FEI Classics™: Despontin leads stellar field after Dressage at Luhmühlen 

19 Jun 2015

By Kate Green

Belgian rider Julien Despontin, who is competing in only his second CCI4*, leads a distinguished field of Olympians after Dressage at Luhmühlen (GER), presented by DHL, the fifth and penultimate leg of the FEI Classics™ 2014/2015.

“It’s amazing. Unbelievable,” exclaimed the 25-year-old rider, who managed to hold his first-day lead over Olympic gold medallists Ingrid Klimke (GER), Michael Jung (GER) and Sir Mark Todd (NZL) after a Dressage phase of particularly high standard.

Despontin scored 31.9, one of the highest Dressage scores at CCI4* level, on the 14-year-old Waldano 36, a Hannoverian by Wolkenstanz. He has lived in Germany for eight years and trains with Andreas Ostholt (GER).

“I just went in there and did my best, but my horse moves beautifully; his strength is definitely in his walk and trot. He did well in the Dressage at Pau (FRA) last year as well, but ended up in 14th place [with several Cross Country time penalties], so it will be interesting to see how it goes here,” commented Despontin. “The riders will need all their concentration.”

The Belgian newcomer will certainly need all his focus to remain in the top spot after Cross Country. Two female riders known for their Cross Country speed are in close contention, both riding mares: Ingrid Klimke, the current leader of the FEI Classics™, is lying just 0.8 penalties behind Despontin in second place on FRH Escada JS, and Jonelle Price (NZL) is third on Faerie Dianimo on a score of 32.8.

The top 11 placed riders in the field of 38 all scored in the 30s. The reigning Olympic champion, Michael Jung, is fourth and fifth with fisherRocana FST, second last year, and La Biosthetique Sam FBW, the winner here in 2009 and European champion in 2011.

Jung revealed that both horses are being entered for Burghley (GBR), the final leg of the FEI Classics™, and that he has a choice of potential rides with which to defend his title at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle (GBR) in September.

“I’m lucky that I have so many nice horses,” he said. “I always enjoy coming to Luhmühlen because it has a championship feel and horses always learn something here.”

The Australian Olympic rider Christopher Burton is in sixth place on Graf Liberty on 36.4 penalties, just a fraction at 0.1 ahead of double Olympic champion Sir Mark Todd, seventh on NZB Campino, the horse on which he won team bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Riders have been assessing Mark Phillips’s Cross Country course, which runs in the opposite direction to last year and contains several accuracy tests in the form of narrow fences and corners, and twists and turns which could make the optimum time difficult to achieve.

Klimke, who is yet to win her home CCI4*, is looking forward to the challenge. “It looks super,” she said. “It’s very friendly and inviting but there are some technical questions, especially the Ariat question near the end of the course which is asking for precision and concentration.”

Cross Country action starts tomorrow at 9.35am local time live on FEI TV www.feitv.org with live results on www.luhmuehlen.de

Results after Dressage

1 Julien Despontin/Waldano 36 (BEL) 31.9

2 Ingrid Klimke/FRH Escada JS (GER) 32.7

3 Jonelle Price/Faerie Dianimo (NZL) 32.8

4 Michael Jung/fischerRocana FST (GER) 34.1

5 Michael Jung/La Biosthetique Sam FBW (GER) 34.2

6 Christopher Burton/Graf Liberty (AUS) 36.4

7 Sir Mark Todd/NZB Campino (NZL) 36.5

8 Jesse Campbell/Kaapachino (NZL) 36.8

9 Clark Montgomery/Loughan Glen (USA) 37.1

10 Lizzie Brown/Henton Attorney General (NZL) 38.2


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FEI Classics™ 2014/2015 Leaderboard (after 4 out of 6 events)

1 Ingrid Klimke (GER) 27 points

2 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 23

3 Michael Jung (GER) 15 points

4 Jessica Manson (AUS) 15

5 Tim Price (NZL) 12

6 Andreas Dibowski (GER) 12

7 Megan Jones (AUS) 12

8 Jock Paget (NZL) 10

9 Arnaud Boiteau (FRA) 10

10 Mark Todd (NZL) 8


Notes to Editors:

FEI Classics™ 2014/2015 calendar

1 Les Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) - 23-26 October 2014

2 Adelaide International 3 Day Event (AUS) - 13-16 November 2014

3 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) - 23-26 April 2015

4 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) - 7-10 May 2015

5 Luhmühlen CCI 4* presented by DHL (GER) - 18-21 June 2015

6 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) - 3-6 September 2015

Julien Despontin (BEL) and Waldano 36, who lead a distinguished field after Dressage at Luhmühlen (GER), fifth leg of the FEI Classics™ 2014/2015. (Hanna Broms/FEI)

Julien Despontin (BEL) and Waldano 36, who lead a distinguished field after Dressage at Luhmühlen (GER), fifth leg of the FEI Classics™ 2014/2015. (Hanna Broms/FEI)

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