

With 15 horses clear over Frank Rothenberger's first-round course it was always going to be a tough jump-off and pathfinder, Sweden's Maria Gretzer, set the early target when clear in 41.29 seconds with Cinderella.

This was never going to be quick enough however and French hearts were lifted when Patrice Deleveau and Envoye Special, fifth to go against the clock, cranked up the tension as they shaved almost six seconds off that.

Amsterdam winners Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum were just over one second slower than the French partnership but when Rodrigo came into the ring, with just five more horses to follow him, it was obvious he meant business.

Turning inside an oxer to a vertical he was already well up on time and as he galloped through the finish-line to take the lead, the clock showing 33.26 seconds.

Holland's Jeroen Dubbeldam (De Sjiem), Frenchman Jean-Marc Nicolas (JPC Modesto) and Italy's Juan Carlos Garcia (Albin 111) all made just a single error and when Germany's Toni Hassmann slotted in behind Rodrigo, with Meurer's Le Patron breaking the beam in 35.33 seconds, only Hubert Bourdy was left to challenge the Brazilian ace.

The home supporters rightly had high expectactions after a double from Bourdy which included pole position in Friday night's FEI World Cup Preliminary competition but there was a groan from the crowd when the French rider tried the same tight turn as Rodrigo but left two fences on the floor to finish well-down the line in the final analysis.

For Rodrigo this was a very satisfying result. "I really want to go to the Final and I think I have almost enough points now" said the man who held the FEI World Cup trophy aloft in both Gothenburg in 1999 and Las Vegas in 2000  and he was particularly pleased with Baloubet du Rouet.

"He's feeling really fresh and he's in very good shape" he said of the 15 year old French stallion.

When asked about his plan when riding into the ring for the jump-off he answered "you get some show jumping classes in which everything comes together just right and this was one of those, but there are plenty of times when it doesn't work out that way  you just have to be happy when it does" And when questioned about whether Baloubet will be his first choice for the Olympic Games this summer Rodrigo replied  "Oh yes, he's the one!".

For now however his sights are set on Milan and tonight's win saw him climb from 32nd position to joint-12th on the leaderboard which has seen a bit of a shake-up. Toni Hassmann, runner-up tonight, improves from 21st to equal-ninth place but while third-placed Patrice Deleveau is well down the line in 36th spot, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, fourth tonight, has added a further 13 points to her tally and this leaves her sharing pole position with Belgium's Jos Lansink going into next weekend's leg of the series in Vigo, Spain.

There are only four more qualifiers to go  at Vigo next Saturday, in Paris on 6th March, at s'Hertogenbosch on 28th March and in Gothenburg on 11th April - and for riders carrying 36 points or less there is still much to play for in the coming few months as one good result could secure that all-important place in the line-up for the 26th FEI World Cup Final at the end of April.

RESULT: 1, Baloubet du Rouet (Rodrigo Pessoa) Bra 0/0 33.26; 2, Meurer's Le Patron (Toni Hassmann) Ger 0/0 35.33; 3, Envoye Special (Patrice Deleveau) Fra 0/0 35.46; 4, Shutterfly (Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum) Ger 0/0 35.65; 5, MacKinley (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) Swe 0/0 36.20; 6, Tlaloc M (Reynald Angot) Fra 0/0 37.41; 7, Cigale du Tallis (Eugenie Angot) Fra 0/0 37.41; 8, Cinderella (Maria Gretzer) Swe 0/0 41.29; 9, De Sjiem (Jeroen Dubbeldam) Ned 0/4 38.67; 10, Dobel's Cento (Otto Becker) Ger 0/4 39.38; 11, Meautry's Locarno (Luciana Diniz-Knippling) Bra 0/4 39.94; 12, Albin 111 (Juan Carlos Garcia (0/4 40.50; 13, JPC Modesto (Jean Marc Nicolas) Fra 0/4 41.25; 14, VDL Group Eve des Etisses (Hubert Bourdy) Fra 0/8 33.89; 15, Norman Wells (Tony Andre Hansen) Nor 0/8 47.23; equal 16, Cyrenaika (Philippe Leoni) Fra, Espoir de la Haye (Jesus Garmendia) Esp, VDL Groep Roofs (Jan Tops) Ned, Portofino (Michael Whitaker) GB, Impact (Dermott Lennon) Irl, Dileme de Cephe (Brono Broucqsault) Fra, Le Coup C (Maurice Van Roosbroeck) Bel, Chamal Corubert (Rob Raskin) Aut, Querly Chin (Christope Barbeau) Sui 4 faults.


Jos Lansink and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum - 57.
3. Helena Weinberg - 53
4. Thomas Velin - 52
5. Eric Van der Vleuten - 51
6. Marco Kutscher - 50
7. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson - 46
8. Michael Whitaker - 45
9. Ludo Philippaerts and Toni Hassmann - 42
11. Hubert Bourdy - 39
12. Peter Wylde and Rodrigo Pessoa - 38
14. Jeroen Dubbeldam, Marcus Ehning and Otto Becker - 37
17. Bruno Broucqsault, Christophe Barbeau and
Malin Baryard - 36.
20. Lars Nieberg and Wim Schroder - 35.


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