Nicolas Touzaint and Galan de Sauvagere added the 2006 FEI Eventing World Cup to their 2003 European Championship title in Malmo, Sweden at the weekend.
The French had specifically targeted the Eventing World Cup final with some of their best riders and horses and were rewarded by claiming the championship for the first time. Putting the disappointments of the World Equestrian Games behind them, they produced three clear rounds over the difficult final jumping phase to clinch first, second and fourth places.
Second placed Jean-Lou Bigot, riding Derby de Longueval, was the only competitor in the 38-strong field to achieve the optimum cross-country time and the only one to finish on his dressage score.
Arnaud Boiteau on Expo du Moulin, who was clearly none the worse for his fall in Aachen, rose from 21st after dressage to eventual fourth thanks to superb jumping performances.
Germany’s Andreas Dibowski interrupted French domination with third place on FRH Little Lemon. He also jumped clear on the final day to finishing on a score of 53.6.
In a truly international line-up, the USA’s Darren Chiacchia was fifth on Windfall, who dropped two places with two rails down, while Anna Hilton was best of the home side in sixth on Mr Dalby – there were four Swedes in the top 12. Laurence Hunt was leading British rider in seventh on Pheobus.
Australia’s Clayton Fredericks started his title defence strongly with a 35.2 dressage score, but his chances ended with a run-out on Nullarbor at fence 14 on the cross-country course and eventually wound up in 12th place.
As anticipated, the cross-country proved influential, with 12 riders failing to complete. There were only 13 clear rounds and faults were spread evenly around the course, with fence 5, three narrow white seats on a curving line, causing 10 errors.
The most serious incident of the day was a fall for Sweden’s Anna Hasso when her horse Son of a Bitch fell backwards at fence 13, the steps. She was taken to hospital for precautionary X-rays.
Anna Hilton said: “The cross-country was more difficult than I expected. You really had to ride. It was very technical and I think my horse was a bit gob-smacked by the crowds and the unusual fences. But that’s Malmö! I’ve had a fantastic weekend.”
A new format was used for the FEI Eventing World Cup final, with the cross-country and jumping phases run on the same day, split by about three hours’ rest and a formal horse inspection. Riders initially wondered how their horses would fare in the final jumping phase, but most looked and jumped well. There were six clear rounds – four of them French.
1. Nicolas Touzaint/Galan de Sauvagere (FRA) 39.8 + 2.4 + 0 = 42.2
2. Jean-Lou Bigot/Derby de Longueval (FRA), 48.5 + 0 + 0 = 48.5
3. Andreas Dibowski/FRH Little Lemon (GER), 42.4 + 11.2 + 0 = 53.6
4. Arnaud Boiteau/Expo du Moulin (FRA) 54.6 + 4.4 + 0 = 59.0
5. Darren Chiacchia/Windfall 2 (USA) 44.1 + 8.0 + 8 = 60.1
6. Anna Hilton/Mr Dalby (SWE) 48.9 + 10.8 + 8 = 67.7
7. Laurence Hunt/Pheobus (GBR) 48.5 + 16 + 4 = 68.5
8. Johan Lundin/Major Tom (SWE) 57.4 + 12.4 + 0 = 69.8
9. Niklas Lindback/Keep Clapping (SWE) 51.3 + 5.6 + 16 = 72.9
10. Andreas Ostholt/Lady Lemon FRH (GER) 48.9 + 17.2 + 8 = 74.1
11. Viktoria Carlerback/Onyx (SWE) 50.9 + 5.2 + 20 = 76.1
12. Clayton Fredericks/Nullarbor (AUS) 35.2 + 41.6 + 8 = 84.8