Otto Becker wins SJ World Cup

  • 7 May 2002

    Germany dominated the 2002 World Cup SJ final in Leipzig

    Germany’s Otto Becker, 43, achieved his greatest ever individual honour when he triumphed in the final round of the hotly-contested FEI World Cup final on Dobel’s Cento.

    The 13-year-old Holstein stallion by Capitol gave all the right answers in an action-packed finale in Leipzig’s stunning exhibition centre for Otto to claim the indoor show jumpingcrown in front of a crowd of 10,000.

    The course in the opening speed leg was extremely light and very technical. Poland’s Jacek Zagor, 23, an economics student at Poznan University, swept into a winning lead on his 10-year-old Volkswagen Elf.

    Unfortunately, Britain’s challengers lost any realistic chance at this stage. Richard Davenport, 22, who was making his World Cup debut, lowered three fences on Grand Marnier to finish 33rd of the 40 starters.

    Michael Whitaker faulted twice on Handel II, who is short of match-practice, and ended up 27th.

    The top eight riders were faultless. McLain Ward was second on the flamboyant Concorde-sired Viktor. Ludger Beerbaum played safe on his European Championship-winning partner, Gladdys S, for third place.

    Surprises included one fence down for Rodrigo Pessoa and Baloubet Du Rouet and one error from reigning champions Markus Fuchs and Tinka’s Boy.

    Action from day two

    There were only three double clears in the second day’s Audi jump-off leg. Markus Fuchs and Tinka’s Boy jumped with pace and precision to take the lead from second draw, while Otto Becker opted for a steady clear on Dobel’s Cento.

    Ludger Beerbaum put in a peerless performance on Gladdys S, claiming victory by 0.81sec and propelling himself into the overall lead.

    The nine riders who reached the decider did not include Richard Davenport, who faulted twice and collected a time-fault. Handel left the jumps standing, but incurred one time-penalty, which pulled him up to equal 17th overall.

    The final rounds

    At the onset of the final Emirates Airlines two-round leg, Ludger was just ahead of McLain Ward, with Toni Hassman, 26, sharing third place with Otto Becker. All four riders were separated by less than one fence.

    A first-round clear around the truly enormous course put McLain into the lead ahead of Otto and Toni, while Ludger faulted once to drop into fourth. Michael Whitaker withdrew Handel at this stage.

    The USA’s Leslie Howard and Priobert De Kalvariejumped the only double clear.

    Rodrigo Pessoa moved up to third place overall with a four-fault total, before Ludger and Gladdys touched a super-light latticework gate for four faults.

    Toni Hassman’s Mobilcom Goldika, had three down and Otto Becker’s Dobel’s Cento hit the first part of the final double. This put them on a total of seven penalties, one ahead of Ludger.

    Everything rested on the final round from McLain Ward, as Viktor could make one error and still claim the title. The first error came early and then two more poles fell on the final run for home.

    Emphasising the strength of German show jumping, the home side ended up with five riders in the top 11.

    Final result

    1st Otto Becker on Dobel’s Cento
    2nd Ludger Beerbaum on Gladdys S
    3rd Rodrigo Pessoa on Baloubet Du Rouet

    Read the full report in this week’s Horse & Hound (9 May), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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