Shutterfly Soars to Victory in Amsterdam. 

1 Feb 2004

Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum sealed Germanys 4th victory in the 2003/2004 World Cup 
 
Great riding by Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and superb jumping from Shutterfly sealed Germany's fourth victory in the 2003/2004 FEI World Cup series in Amsterdam today.

After a two-year absence from the international calendar the Dutch fixture made a successful and welcome return, and the spectators in the RAI Holland Complex were treated to a thrilling jump-off which went right down to the wire.

Course designer Rob Janssen enjoyed a busy few days because he also fills the role of Show Director but he found enough time and inspiration to come up with a clever World Cup track to which only five riders found all the answers.

"It was difficult today" Meredith said afterwards. "I estimated six clears - it was technical, big and long - and I believe all World Cup classes should be like that so riders can be prepared for what they will meet at the Final - it asked lots of questions, it was set perfectly - especially for me!" she added.

A total of 11 starters were obliged to share sixth place when making just one mistake in the first round and it was the home side's Jan Tops who was first into the jump-off with VDL Groep Roofs who hit the oxer at fence two and lowered the second-last for eight faults.

The Schroder brothers were in excellent form all week, Gerco winning Saturday night's Grand Prix with Eurocommerce Monaco, but it was Wim who was chasing World Cup points when next into the ring with Eurocommerce Montreal who set the target with a lovely clear round in 36.10 seconds.

Wim's tight turn from the penultimate upright to the final oxer looked very good indeed but Switzerland's Christophe Barbeau and Querly Chin were considerably faster when, however, picking up four faults at the second-last in 33.76 seconds.

Wim still held the advantage as Meredith rode into the arena with Shutterfly but as the German partnership set off at a tremendous gallop they always looked threatening and the ease with which Shutterfly took on his fences, without any visible interference or instruction from his pilot, was a joy to watch.

Last to go, Nick Skelton looked set to give the German partnership a run for their money and, taking an excellent line to the upright at fence three was challenging for the lead but the clock showed 33.65 seconds as the British duo crossed the line and Nick said afterwards "I didn't get the stride I wanted to the last fence so I think I lost it there" and he had to settle for runner-up spot behind Meredith with Wim in third, Christophe fourth and Jan slotting into fifth spot.

Meredith said - "I new Nick was coming after me and he is such a great rider but I also knew I had done the best job I possibly could and it was not possible to do better than that. Today my horse was jumping brilliantly and, as it turned out, my best was good enough to win".

As she was climbing into the brand new Audi A4 awarded to the winning rider, news was coming in that her brother-in-law Ludger had won the Grand Prix in Zurich so there were celebrations all round in the Beerbaum camp and for Meredith today's result was truly encouraging.

A broken collarbone two years ago and a broken leg last year has severely hampered her competitive career but her third-placing in Leipzig last weekend and today's victory have put her right back on track and she now intends to compete in just one more World Cup event, in Bordeaux next Saturday, before resting Shutterfly in advance of the Final in Milan in April. "I am also shorted-listed for the Olympics and I hope I can put the bad luck of the last few years behind me now" she said.

Nick Skelton also has Athens very much on his mind. Britain can send two individual riders to the Games and he is on the short-list for those two places along with William Funnell, Robert Smith, Michael Whitaker and Richard Davenport. He has no intention of trying to qualify for the World Cup Final and instead is putting his focus on performing well in La Baule, Rome, Lucerne and Rotterdam which are the chosen selection venues for the British squad.

Meredith however has Milan in her sights - "it was a late decision to come her but a good one" she said and with 20 points to add she now holds seventh place on the FEI World Cup leaderboard behind Michael Whitaker in sixth, Marco Kutscher in fifth, Eric Van der Vleuten in fourth, Thomas Velin in third, Helena Weinberg in second and Jos Lansink who holds pole position going into the tenth of the 14 qualifying rounds in Bordeaux next weekend.

RESULT: 1, Shutterfly (Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum) Ger 0/0 33.24; 2, Arko 111 (Nick Skelton) GB 0/0 33.65; 3, Eurocommerce Montreal (Wim Schroder) Ned 0/0 36.10; 4, Querly Chin (Christophe Barbeau) Sui 0/4 33.76; 5, VDL Groep Roofs (Jan Tops) Ned 0/8 37.88; 6, Van Schijndels Now or Never (Piet Raymakers) Ned, De Sjiem (Jeroen Dubbeldam) Ned, Candy (Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst) Ger, Norit Joint Venture (Peter Geerink) Ned, Cinderella (Maria Gretzer) Swe, Kasting Horses Gavi (Helena Weinberg) Ger, Joel (Gert Jan Bruggink) Ned, Mondriaan (William Funnell) GB, VDL Groep Eve (Hubert Bourdy) Fra, Equest Carnute (Thomas Velin) Den, Delon VA (Cayetano Martinez de Irujo) Esp 4 faults; 17, Hofgut Liederbach's Ingmar (Pia-Luise Aufrecht) Ger 5 faults; 18, Clinton (Dirk Demeersman) Bel, Gran Corrado (Yves Houtackers) Ned, Heritage Transmission (Marion Hughes) Irl, Camirez B (Toni Hassmann) Ger 8 faults.

FEI WORLD CUP LEADERBOARD AFTER ROUND 9 IN AMSTERDAM:

1. Jos Lansink - 57
2. Helena Weinberg - 53
3Thomas Velin - 52
4 Eric Van der Vleuten - 51
5 Marco Kutscher - 50
6 Michael Whitaker - 45
7Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum - 44
8 Ludo Philippaerts - 42
9Peter Wylde - 38
10 Marcus Ehning - 37
11 Bruno Broucqsault, Christophe Barbeau, Hubert Bourdy, Malin Baryard - 36
15. Lars Nieberg, Wim Schroder - 35
17. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson - 34
18. Otto Becker - 30
19. Jeroen Dubbeldam, Pia Luise Aufrecht 29.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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