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Russia and Australia enter the World Cup rankings
Lausanne, Switzerland

FEI World Cup Eventing qualifiers took place on both hemispheres at the weekend, in the city centre of Moscow (RUS), with 18 starters, and in Melbourne (AUS) with 12 starters.

Andrey Korshunov (RUS) repeated his victory in the Moscow (RUS) FEI World Cup qualifier, again riding Fabiy. However, victory was only assured at the last moment when the cross-country leader, Viachaslau Poita (BLR) accrued 20 jumping penalties to drop to second.

Poita, from Belarus, who is based in England for training, with Angela Tucker (GBR) an FEI Judge, was only 12th after the dressage phase, but produced the only cross-country round with time penalties in single figures (5.6) to take the lead after that phase.

Korshunov is assistant director of a centre for young riders and, appropriately, his son Alexei was competing in the concurrently running CCI** in which he finished ninth. He is hoping to qualify for the European Championships this September.

Elena Melnik (RUS) led the dressage on Colombo with a mark of 42.8 but slipped to sixth with a cross-country stop.

There were eight clear cross-country rounds from the 14 starters in the phase over a course designed by Ronald Alexander (GBR). The event takes place in the city centre, at an Olympic training centre for many sports owned by Moscow City.

FEI Technical Delegate Andy Griffiths (GBR), who is also FEI development officer for Eastern Europe, commented: "I was very impressed with the work that had been done on the course in the last 12 months. Every year we get more and more competitors, who are beginning to participate more in rider meetings. It all looked very professional and was a good, technical course which should prepare riders well for competitions in the rest of Europe."

Riders and officials organised a surprise birthday party for Andy with fireworks; at midnight he was kissed by a line of 51 girls and presents included a pig and a goat!

Meanwhile, "down under", Queensland rider Natalie Siiankoski (AUS) was the only rider to finish on her dressage score (55), rising from sixth place after dressage to second after cross-country on Kolora Stud Archie at Melbourne, Australia's first of two qualifiers.

She then show jumped clear, swapping places with the overnight leader Kevin McNab a fellow Queenslander, on Hufflepuff, who had two rails down.

Olympic rider Olivia Bunn (AUS) led the dressage on GV Bullwinkle, but clocked 20 time penalties across country. Eight riders completed the cross-country.

Andrey Korshunov and Natalie Siiankoski both move into joint sixth place in the FEI World Cup Rankings on 100 points each. Oliver Townend (GBR) on 176 points holds a 38-point lead over Jonathan Holling (USA). Nicolas Touzaint (FRA), the reigning FEI World Cup Eventing Champion, is on 132, ahead of Mary King (GBR) on 118 and Peter Thomsen (GER) on 105.

With 11 of 19 qualifiers competed, the action stays in Eastern Europe, at Strezgom (POL) on June 28-July 1.

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