Marcus and For Pleasure Get it Right in Leipzig 

27 Jan 2004

Jos Lansink still in the lead of the FEI World Cup Standings after Leipzig 
In what was probably the toughest leg of the 2003/2004 FEI World Cup series to date, Germany's Marcus Ehning and For Pleasure claimed pole position and collected the 21,250 Euro first prize in Leipzig today.

The massive course designed by Frank Rothenberger proved too great a challenge for all but seven of the 38 starters and Lars Nieberg led the way against the clock with Adlantus As FRH but left the door open with one fence down in 38.60 seconds.

Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Shutterfly were almost one second quicker but also left a pole on the floor, so it was the careful clear round produced by the French partnership of Jean-Marc Nicolas and JPC Modesto which provided the target for the remaining four runners.

Franke Sloothaak also opted for caution but collected four faults in the slow time of 40.23 seconds but Jessica Kurten and Quibell, the promising 10 year old mare which the German-based Irish rider hopes will take her to Athens this summer, were giving it their best shot when hitting the first element of the penultimate double which proved the bogey fence in the jump-off.

Second-last to go, Marcus played the percentage game "I saw a few of the others go and I knew the only clear round was not too fast so I decided not to go too crazy" he said  but his time was still good as he cleared the line in 38.47 seconds with all the fences still intact.

Fellow-German rider Toni Hassmann had enjoyed great success with Lomitas and Lolita in the Audi Cup Youngsters Qualifiers over the previous few days and, having finished runner-up behind Otto Becker and Grandilot in Friday's World Cup Preliminary competition could have fancied his chances when last into the ring with Camirez B. Once more however a single error proved costly and he had to settle for sixth place behind Kurten while Nieberg finished fourth, Michaels-Beerbaum third and Nicolas slotted into second position.

Marcus, 29 years old from Sudlohne in Germany, was particularly pleased to have won this leg of the series for several reasons, not least of which was the fact that the course was, as he said, "Big, Big, Big!".

"Frank Rothenberger also built the track in London in December  the jump-off there was very fast but the fences were nothing like as big as they were today  this was a huge track and technical as well but high fences are no problem for my horse, although this was the highest track I have ever jumped with him indoors" he added.

He had been disappointed when beaten by the smallest of margins by Helena Weinberg at the Qualifier in Olympia in London and blamed himself for that defeat but he had nothing to regret this time around as the grand old stallion, so aptly named For Pleasure, showed once more why he is already a legend in his own lifetime.

"As I said in London, For Pleasure will jump only in the early part of this year because I want to save him as a possible ride for the Olympics so Anka will be my choice if I go to the World Cup Final and will do most of the summer jumping for me" Marcus explained. He feels he should have at least two horses in contention for Athens and although he has expressed some reservations about competing the 18 year old For Pleasure, who took him to team glory and individual fourth at the Sydney Games, in the heat of the Greek summer he is keeping his options open.

The points earned today promote Marcus to ninth on the FEI World Cup Leaderboard which is still headed by Belgium's Jos Lansink followed by Dutchman Eric Van der Vleuten in second and Germany's Marco Kutscher and Helena Weinberg in third and fourth.

With just six legs of the series remaining the pressure is steadily increasing, and Amsterdam next weekend promises some sharp action as riders further down the leaderboard attempt to make their mark in the second half of the series.

Result: 1, For Pleasure (Marcus Ehning) Ger 0/0 38.47; 2, JPC Modesto (Jean Marc Nicolas) Fra 0/0 41.75; 3, Shutterfly (Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum) Ger 0/4 37.86; 4, Adlantus As FRH (Lars Nieberg) Ger 0/4 38.60; 5, Quibell (Jessica Kurten) Irl 0/4 38.64; 6, Camirez B (Toni Hassmann) Ger 0/4 38.67; 7, Sundance K (Franke Sloothaak) Ger 0/4 40.23; equal 8, Sails Away (Sebastian Numminen) Fin, Cagliostro (Niklas Arvidsson) Swe 1 fault; equal 10, Pro Pilot 11 (Edouard Couperie) Fra, Argelith Stakkato (Eva Bitter) Ger, Qerly Chin (Christophe Barbeau) Sui, Equest Carnute (Thomas Velin) Den, Polyfee (Lutz Gripshover) Ger, Candy (Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst) Ger, V&L De Sjiem (Jeroen Dubbeldam) Ned, Delon VA (Cayetano Martinez de Irujo) Esp, HBC Lando (Julia Kayser) Aut 4 faults


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