New world SJ champion crowned

  • Marcus Ehning, part of a new generation of German riders,continued his country’s winning tradition with a victory in the Budweiser World Cup, stealing a record fourth title from Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa.

    A steady and consistant approach netted Marcus, an Olympic team gold medal winner in 2000 who is rated fifth in the world, the top prize. He finished sixth on Anka in the first leg, a speed class, then moved up to third in the jump-off competition that was the second of three classes held over four days.

    Sweden’s Malin Baryard, who trained with John Whitaker, held first place going into Sunday’s two-round finale at the Thomas & Mack Centre, where a total audience of 29,378 attended the show.

    The cheering, knowledgeable crowd had plenty to watch thanks to Conrad Homfeld’s beautiful, precise and technical courses, which demanded a beautifully balanced horse.

    In the final day’s first round, Malin dropped a rail, moving Marcus up to number one. He had only a two-penalty lead over her, however, and just a four-fault edge over his compatriot Lars Nieberg, on Fighting Alpha, and Rodrigo, who had a rail down in the first round with Baloubet Du Rouet.

    In the second round, Malin faulted again, Lars had a rail down and Rodrigo went clear. If Marcus incurreda knockdown on his 12-year-old Oldenberg mare, he would go into a tie with Rodrigo. But he made it through, despite a hairy moment at the third fence, when Anka put her hind legs down and then cleverly yanked them up without doing any harm.

    A thrilled Marcus held the World Cup high, after receiving congratulations from runner-up Rodrigo, and Malin, who was third. “I really can’t believe I am the winner,” he said.

    Disappointment for Britain

    Robert Smith, Britain’s lonerepresentative, had problems in the first leg when Marius Claudius did not like the footing. He had 24sec added to his original time, putting him 37th.

    “The ground moves on top and he frightened himself a little bit,” said Robert, who was one of many competitors who criticised the surface.

    The fact that his horse is only young was part of the difficulty, said Robert, noting that the stallion “lost a bit of confidence. An older, more ‘made’ horse copes with it better”.

    Things went no better in the second leg, where Robert had 16 penalties and moved up to 35th. He jumped in the $50,000 grand prix the next day, but had two fences down and did not make the jump-off.

    Ireland’s Trevor Coyle finished in 22nd place with Fleur 195.

    Click here to read the full results.

    Read the full indepth report in this week’s Horse & Hound (24 April), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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