An action packed competition in Oslo marked the start of the 2006/7 FEI World Cup Jumping series. Germany’s Rene Tebbel won the opening leg aboard Team Harmony Coupe de Coeur with Piet Raymakers from Holland in second place. However, after excelling themselves at the Horse of the Year Show ten days ago, British riders failed to feature at the top of the Oslo leader board with 12th placed Richard Davenport and Nelson Z the highest scoring combination. “I’m really happy with my horse today” said a delighted Tebbel after his victory.

The first round course, designed byAndreas Haskjold, was twisty, up-to-height and took no captives. There were six retirements including Britain’s Robert Smith and Kalusha. Smith decided to retire after Kalusha hit the double while refusals from Alredo Hernandez’s horse Semtex P caused the el Savadorian rider to be eliminated. Frustrating four-penalty rounds from 10 starters, including last year’s Oslo winner Gerco Schroder from The Netherlands and world number 2 Rolf Goran Bengtsson, left only 12 horses in the jump off.

Germany’s Christian Ahlmann was first to take on the jump-off track with Lorenzo and an impressive 35.35 sec clear set a high standard for the rest of the field. However, Switzerland’s Beat Mandli immediately trumped Ahlmann’s score by more than two seconds, forcing the other competitors to step up the pace.

Holland’s Leopold Van Asten and VDL Groep Fleche Rouge accepted the challenge, finishing almost one second faster than Mandli’s target time. Van Asten remained in the lead while France’s Eugenie Angot and fellow-Dutchman Jurgen Stenfert both failed to beat his time.

But next in the ring, Piet Raijmaker put paid to Van Asten’s leading time with a stunning 32.07 sec clear with Van Schijndel’s Curtis. As the audience prepared to applaud Raijmaker as the Oslo champion, Tebbel stopped the clock in 31.98 seconds – a time the remaining three combinations including Richard Davenport failed to match. The British rider clocked up 29 penalties with Nelson Z.

Tebbel is thrilled with Coupe de Coeur’s performance. “There were a lot of turn-backs possible on the jump-off track and I missed one that I had planned so I was not sure that I could win,” he explained, “Also I usually ride him more carefully and don’t ask him to go so fast so I was not sure how he would be, but he seemed to find it easy even though we were quick.”

After success in the first FEI leg, Tebbel has begun mapping out his campaign for the next few months with the FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Las Vegas, USA next April being his ultimate aim. “I will go to Helsinki next week” he said, “and also to Olympia in London in December but I must do well there because these are my only chances to get to Las Vegas and I really want to go there”.

The next leg of the series takes place in Helsinki, Finland next Sunday (22 October).