Badminton winner and HSBC FEI Classics joint leader Paul Tapner has the chance to establish a clear lead in the international four-star series at Luhmühlen four-star in Germany this weekend.
Currently Paul heads the leaderboard alongside William Fox-Pitt, winner in Kentucky. But William isn’t competing at Luhmühlen, while Paul will be riding Kilfinnie, who finished second in the CIC three-star class at Bramham recently.
Another rider doing her best to pick up extra points to strengthen her claim on the US$150,000 first prize will be Mary King, who brings Kings Temptress and Apache Sauce. The home-bred Kings Tempress finished sixth at Luhmühlen last year and is returning to the event after retiring on the cross-country at Badminton this spring, while the experienced Apache Sauce is on great form after finishing second in the World Cup class at Tattersalls earlier this month.
That class was won by last year’s HSBC FEI Classics winner, Oliver Townend riding Ashdale Cruise Master, who has clearly put his Kentucky fall behind him and is travelling to Germany alongside Oliver’s Burghley winner Carousel Quest.
For the host nation, last year’s Luhmühlen runner-up Andreas Dibowski is expected to be competitive with FRH Fantasia, while World and Olympic team gold medallist Ingrid Klimke is returning to top-level competition with Butts Abraxxas after the birth of her second child, Philippa, this spring.
The cross-country course
Course designer Capt Mark Phillips believes that, while retaining its four-star status, Luhmühlen plays an important role in introducing horses and riders to the highest level of competition and he kept that in mind when producing this year’s course.
The course runs over a similar route to last year, but he describes it as more flowing and says “while some of the fences haven’t actually changed in terms of the questions being asked, they will look very different”. This is thanks to the work of his new team of builders, headed by David Evans, who built the track at the 2008 Olympic Games, as well as at Chatsworth and Blenheim.
Listen to Capt Mark Phillips talk about the Luhmühlen cross-country course below.
Latest Luhmühlen news
Visit Horseandhound.co.uk for daily reports from the event and don’t miss our full report on all the action in next Thursday’s magazine, on sale 24 June.
You can watch the action online on FEI TV; for timings, visit www.feitv.org
Or visit the event’s official website at www.luhmuehlen.de
Current HSBC FEI Classics standings
1. William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 15 points
2. Paul Tapner (AUS) 15
3. Phillip Dutton (USA) 12
4. Andreas Dibowski (GER) 12
5. Becky Holder (USA) 10
6. Daisy Berkeley (GBR) 10
7. Mary King (GBR) 8
8. Boyd Martin (USA) 8
9. Caroline Powell (NZL) 6
10. Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch (CAN) 6