Switzerland’s chances in the Intesa Sanpaolo Nations Cup at CSIO Rome Piazza di Siena were dashed by elimination for Martin Fuchs and his horse, The Sinner. This Saturday, the 11-year-old gelding redeemed himself in style when winning the thrilling Loro Piana Six-Bar when he was the only horse to clear the 2-metre final fence in the fifth round.
“He is quite a new horse for me, I don’t know him that well yet. Yesterday it was definitely not our day, there was a misunderstanding in the Nations Cup. He was very good until that point, he felt like he was going to jump a clear round, but then he didn’t really understand what I was asking him. So I’m happy that today we worked better together”, said the World No 5 rider who claimed individual silver at last year’s World Equestrian Games.
The starting field of 15 horse-and-rider combinations was reduced to just four by the last jump-off, and although Italy’s Natale Chiaudani and his fiery grey, Belly Dancer, had made it look easy in the previous rounds, they couldn’t quite find their rhythm this time out and the final massive upright fell for four faults.
Fuchs was next to go, and The Sinner was perfect right to the last. He cleared it with his front legs but his hind feet tapped the top pole and it jumped into the air. However it dropped right back into the cups, so the excited crowd roared with approval as the Swiss pair cantered through the finish with a zero score. And when the last fence fell for Edoardo Tommaso Fochi and Qaro Dan, and then Andrea Venturini’s Deauvil hit the second-last before refusing at the last, it was to be a Swiss victory for sure.
Fuchs was delighted with The Sinner’s performance. “He has jumped a lot of rounds today, many verticals, and he only had one rub in the last round so I guess that’s pretty fair. He’s a great horse, super careful, all the scope, not the best rideability but when I get to know him a bit better I think we can be a good couple!” he said.
He was actually quite confident that the horse would do well in this competition. “The Sinner has jumped a few Six-Bars and won them with his former rider Denis Lynch from Ireland. I also had Denis on the phone yesterday, and he told me you have to do the Six-Bar – he jumps 2 metres every day easy, so I believed him and he did!”, Fuchs aded.
He’s only had the horse for five months “and for three of those I was in Wellington (USA) and my dad was taking care of him. So he almost knows him better than I do!” Fuchs explained.
He won’t be competing in tomorrow’s €400,000 Rolex Grand Prix. “The Sinner was my option for that, but since yesterday we didn’t have a great round I chose to not compete tomorrow. Obviously I’m very sad about that, but it just makes sense with this horse to give him a bit more time and to be stronger for next year”, he pointed out.
He was mobbed by fans looking for selfies and autographs after the prizegiving tonight. “Here in Rome they really like the Six-Bar competition, Loro Piana have sponsored it for many years. It’s kind of a tradition, so obviously that’s really nice for me to be here in Piazza di Siena and to win it. This is an amazing show, it’s my first time here and it’s great to go home with a win!” Fuchs concluded. Ph. Simone Ferraro – CONI
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Farrington flies to victory for America in Loro Piana Small Grand Prix
For the first time this week, the American national anthem rang out across the green oval at CSIO Rome Piazza di Siena this afternoon when Kent Farrington (38) posted an emphatic victory in the Loro Piana Small Grand Prix.
Riding the formidable 13-year-old mare, Gazelle, the man who took team silver and individual fifth place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games set the pace in the five-horse jump-off against the clock, and he couldn’t be caught.
Farrington is currently lying eighth as he works his way back up the world rankings after an injury break last year. He suffered a compound fracture of a leg in a fall in Wellington, Florida (USA) in February 2018, but he was back riding and competing 11 weeks later. “The recovery was very fast. I trained really hard, I was super-eager to get back, and now the goal is to try to get back to No. 1 (in the rankings) and to have the horses all in the best form for the biggest classes”, he said today.
Course designer, Uliano Vezzani, set them a tough first-round track, with questions that only five of the 59 starters managed to solve. When Farrington threw down a jump-off target time of 40.70 he could only sit back and wait to see if it was quick enough.
“With the calibre of riders that are here, you are never safe to know you have won the class until its finished because they’re all top riders, and they’re all capable of winning. But I was happy when the class was over and we were still on top!” he said afterwards.
Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs and Silver Shine hit the vertical after the turn-back to fence eight, but it was the Loro Piana planks, two fences later, that put paid to the chances of Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Jasmien VD Bisschop. Italy’s Paolo Adorno however left all the poles in place with another lovely round from his nine-year-old gelding Fer ZG, a horse that was twice Italian National Champion as a six and seven-year-old. They crossed the line in 45.19 seconds but when new young Swiss star, 27-year-old Yannick Jorand who has been seriously impressive all week, was foot-perfect with Cipetto in 44.9 then the Italian rider had to settle for third place behind him.
Adorno was still truly delighted. “Mama mia, what an immense joy! This is a great boys race, and I’m even on the podium! In the jump-off I knew it was necessary to go very fast to win but I was afraid of running into a mistake. Fer is only nine years old, has a huge heart and lots of courage – I’m so happy!”, he said.
Talking about his winning horse, Gazelle, Farrington said, “she’s very fast and very careful, so high-speed riding is sort of her forte. I was trying to leave a bit in the tank because we still have the Grand Prix tomorrow. Hopefully we can hold form” he added.
He’s enjoying his latest visit to the Eternal City. “Rome has always been one of the most beautiful shows that we have on our calendar, and Rolex has really taken it to the next level. They’ve made the arena grass again and it’s fantastic, I love riding on grass and I think the horses really appreciate it, and there’s no better setting than here with an amazing crowd and so much history!”, he said.
He’ll be hoping to become part of that history when the €400,000 Rolex Grand Prix gets underway today at 12.15 local time.