Touzaint leads French whitewash at the FEI Eventing World Cup
Photos: Lotta Gyllensten/RedBayStock.com
The French had specifically targeted the FEI Eventing World Cup final, in Malmö (SWE) with some of their best riders and horses. Thus they put the disappointments of the World Equestrian Games behind them and gave a jumping lesson to the rest of the world as they clinched first, second and fourth places.
All three riders were clear over a difficult final jumping phase. Jean-Lou Bigot (FRA), riding Derby de Longueval, was the only competitor of the field of 38 to achieve the optimum cross-country time of 7min 5sec and the only one to finish on his dressage score (48.5).
Arnaud Boiteau (FRA) on Expo du Moulin, who was clearly none the worse for his fall in Aachen, rose from 21st after dressage to eventual fourth (59.0) thanks to superb jumping performances.
Andreas Dibowski (GER) interrupted French domination with third place on FRH Little Lemon. He also jumped clear to rise a place, finishing on a score of 53.6.
In a properly international line-up, the USA's Darren Chiacchia was fifth on the stallion Windfall, who dropped two places with two rails down, while Anna Hilton (SWE) was best of the home side in sixth on Mr Dalby – there were four Swedes in the top 12 - and Laurence Hunt was leading British rider in seventh on Pheobus.
Clayton Fredericks's (AUS) title defence ended with a run-out on Nullarbor at fence 14, a brush arrowhead which followed steps up a bank and a drop off, and he eventually wound up in 12th place.
As anticipated, the cross-country proved influential, with 12 riders failing to complete. There were only 13 clear rounds and faults were spread evenly around the course, with fence 5, three narrow white seats on a curving line, causing 10 errors, including for Linda Algotsson (SWE).
Anna Hilton commented: "The cross-country was more difficult than I expected. You really had to ride. It was very technical and I think my horse was a bit gob-smacked by the crowds and the unusual fences. But that's Malmö! I've had a fantastic weekend."
A new format was used for the FEI Eventing World Cup final, with the cross-country and jumping phases run on the same day, split by about three hours' rest and a formal horse inspection. Two horses were withdrawn at this stage: Stand By Me and Karin Donckers' (BEL) Gormley, who had two run-outs and cut himself.
Riders initially wondered how their horses would fare in the final jumping phase, but most looked and jumped well. There were six clear rounds – four of them French.
This week the FEI Eventing Committee will discuss the future of the World Cup: at what time of year is best for a final, in order to attract more of the world's best riders, and which format should be used. Whatever is decided, chairman Wayne Roycroft declared Malmö a brilliant competition which had attracted a record crowd.
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