Marcus Ehning came out on top of an exciting five-way jump-off to claim the Aachen grand prix with Pret A Tout.
Eleven combinations jumped clear around Frank Rothenberger’s huge, lengthy first round track, with five of those leaving all the fences standing again in the second round to reach the jump-off.
Third to go, Marcus powered his and Ruth Krech’s 15-year-old gelding round the course, daring him all the way, to return a brilliant clear in 38.34 seconds. With Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (Bianca) and Ireland’s Darragh Kenny (Babalou 41) clocking up 12 faults apiece, and Brazil’s Pedro Veniss pulling out a beautiful, but steady, clear on Quabri De l´Isle, it was only Portugal’s Luciana Diniz who could catch the home favourite.
Luciana managed a thrilling clear round with the game For Pleasure mare, Fit For Fun 13, but crossed the line two and half seconds short of Marcus’ time to hand victory to the German, who last won this class in 2006.
“Today was our day. I was happy with my first round and we jumped an amazing second round,” said Marcus, who also led Germany to a third consecutive Nations Cup victory aboard Pret A Tout earlier in the week. “I was more nervous watching Luciana’s jump-off round than in my own. My horse gave me a lot of confidence in the Nations Cup and I can believe in him and try my best.”
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Marcus now has the opportunity to compete for the Rolex Grand Slam, and said that although he wouldn’t normally compete at the next leg, at Spruce Meadows in Calgary in early September, now he was in “a new situation” he would now think about it.
Britain’s sole showjumper in Aachen, the 19-year-old European young rider champion Harry Charles (above), performed superbly all week to qualify for his first five-star grand prix. He rode a mature round on his father Peter’s ABC Quantum Cruise to finish with nine faults, having had a foot in the water and a rail down.
“The course felt very big, but I really enjoyed it out there,” said Harry.
Don’t miss the full report from Aachen in next week’s H&H, on sale on 26 July.