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Carlerback Clinches Olympic Spot
Malmo, Sweden

Viktoria Carlerback (SWE) won her home country, Sweden's leg of the 2008 FEI World Cup series, which was an important Olympic team trial for Swedish and German riders. Riding her top horse Bally's Geronimo, Carlerback remained in that position after cross-country when the dressage leader, Linda Algotsson (SWE) retired the 18-year-old Stand By Me and Dirk Schrade on Sindy 43 (GER) sped ahead with the only round anywhere near the optimum time.

But in a tight final, show jumping round, Schrade dropped to fourth with two rails down. Carleback had just four faults, keeping her a miniscule 0.4 ahead of German Olympic rider Andreas Dibowski, on a new ride at this level, Butts Leon, and the experienced Polish combination of Pavel Spisak and Weriusz, who finished on the same score as Dibowski (65.4) but were slower across country.

Twenty riders from six nations came before the ground jury, Sandy Phillips (GBR) and Fritz von Blottnitz (GER), whose dressage marking sometimes varied dramatically. They only gave two riders marks in the 40s, Algotsson and Carlerback, and differed by 20 marks on the latter, with Phillips, who remained consistently lower, awarding her 151 compared to the German judge's 172.

Algotsson led on the veteran home-bred Stand By Me, with whom she won the very first FEI World Cup final, at Pau in 2003, plus European silver medals in 1999 and 2003, on a mark of 41.7. Carlerback was on 44.7, and added 16.4 cross-country time penalties.

No one finished inside the optimum time over Per Magnusson's cross-country track, which runs around a small public park alongside which the Baltic sea laps and which played host to the 2005 and '06 FEI World Cup finals.

Army rider Dirk Schrade (GER), vying for a first Olympic team place with the consistently fast Sindy 43, nearly achieved it, finishing with just 0.8 penalties, but he must have gone at quite a speed considering the next fastest, Dibowski, was on 10 penalties.

There were 11 clears, and 16 completions, with a further two horses dropping out before the final show jumping round. Anna Hilton (SWE), who had travelled furthest – all the way from her British base - in order to try and secure her Olympic slot on Mr Dalby, was rewarded by sixth place on 74.9.

Carlerback, 35, is a teacher from Dwajofors. She and Bally's Geronimo, who is owned by her mother, Marie, have been members of the Swedish team for the last three championships and were 12th at Badminton in 2006.

1 Viktoria Carlerback (Bally's Geronimo, SWE) 44.7 + 16 4 + 4 = 60.1
2 Andreas Dibowski (Butts Leon, GER) 55.4 + 10 + 0 = 65.4
3 Pavel Spisak (Weriusz, POL) 51.8 + 13.6 + 0 = 65.4
4 Dirk Schrade (Sindy 43, GER) 58 + 0.8 = 8 = 66.8
5 Peter Thomsen (Ghost of Hamish, GER) 58.4 + 11.6 + 4 = 74
6 Anna Hilton (Mr Dalby, SWE) 56.1 + 14.8 + 4 = 74.9

Carlerback now moves into joint-third place on the FEI World Cup rankings list, with Heelan Tompkins (NZL), Heidi White (USA), Francis Whittington (GBR) and Michael Jung (GER), all on 100 points. Clark Montgomery (USA) still has a commanding lead, on 160, followed by Britain's Oliver Townend, 115.

Next weekend the action moves to Moscow (RUS) and a new venue, Tattersalls (IRL).

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