British vaulting sensations Joanne and Hannah Eccles took the first and second places at the first FEI World Cup Vaulting final, in Bordeaux yesterday (5 February).
The Scottish sisters both performed on WH Bentley, lunged by their father John.
Six athletes went through to the ladies’ final and the tension was high as Switzerland’s Simone Jaiser and her horse, Luk, posting an overall aggregate score of 7.870.
Italy’s Anna Cavallaro stumbled backwards on dismount, but still achieved a mark of 7.990 with Harley, while Germany’s Sarah Kay, also partnering Luk, maintained fourth place by putting 8.040 on the scoreboard.â€¨â€¨
Hannah Eccles, 20, who was only in the final due to the injury of another competitor, was next into the arena with Bentley.
She came through with a score of 8.227, to pile the pressure on the final two.
France’s Anne-Sophie Musset Agnus, with new horse Harley, posted a score of 8.214 to drop behind Hannah.
So it was Joanne’s turn to show which Eccles had the edge.
Stepping out in a marionette-style costume to a musical score from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, she exceeded the previous day’s high score to post 8.837 this time out and swipe the title from Hannah.
Joanne said her secret weapon is gentle giant Bentley.
“My own success and Hannah’s too – none of it would have happened without him!” she said. “He’s as steady as a rock and so trustworthy.”.
The men’s title was won by Switzerland’s Patric Looser, who retired from the sport on a high note.