Michael Whitaker finished sixth in the FEI World Cup Final in Kuala Lumpur this weekend. Whitaker and Insul Tech Portofino produced a stunning double clear in the final leg of the competition to climb up the order from 12th place.
But the trophy went to Germany’s Marcus Ehning – for the second time. In the final stage of the Championships, Ehning held onto pole position to win with the stallion Sandro Boy. Jessica Kurten from Ireland finished just one pen behind with Castle Forbes Libertina. Third place went to Beat Mandli from Switzerland with Italy’s Juan Carlos Garcia in fourth.
In the end the 2005/6 FEI World Cup Jumping series closed with an exciting battle between two of the best jumping horses on the circuit. “He’s an unbelievable horse” Ehning said of Sandro Boy. “It doesn’t matter to him where he finds himself – how short he is to a fence, how long he is or how big the fence is, he just jumps it and the feeling is unbelievable”.
But Kuerten and Castle Forbes Libertina put up an impressive fight. The pair jumped a breathtaking clear in the final round but a slower time in the first leg of the competition cost them the trophy. “I never felt in any danger,” Kuerten said afterwards, “I was worried in the first round that Libertina would take charge but she jumped sensationally – she just wants to do everything right.”
Course designer Frank Rothenberger’s bold third-round track caught out a large number of contestants – with imposing planks and oxers 1.7 metres wide. Reigning champion Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Checkmate hit the front rail of the oxer at fence four in the third round, dropping them down the order to fifth place. Robert Smith did not compete in the final stages of the competition, after Kalusha knocked an uncharacteristic four fences in the second round, encouraging an anxious Smith to withdraw him.
1, Marcus Ehning (Sandro Boy) Ger
2. Jessica Kuerten (Castle Forbes Libertina) Irl
3. Beat Mandli (Ideo du Thot) Sui
4. Juan Carlos Garcia (Loro Piana Albin) Ita
5. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Checkmate) Ger
6. Michael Whitaker (Insul Tech Portofino) GBR
7. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (MacKinley) Swe
8. Pia-Luise Aufrecht (Hofgut Liederbach’s Abrisca) Ger
9. Gerco Schroder (Eurocommerce Milano) Ned
10. Heinrich Hermann Engemann (Aboyeur) Ger
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