Dutch rider Wim Schroder galloped to victory in the opening leg of the 2004/2005 FEI World Cup Jumping series in Oslo today riding Eurocommerce Montreal.
It was no easy win as a total of 18 of the 38 starters qualified for the jump-off which was consequently fast and furious with the lead changing rapidly throughout. The show was staged in the Spektrum Stadium in the centre of Oslo and 8,000 spectators enjoyed today's competition while a total of 21,000 people attended the ever-improving three-day indoor fixture.
Norwegian course designer Anders Hofskjolds had a difficult week as his computer laptop was stolen at the showgrounds on Thursday so he had no access to his prepared course-plans. The track he set for the competition seemed almost too easy with so many first-round clears but Wim insisted afterwards that it was more tricky than it appeared "horses can be a bit rusty at the first big indoor show so the course-builder has to be careful about that. However some of the riders who got through to the jump-off today were a bit lucky actually!" he said.
Olympic silver medallist Rodrigo Pessoa was first to jump against the clock but 17 faults from Harry Potter left the door wide open for the rest.
Robert Splaine set the first real target when next into the ring with Coolcorron Cool Diamond but was taking no chances when going for a careful clear in 37.57 as this was the stallionss first big show for 14 months.
Fifth to take up the challenge was Germany's Christian Ahlmann and the mare Comtessa who went into the lead when shaving 0.6 off the Irishman's time. However Switzerlands Steve Guerdat immediately bettered that when crossing the line with Isovlas Orchidee almost a second quicker.
Frenchmen Edouard Couperie (Pro Pilot 11) and Philippe Leoni (Cyrenaika FRH) both left all the fences standing as did Denmark's Thomas Velin and Godsend du Revendy but without threatening the leader and Guerdat was looking good until Wim cantered into the ring.
"I didn't watch too much of what the others were doing" he said. "With so many in the jump-0ff it was always going to be fast so I just tried to go as quick as I could and it worked" he added.
Scorching round the track, the 33 year old Dutchman stopped the clock in 34.71 and the rest could not catch him.
"With Gerco and Marco and Otto and Meredith coming behind me I knew it wouldn't be easy to win but Montreal is really fast and, just like in any class, if the fences come up right it makes all the difference. I made a good turn to the planks early on the track and we got into a great rhythm. I can depend on my horse and I knew he couldnt have done any more for me hes a super fighter and real winner" he said.
Germanys Otto Becker slotted into second spot with Dobel's Cordina who clocked up a good time of 35.16 seconds when second-last to go while Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, runner-up at this years World Cup final in Milan and last into the arena today, finished third with Checkmate ahead of Guerdat in fourth and Wim Schroder's younger brother Gerco in fifth with Eurocommerce Montreal.
It was a lucrative weekend for the Schroder family as Gerco, who picked up 7,000 euro for today's effort, had already collected 10,000 euro when winning yesterdays Grand Prix with Eurocommerce Lanapoule while Wim pocketed 25,000 euro for todays successful outing.
He now plans to compete in Helsinki next Sunday "I need to do well there too because there are quite a few Dutch riders who want to compete in the World Cup series and we only get two places at each event so I need to get my points quickly so that I can get to Las Vegas" he said.
RESULT: 1, Eurocommerce Montreal (Wim Schroder) Ned 0/0 34.71;
2, Dobel's Cordina (Otto Becker) Ger 0/0 35.18;
3, Check Mate (Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum) Ger 0/0 35.30;
4, Isovlas Orchidee (Steve Guerdat) Sui 0/0 35.47;
5, Eurocommerce Monaco (Gerco Schroder) Ned 0/0 36.29;
6, Swanky (Marco Kutscher) Ger 0/0 36.70;
7, Pro Pilot 11 (Edouard Couperie) Fra 0/0 36.87;
8, Comtessa (Christian Ahlmann) Ger 0/0 37.51;
9, Coolcorron Cool Diamond (Robert Splaine) Irl 0/0 37.57;
10, Cyrenaika FRH (Philippe Leoni) Fra 0/0 38.72;
11, Godsend du Revendy (Thomas Velin) Den 0/0 38.87;
12, Corino (Bernardo Alves) Bra 0/4 34.51;
13, Classic H (Helena Persson) Swe 0/4 35.82;
14, Hofgut Liederbachs Ingmar (Pia-Luise Aufrecht) Ger 0/4 36.86;
15, Andante (Tina Lund) Den 0/4 37.60;
16, S+L 11th and Bleeker (Gerfried Puck) Aut 0/8 36.56;
17, VDL Cardento (Peter Eriksson) Swe 0/8 37.57;
18, Harry Potter (Rodrigo Pessoa) Bra 0/17 51.58;
19, VDL Groep Eve des Etisses (Hubert Bourdy) Fra 1 flt 74.36;
equal 20, Semtex P (Jose Alfredo Hernandez) Mex, Rubezahl (Alvaro Munoz Escassi) Esp, Mac Kinley (Rolf Goran Bengtsson) Swe, Warrior W (Marc Wirths) Ger, Sails Away (Sebastian Numminen) Fin, LAccorde (Christian Anfinnsen) Nor, Kira (Ludo Philippaerts) Bel, Nottingham (Schuyler Riley) USA 4 flts;
28, VDL Groep Think Twice (Leopold Van Asten) Ned 6 flts; equal
29, Indigo (Beat Mandli) Sui, Galant de Semilly (Jos Lansink) Bel, Joskin (Marcela Lobo) Mex, Katerina (Clare Bronfman) USA, Clear Rounds Than Party (Geir Gulliksen) Nor, Favoritas (Nina B Johnsen) Nor 8 flts; equal
35, Florie du Moulin (James Davenport) Gbr, ET Royal Volo (Tony Andre Hansen) Nor 12 flts;
37, Gimini (Kirsti Svaboe) Nor Elim;
38, Anka (Marcus Ehning) Ger Ret.
FEI WORLD CUP JUMPING 2004/2005
LEADERBOARD AFTER ROUND 1 AT OSLO:
Wim Schroder - 20
Otto Becker - 17
Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum - 15
Steve Guerdat - 13
Gerco Schroder - 12
Marco Kutscher - 11
Edouard Couperie - 10
Christian Ahlmann - 9
Robert Splaine - 8
Philippe Leoni - 7
Thomas Velin - 6
Bernardo Alves - 5
Helena Persson - 4
Pia Luise Aufrecht - 3
Tina Lund - 2
Gerfried Puck - 1.
For further details on the FEI World Cup at Oslo contact Show Secretary Annhild Furfjord - email email@example.com. or vist the website: www.oslohorseshow.com.
The second leg of the FEI World Cup 2004/005 series takes place in Helsinki, Finland on Sunday 17 October and the contact details are as follows:
Show Director is Tom Gordin, Show Secretary is Hanna Hurme email firstname.lastname@example.org and Press Officer is Kati Hurme-Leikkonen Tel. (mobile) ++358 40 5144753, email email@example.com (KATI.L.HURME@KOLUMBUS.FI). Website: www.helsinkihorseshow.fi.