Triumph and heartbreak went in hand in hand for the British team as they topped last week’s Aachen eventing results (1-2 July), but the competition was marred by the loss of Ros Canter’s ride Allstar B, the reigning world champion who had to be put down after suffering an irreparable injury on the cross-country.
This is the second year in a row that Britain has won the SAP Cup, which has been dominated by the home side over the 15 years since eventing joined the competition schedule at this premier German show, after first being run at the venue for the 2006 World Equestrian Games.
Last year, the fixture ran later in the calendar, and with the Olympics and Europeans taking precedence for top pairs, nations were mostly fielding teams of less experienced horses or riders. But the Germans certainly fielded a strong quartet this year and it was all credit to the Brits that they led throughout the competition and won by nearly 30 marks.
Britain’s effort was led by double Olympic medallists Tom McEwen and Toledo De Kerser – owned by Fred and Penny Barker, Jane Inns and Tom’s mother Ali – who finished third after adding just 6.4 time-faults to their third-placed dressage score. No one made the time over Rüdiger Schwarz‘s cross-country course.
After his Olympic success last year, Tom has had a tricky start to the season with a fall at Badminton Horse Trials with Toledo and neither of his rides finishing at the five-star at Luhmühlen Horse Trials last month, but he said he didn’t feel any extra pressure.
“The horses been going really well. Sometimes in life, you make mistakes and I’ve made a good few this year, but it’s all about learning and coming out the other side, so if I can learn and move on from that, then we’ll be better and better,” he said.
“I’ve loved everything about being at the world’s best show – it was absolutely rammed for cross-country today and Toledo was super-excited to be at a big show again. He was letting rip trying to jump everything as usual. I couldn’t be happier with him and our team result.”
William Fox-Pitt provided Britain’s second-best score in seventh with his own and Jennifer Dowling’s Little Fire, while Yasmin Ingham impressed on her Aachen debut by finishing 12th on Janette Chinn and Sue Davies’ Rehy DJ. Both William and Yasmin added only time-faults to their first-phase scores.
“Aachen is more than I ever expected it would be and it’s really good for me to build up mileage and come to this incredible show,” said Yasmin. “Everything rode as I wanted it to across country. It was extremely fast and intense out there and lots of the let-up fences were quite decent as well.”
Sarah Bullimore competed as Britain’s individual on home-bred European bronze medallist Corouet – owned by his rider, her husband Brett and the Kew Jumping Syndicate – and finished 22nd with one showjump down and a few seconds over the time, plus a steadier round across country.
Aachen eventing results confusion after protest
German superstar Michael Jung looked set to top the individual Aachen eventing results on Kentucky Three-Day Event winner FischerChipmunk FRH when he led from the start on a dressage of 22.2 and held a significant lead as he headed out across country.
He crossed the finish line with 1.2 time-faults and was announced as the winner, but as he was waiting for the press conference to start, news filtered through that there had been a protest over whether he should have been penalised for missing a flag at the right-handed brush corner at fence 14. The 15 penalties were eventually added to his score card and Michael dropped to eighth.
Michael was riding Chipmunk as an individual. His team ride Kilcandra Ocean Power finished down the leaderboard after having 20 penalties at fence 16d, but the Germans had to count his score as Ingrid Klimke had 40 jumping penalties on Equistros Siena Just Do It.
Their team-mate Sandra Auffarth took top honours individually with Viamant Du Matz. She commented that Viamant Du Matz has more “life experience” than last time he was in Aachen in 2019 and “understands every question” now – an ominous prospect for Germany’s rivals ahead of the eventing World Championships with it in mind that Sandra’s last win in Aachen was in 2014 with another chestnut, Opgun Louvo, and the pair went on to be world champions that autumn.
Andrew Hoy finished second as an individual on David and Paula Evans’ and his own Olympic bronze medallist Vassily De Lassos; Australia did not field a team. The pair put in the fastest cross-country round, finishing just one second over the optimum time.
“It’s an absolute privilege to ride a horse like Vassily,” said Andrew. “I’ve worked with him since 2017 and we’ve developed a very good relationship. There wasn’t once on the cross-country when I pressed the button and said, ‘Come on, you have to go.’ He’s a horse that can just run and jump and for me it was a very nice ride.”
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