Ingrid Klimke (GER) rode brilliantly to produce a clear round under huge pressure to win her home CCI4* at Luhmühlen (GER), presented by DHL, for the first time and set up an unassailable lead in the FEI Classics™ 2014/2015.
In a thrilling finale, her flawless round on the spring-heeled 11-year-old Hannoverian mare FRH Escada JS denied New Zealander Jonelle Price her first CCI4* victory by just one-tenth of a penalty.
Klimke’s trainer, Kurt Gravemeier, had promised that he would come and help her on the final day if she was in the top three. “So I said to him, fill your car up with gas and come here!” said a smiling Klimke.
“We have trained together for so long and when he said to me: ‘You must go for it!’ I was full of confidence. I’m really thrilled with my fantastic horse. She felt so full of herself today.”
When Klimke entered the arena, she could not even afford a single time fault because Price, on her exciting Olympic prospect, the 10-year-old Dressage-bred Faerie Dianimo (by Keystone Dimaggio out of a Catherston Dazzler mare), had ridden a perfect round.
So, too, had Michael Jung (GER) and his wise 15-year-old gelding, La Biosthetique Sam FBW, third, Christopher Burton (AUS) on the rising star Graf Liberty, fourth, and Sir Mark Todd (NZL) with NZB Campino, fifth, which meant that, unusually for this level, there was no change to the top five after Cross Country.
Heiko Wahler’s Jumping course invited forward riding, but there was a tricky treble combination and the time was tight – 12 of the 25 finishers had time faults. Nicky Roncoroni (GBR), lying 17th on Stonedge, was the first to produce a completely penalty-free round and this elevated her to 12th place.
The young New Zealander Jesse Campbell, sixth after Cross Country on Kaapachino, had an unfortunate 21-penalty round which dropped him to 16th place and allowed the American combination of Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen to rise a place to sixth with their clear.
World team bronze medallist Tim Lips (NED) is well known for his prowess in the Jumping ring and a clear on Bayro lifted him five places to seventh. World team gold medallists Dirk Schrade and the aptly named Hop and Skip also rose five places with a fault-free round, to eighth.
Looking towards the FEI Classics™ 2014/2015 finale at Burghley (GBR) in September, Klimke is out in front but her peers, such as second-placed Michael Jung, who has now overtaken four-times series winner William Fox-Pitt, Christopher Burton, Mark Todd and Tim and Jonelle Price, will be in fierce and fascinating competition for the other cash prizes.
1 Ingrid Klimke/FRH Escada JS (GER) 32.7 + 0 + 0 = 32.7
2 Jonelle Price/Faerie Dianimo (NZL) 32.8 + 0 + 0 = 32.8
3 Michael Jung/La Biosthetique Sam FBW (GER) 34.2 + 0 + 0 = 34.2
4 Christopher Burton/Graf Liberty (AUS) 36.4 + 0 + 0 = 36.4
5 Sir Mark Todd/NZB Campino (NZL) 36.5 + 0 + 0 = 36.5
6 Clark Montgomery/Loughan Glen (USA) 37.1 + 0.4 + 0 = 37.5
7 Tim Lips/Bayro (NED) 40.8 + 2.4 + 0 = 43.2
8 Dirk Schrade/Hop and Skip (GER) 44.4 + 0 + 0 = 44.4
9 Niklas Bschorer/Tom Tom Go 3 (GER) 40.7 + 0 + 4 = 44.7
10 Rebecca Howard/Riddle Master (CAN) 42.5 + 0 + 5 = 47.5