The Germans have proven unstoppable on home turf throughout the eventing Nations Cup in Aachen.
The quartet of Ingrid Klimke, Michael Jung, Sandra Auffarth and team debutante Josefa Sommer maintained their position at the top of the leaderboard after the cross-country today (Saturday, 22 July) — dominating the top-two podium positions a mere 0.2 of a penalty apart.
Ingrid and the popular Horseware Hale Bob OLD (pictured, below) completed on a clean sheet to collect the individual honours, having shot to the top of the leaderboard following yesterday’s showjumping (Friday, 21 July).
“There were some good questions on the course and the horse and riders had to be focused,” said Ingrid.
“As I was last to go, I was in the cross-country warm-up alone which ‘Bobby’ didn’t like and he wanted to catch Michael and Sam up! But he had lots of energy so I know he is very fit.”
Michael and La Biosthetique-Sam FBW also came home inside the optimum time to claim the runner-up spot.
Australian Shane Rose prevented a German clean sweep by finishing third — with Germany’s Sandra Auffarth in fourth — partnering CP Qualified with whom he finished second here last year.
“He’s had a fairly short lead up to this event, after our bad result at the Olympics last year I gave him a break over the winter and he’s come back well,” added Shane.
“We had trouble at the water in Rio, so I made sure I left enough in the tank for the final water here.”
The Australian team finished second — with Shane and his seasoned teammate Chris Burton joined by Emma NcNab and Katja Weimann enjoying their first Nations Cup team appearance.
British individual rider shines
Britain’s individual rider Alex Bragg enjoyed a brilliant Aachen finishing best of the British riders in eighth aboard Zagreb.
Having produced a clear jumping round on Friday, Alex stormed round the cross-country albeit with a tense moment at the narrow hedge combination at fence 23 where he knocked the flag out.
He was initially given 50 penalties under the new flag rule but these were removed swiftly once the video replay was watched.
“It’s a great result for us here in Aachen,” said Alex. “We had a few mistakes in the dressage but I’m improving all the time as a rider.
“We’re a very settled partnership but being at big occasions like this and being long-listed for the European Championships gives you butterflies, plus a lot more added pressure.”
The British team finished fifth after two brilliant clear cross-country rounds from both Piggy French and Oliver Townend.
The team fielded three riders across country after Pippa Funnell’s unlucky fall from Billy The Biz in the showjumping yesterday.
Tom McEwen was pleased with Toledo De Kerser’s overall performance despite “a lack of concentration” at fence four on the cross-country, picking up 20 penalties — the pair produced a foot-perfect clear round for Team GB the day before.