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Alltech FEI WEG™ 2014 Jumping Team Competition
Dutch deliver their second team Jumping championship title in thrilling final at Caen
By Louise Parkes
The Netherlands took their second world Jumping championship team title in style September 4 at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy. They benefitted from the lead they established in yesterday’s round to narrowly pip the host nation of France at the end of a nail-biting contest, while the USA took bronze.
Germany missed out on a podium placing by just 0.1 of a penalty point, finishing fourth, and Sweden snatched the last of the five Olympic qualifying spots, lining up sixth behind Brazil. The team representing the country that will play host in two years’ time is automatically qualified for Rio 2016, but the Brazilians showed that they are likely to be a force to be reckoned with when the world arrives on their doorstep.
It was no walk in the park, as three of the four Dutch team-members faulted in this last round. The man who actually clinched the title for them was Jur Vrieling, who produced one of just 14 clear rounds over another of Frederic Cottier’s fantastic courses.
The line from the opening vertical to the Land Rover oxer at fence two proved the bogey of the competition as, time after time, riders curved around the final element of the triple combination on the approach to the second fence, only to kick out the front pole. In all, 10 of the 57 starters left this one on the floor, which didn’t give them the best start to their tour of the 13-fence track.
The vertical at three was followed by an oxer at four and another vertical at five before riders swung right-handed to an oxer at six, followed by the Alltech triple combination. This vertical to oxer to vertical challenge jumped really well in the early stages of the competition, with five clears from the first tranche of riders who were battling it out for individual placings.
The oxer at eight was followed by a vertical at nine and then a long run down to a flimsy vertical over water at 10. Then it was right-handed to a double of verticals, before turning back towards the arena entrance over the Eiffel Tower vertical and the final oxer, which celebrated the emblematic Normande cow.
It was nip-and-tuck all the way, with the lead changing regularly and no clear confirmation of the medal placings until the closing stages. Lying in silver medal position overnight, America’s McLain Ward (Rothchild), Kent Farrington (Voyeur) and Lucy Davis (Barron) all faulted just once, but anchor rider Beezie Madden saved the day with a spectacular clear from Cortes C that pulled them right back into contention.
“A medal is what we came here for,” said American Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “We believe this is one of the top teams we have ever fielded and we had a great lead-up to coming here, we had great confidence and we gave it our all.” And he had extra reason to be pleased because Beezie Madden headed the individual rankings going into Saturday’s two-round competition from which the top four would qualify for Sunday’s individual final. In the 61-year history of the individual world Jumping championship, an American rider has never won gold.
Individual leader, Madden, said she has always believed in her horse, Cortes C. “He has championship scope and the right attitude - all the best qualities” she pointed out. Keeping her nerve on Saturday wasn’t a problem. She said she enjoyed going into today’s pressure round which clinched the medal for her side.
Team Jumping Final: GOLD - Netherlands, 12.83; SILVER - France, 14.08; BRONZE - USA, 16.72.
Individual Standings: 1, Cortes C (Beezie Madden) USA, 0.16; 2, Casall ASK (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) SWE, 0.34; 3, Tailormade Esperanza de Rebel (Soren Pedersen) DEN, 3.49; 4, Orient Express (Patrice Delaveau) FRA, 4.08; 5, Status (Rodrigo Pessoa) BRA, 4.10; 6, Conrad de Hus (Gregory Wathelet) BEL, 4.16; 7, Flora de Mariposa (Penelope Leprevost) FRA, 4.40; 8, Cornet D'Amour (Daniel Deusser) GER, 4.70; 9, Glock's London (Gerco Schroder) NED, 5.29; 10, Codex One (Christian Ahlmann) GER, 5.32.
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