Monday, November 22, 2010

Jumping: Stuttgart: World Cup: NAGEL AND CORRADINA STORM TO VICTORY IN STUTTGART - by Louise Parkes

CarstenOtto Nagel (GER)riding Corradina winner of the Rolex World Cup Qualifier at Stuttgart. (Tim Wellard Photo)

Stuttgart (GER), 21 November 2010


A superbly-judged round against the clock secured victory in the fifth leg of the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping series today for Carsten-Otto Nagel.  Riding the lovely grey mare Corradina, the
48 year old rider from Hamburg set the pace in this afternoon's 13-horse jump-off and none of the rest could match his speed despite their very best efforts.  The biggest threat came from defending Rolex FEI World Cup™ champion, fellow-German Marcus Ehning who had to settle for runner-up spot with Noltes Kuchengirl while Ireland's Billy Twomey finished third with Tinka's Serenade.
2nd place is Marcus Ehning (GER) riding Noltes Kuchengirl. Tim Welland Photo

This latest result brings Germany's impressive early-season tally to four wins from the opening five qualifying legs of the Western European League series which will conclude with the world final on their home turf in Leipzig next April. And Nagel has now moved into sixth place on the leaderboard which continues to be headed by World No. 1 Kevin Staut from France and which includes three Germans amongst the top six to date. 

Italian course designer, Uliano Vezzani, created a track that demanded big jumping, but the quality of the line-up ensured a strong entry into the second-round race against the clock.  Germany's three-time Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping champion Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Checkmate) was one of five who opted to retire over the first course and the field was further reduced by the elimination of Rene Lopez.  The Colombian finished two places behind winner Michaels-Beerbaum at the third leg of the series in Lyon, France three weeks ago.  Today however his round unravelled down the line from the triple bar at fence eight through the triple combination that followed when his nine year old mare was a long way off the first element of the treble, bravely managing to cope the with oxer second-element but simply unable find a stride to the final vertical.  She shot her rider out of the saddle and onto his feet as she scrambled through a pile of poles, but Lopez was well aware that the mistake was his and patted her reassuringly as he left the arena.

With 13 clears it was always going to be a great gallop against the clock but Vezzani's clever jump-off track would test turning-capability as much as speed.

Spain's Sergio Alvarez Moya and his handsome 10 year old Heartbreaker stallion Action-Breaker set the standard in the timed round with a confident fault-free effort in 39.32 seconds but that was always going to be improved upon.  Second in, Sweden's Peder Fredricson and H&M Aurora Borealis hit the second fence, a vertical which would prove highly influential in the final analysis as riders needed to take the shortest route from the opening wall.  The Netherlands' Marc Houtzager and HBC Tamino mastered this curving line to re-set the target in 35.58 seconds and that was the time that Nagel was chasing when fourth into the ring. 

Corradina made it all look very elementary as she smoothly weaved her way round the course to shave more than a half-second off that and left the rest chasing her time of 35.00 seconds, but to no avail.  Norway's Nina Braaten produced a careful clear from the ever-improving Blue Loyd in 41.57 seconds and after Frenchman Patrice Deleveau left one on the floor with Katchina Mail then Thomas Muhlbauer looked competitive with Asti Spumante but was only fractionally faster than Houtzager.   Britain's Michael Whitaker has found an exciting new ride in the aptly-named Little Lady, whose diminutive stature is contrasted by a long stride and a powerful jump.  The nine year old mare produced a great first round and came back to fly around the jump-off track but with the clock showing 35.76 seconds, Nagel's lead remained well secured.  However Ehning's next-to-go effort was threatening indeed, Noltes Kuchengirl giving it her all as the twisted and turned her way around the course to break the beam just 0.10 behind the target time and firmly slot into runner-up spot. 

And that was where they stayed when Noblesse M hit the second-last for Switzerland's Pius Schwizer who survived an inexplicable and heart-stopping clamber over the opening wall.  The only remaining serious challengers were Billy Twomey with his great mare Tinka's Serenade who looked well in touch after jumping the penultimate Rolex oxer but who lost a little time when the Irishman steadied for the last to clear the line in 35.38 seconds.  This was plenty good enough for third place when Switzerland's Steve Guerdat (Jalisca Solier) and Sweden's Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (Casall La Silla) both hit the first element of the Rolex double half-way round the course.
3rd place is Billy Twomey (IRL) riding Tinka's Serenade. Tim Welland Photo

"I didn't expect to win!" Nagel insisted afterwards.   "I knew I needed to go fast, but I thought I'd finish maybe third or fourth - in the end the result was very close" he pointed out.  

Nagel said he knows how lucky he is to have such a great mare as Corradina.  "She always gives me 100% over every course, she is super-brave but I'm a bit surprised with how well she's going indoors this season - normally she's much better outside than inside.  Here at Stuttgart the arena is very big though, and this suits her" he explained.

He said this year has worked out very well for Corradina and himself.  "She didn't do too much during the summer because I was always thinking about keeping her right for Kentucky (Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™) and since she came home from there she hasn't done a lot.  She did two small classes at Verona and then came here, she's in great shape and back in good form.  Now I'm thinking I will do a bit more with her over the next few weeks and hopefully will rest her again early in the new year - by then I hope I will be qualified for the final in Leipzig!" said the rider who, over the last 18 months, has collected individual silver and team bronze medals from last summer's Alltech FEI European Championships™ in Windsor and team gold at this summer's Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ with this fine mare.  "She's a bit special!" he added.
 Germany's Carsten-Otto Nagel and Corradina, winners of today's fifth leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ series at Stuttgart, Germany, were presented with a Rolex watch by Magali Dubois Vaucher of Rolex.  Photo: Tim Welland.

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