Germanys Markus Beerbaum, 36, triumphed in the FEI World Cup Qualifier at the London International Horse Show this afternoon, outpacing a line-up of the worlds best show jumpers. As winter sunlight streamed through the ceiling at Olympia, Beerbaum and Leena cleared the jump-off in a scorching 35.13 sec to claim the £20,080 first prize. Another German, Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst took second place with Switzerlands Beat Mandli in third. Britains Tim Stockdale and Fresh Direct Corlato, who held the early lead in the 10-strong jump-off, finished fourth.
Despite gallant efforts by Ellen Whitaker, Michael Whitaker and Hickstead Derby winner William Funnell, Mark Armstrong and Tim Stockdale were the only two British riders to qualify for the jump off. Mark Armstrong and Thesaura were first to tackle the course and their 36.66 sec score set a competitive pace for the rest of the 10-strong line-up. But next to jump, Tim Stockdale and Fresh Direct Corlato rose to the challenge and cleared the course in 35.66 sec a second faster.
Stockdale held the lead as Angelique Hoorn, Eric Van der Vleuten, Marco Kutscher and Jessica all clocked up jumping penalties. But Markus Beerbaum was determined to make his fifth Olympia a memorable occasion and stepped up the pace to beat Stockdale by 0.7 sec. Next in the arena Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst and Candy followed Beerbaums example but his 35.46 sec score was only good enough for second place. Last to jump, Beat Mandli and Indigo IX were 0.2 sec slower than Pollmann-Schweckhost, slotting into third position.
Tim Stockdale is delighted with the result. Fresh Direct Corlato has only recently come back into work after a three month break due to injury. You can understand why Im so pleased, he said afterwards. Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst who won yesterdays Christmas Masters was also happy with the outcome. The first round and jump-off really suited Candy, he said, The show is great both the atmosphere and the people.
But for Markus Beerbaum the victory meant more than the £20,080 first prize. Its nice to come out of the shadow of my brother, he said, referring to Ludgar Beerbaum, former world number one, who won the FEI World Cup Qualifier at Olympia in 1997.
The FEI World Cup is now in its 29th season and the finals will take place in Las Vegas in April 2007. After todays competition Beat Mandli is at the top of the leader board with 64 points followed by Albert Zoer with 50 points. Michael Whitaker is the highest placed British rider in sixth position while todays winner Markus Beerbaum has moved into 11th place.