GERMANS MAKE IT A DUBLIN DOUBLE.........
Sonke Sonksen's German team galloped to victory, and almost all over the No. 1 Army Band. at the seventh leg of the Samsung Super League with FEI series in Dublin today.
Their victory lap very nearly turned to disaster when, taking their eye off the arena as they waved in delight to the crowd, they found themselves on a collision course with the marching band. However braking systems were in perfect working order just as their jumping technique had been on a testing, tough afternoon in the Royal Dublin Society arena.
The USA finished second ahead of Switzerland and Ireland in joint-third, and Belgium and The Netherlands shared fifth spot ahead of the British in seventh, France in eighth and Sweden in last place.
This was a horrible day for the Swedes who collected a massive 51 faults, and things are not looking promising as they head to the Final in Barcelona next month. Languishing at the bottom of the league table they really needed a good day, but elimination for Fredrik Gustafsson who dismounted after being struck in the face by his horse in the first round weakened their position, and a difficult second round for Niklas Arvidsson compounded the situation.
The winners already had the advantage at the halfway stage, but the non-Super League Irish were impressively only one fault behind while the Americans and Dutch were lying third on eight faults. The Swiss were carrying 13, the British 16, and Belgium, Sweden and France had already collected 17 apiece before round two began.
It was the bogey line that began with the open water at fence four followed by a dog-leg to a double - vertical to oxer with water-tray - and then another oxer that put an end to Gustafsson. A substantial number of horses baulked at the second element of the double and when Serenata La Silla was a little frightened there and arrived all wrong to fence six the horse slammed into reverse gear and hit the rider on the nose. Gustafsson left the ring on foot and did not return in round two because Serenata was also injured in the dramatic incident.
Henk Van de Pol's Dan -T had already thrown in a stop at the second element of the bogey double in round one before slamming on the anchors at the first element in round two to leave his rider on the floor, but the Dutchman's frustration was possibly less than that experienced by Britain's Robert Whitaker when Lacroix simply would not approach the last fence in either round.
On each occasion the 24 year old made it all the way to the penultimate vertical, but when the rider asked for a right-hand turn to the final oxer Lacroix would have none of it and Whitaker was left with an uncomfortable walk back to the pocket.
Course designer Avelino Rodriguez Miravalles from Spain had set some real questions on his 12-fence track - "as soon as we walked the course we could see it was more technical and bigger" said Heinrich Hermann Engemann afterwards. In the final analysis he only had to jump once, faulting only with a toe in the water for Aboyeur W, because his German team-mates had already sealed the deal and won the day. Thomas Voss (Leonardo B) and Thomas Muhlbauer (Asti Spumante) were both foot-perfect first time out when Holger Wulschner (Clausen) and Engemann both left one on the floor, and although Muhlbauer clipped the second-last in round two Wulschner's clear did the trick when added to just a single time penalty for Voss.
The Irish dropped to joint-third when Capt Shane Carey, Conor Swail and Comdt Gerry Flynn all had one fence down in round two and this allowed the Americans to squeeze into second spot when Molly Ashe-Cawley (Vicomte D) and Beezie Madden (Judgement) were fault-free. Second-round clears from Steve Guerdat (Jalisca Solier) and Markus Fuchs (La Toya) steadied the Swiss effort and the Belgians rallied brilliantly when adding nothing to their first-round tally.
Van de Pol's elimination and a total of 16 faults from Leon Thijssen and Olaf hampered the Dutch but Willem Greve's ride KEC Maximum is acquiring a big fan-club while Whitaker's failure to complete the course and a total of 16 from Nick Skelton and Russel did not help the British. For the relatively inexperienced members of the French side the course proved a major challenge but both Aymeric de Ponnat, winner of the King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead, and Jerome Debas Montagner will have learned a great deal from today when both rode a little over-enthusiastically through the most difficult parts of the track and France looks to be developing more strength in depth as the series continues.
For the Swedes however today was a bruising encounter and how they will re-group before Barcelona remains to be seen....The French need to be careful. They are less than four points ahead of Sweden and with double-points on offer in Spain they are far from secure....
It was all smiles for the Germans however. They now have a 15-point lead over Switzerland at the head of the leaderboard and Sonke Sonksen is already looking forward to next season. "I told you yesterday it was a big dream to win the Aga Khan Cup in Dublin and now we have done it twice in a row so it is very, very special" he said. If the 2006 and 2007 Dublin winners can return to do it again in 2008 then they will win the prestigious trophy outright, a feat achieved only by Switzerland in 1930, Ireland in 1953 and 1979 and Great Britain in 1975.
Before that however, they want to add the 2007 Samsung Super League with FEI title to the endless list of German achievements. They seem unstoppable now....
1. GERMANY 9 faults: Leonardo B (Thomas Voss) 0/1, Asti Spumante (Thomas Muhlbauer) 0/4, Clausen (Holger Wulschner) 4/0, Aboyeur W (Heinrich Hermann Engemann) 4/0.
2. USA 13 faults: Anthem (Laura Kraut) 4/8, Vegas (Christine McCrea) 0/5, Vicomte D (Molly Ashe-Cawley) 8/0, Judgement (Beezie Madden) 4/0.
EQ 3. SWITZERLAND 17 faults: Jalisca Solier (Steve Guerdat) 5/0, La Toya (Markus Fuchs) 8/0, Con Spirito R (Theo Muff) 0/4, Kaiser de Quesnoy (Paul Estermann) 8/Ret.
EQ 3. IRELAND 17 faults: River Foyle (Capt Shane Carey) 0/4, SIEC Concept (Cameron Hanley) 9/12, Rivaal (Conor Swail) 4/4, Mo Chroi (Comdt. Gerry Flynn) 1/4.
EQ 5. BELGIUM 24 faults: Cashmira (Vincent Lambrecht) 12/1, Tekila D (Pieter Devos) 4/0, Verelst goliath (Marc Van Dijck) 8/0, Tymoon Caloo Meerchn) Dirk Demeersman) 12/0.
EQ 5. THE NETHERLANDS 24 faults: KEC Maximum Joe (Willem Greve) 0/4, Dan 7-T (Henk Van de Pol) 17/Elim, BMC Rupert R (Ben Schroder) 0/4, Olaf (Leon Thijssen) 8/8.
7. GREAT BRITAIN 36 faults: Russel (Nick Skelton) 4/12, Lacroix (Robert Whitaker) Elim/Elim, Coratflex Mondriaan (William Funnell) 8/4, Ronaldo (Robert Smith) 4/4.
8. FRANCE 37 faults: Gavelou des Ores (Stephan Lafouge) 12/8, Jubilee D'Ouilly (Aymeric de Ponnat) 8/0, Idem de B'Neville (Jerome Debas Montagner) 4/8, Ephebe Forever La Silla (Christian Hermon) 12/5.
9. SWEDEN 51faults: Columbus H (Linda Heed) 8/8, Cagancho (Niklas Arvidsson) 8/18, Serenata La Silla (Fredrik Gustafsson) Elim/DNS, Camiell-Flamingo Z (Peter Eriksson) 8/1.
SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE WITH FEI - LEADERBOARD AFTER ROUND 7 AT DUBLIN:
1. Germany - 47.75
2. Switzerland - 32.75
3. Great Britain - 30.5
4. Belgium - 27.75
5. USA - 26.5
6. The Netherlands - 25.5
7. France - 20.25
8. Sweden - 16.5
SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE - NATIONAL PRIDE, INTERNATIONAL PASSION!
FOR further information on the Samsung Super League with FEI in Dublin visit website www.rds.ie. Show President is Dr Austin Mescal, Show Director is Pat Hanly and Press Officer is Kayleigh Ckunningham - Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel - +3531 2407289.
SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE WITH FEI - 2007 CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
ROUND 1 - La Baule (FRA) Friday 11 May; ROUND 2 - Rome (ITA) Friday 25 May; ROUND 3 - St Gallen (SUI) Friday 1 June; ROUND 4 - Rotterdam (NED) Friday 22 June; ROUND 5 - Aachen (GER) Thursday 5 July; ROUND 6 - Hickstead (GBR) Friday 27 July; ROUND 7 - Dublin (IRL) Friday 10 August; ROUND 8 and FINAL - Barcelona (ESP) Sunday 16 September.
You can access all the latest Samsung Super League with FEI news and information on website www.samsungsuperleague.com.
Want to know more? You can check the comprehensive MEDIA GUIDE for the series, which is available in print and for download at www.samsungsuperleague.com under "Media Guide" heading.
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The Samsung Super League with FEI consists of the eight most prestigious horse shows at which the world's eight best national teams compare their merit. The Samsung Super League with FEI is connected to the FEI Nations Cup series through a promotion/relegation system at the end of each season.
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