Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Driving: FEI: Pairs Driving Championship: Twenty-four nations represented at 15th FEI World Pairs Driving Championships in Conty

Reigning World Champion Harrie Verstappen (NED) will defend his gold medal in Conty. Image: Rinaldo de Craen/FEI
The Driving world will gather in the Picardie region in France this week (24-28 August), when the Ateliers du Val de Selle will host the 15th FEI World Pairs Driving Championship in Conty. Sixty-nine competitors from 24 nations, will battle against each other for the individual and team medals, with 18 nations fielding teams and six countries sending individuals.

Amongst the competitors is reigning World Champion Harrie Verstappen (NED), who will not only defend his individual gold medal, but also help defend the Dutch team title, won at the 2009 FEI World Pair Driving Championship in Kecskemét (HUN). The 2009 silver medallist Beat Schenk (SUI) is one of the many medal favourites, as well as Vilmos Lazar (HUN), who has just recovered from several broken ribs.

The youngest competitor in Conty is the 15-year-old Anna Sandmann (GER), daughter of successful international four-in-hand driver Christoph Sandmann, who will act as her navigator in the marathon. Anna is competing as an individual.

The course design in Conty is in the capable hands of Barry Hunter (GBR), who is making his World Championship debut. Barry has been an international course designer since 2004 and has worked in the UK and the USA, including Lowther, Sandringham, Royal Windsor, Erddig, British National Championships, Live Oak, Sunshine State and Katydid events.

The Ground Jury is chaired by Dr Klaus Christ (GER) and the members are Anne-Marie Turbe (FRA), Bert Jambon (BEL), Hanspeter Rüschlin (SUI) and Diana Brownlie (GBR).

Conty has a long history in equestrian events, including the FEI World Single Driving Championship in 2002 and the international combined driving event (CAI) that takes place in Conty every year.

The high-level sporting centre in Conty is managed by the Ateliers du Val de Selle, an establishment that helps and supports handicapped adults and is cherished by its founder Allain Houard, who is an international course designer himself. The World Championship also holds a festivity programme including circus acts and equestrian shows, other competitions such as national farriery contests, a draft horse competition and an international friendly driving event for disabled people.


Thursday 25 August: dressage (first part)

Friday 26 August: dressage (second part)

Saturday 27 August: marathon

Sunday 28 August: obstacle driving competition and medal ceremony

Website: http://www.avscompetition.com/


Clarke Johnstone (NZL) on Orient Express seals victory in FEI World Cup™ Eventing 2011. Photo: PSV J. Morel.

Clarke Johnstone (NZL) was celebrating with a large bottle of champagne, part of his spoils from Haras du Pin (FRA), where he finally sealed victory in the FEI World Cup™ Eventing 2011.

 “I’ve just flown five horses from New Zealand to England, so I’m not really in credit at the moment!” joked Johnstone. “But this is a very satisfying result and I’m going to enjoy it.”

Johnstone is perennially successful in FEI World Cup™ Eventing - he finished fifth overall last year - but this time the 24-year-old World team bronze medallist set an unmatchable target right from the start of the season. He scored a win and a third place in his native New Zealand, at Kihikihi, and when he also triumphed in the next event in the series, at Sydney (AUS), the dye was cast.

For good measure, Johnstone completed Haras du Pin (FRA), the seventh and final event in the 2011 series, in sixth place on Kihikihi winner Orient Express, but his overall series victory was assured even before the competition started at the French venue.

Another of the younger riders, Christopher Burton (AUS), tracked Johnstone all the way, only finishing four points shy to take second place in the series.

Burton put up a magnificent fight. Having slotted into second at Kihkihi (NZL) and second and fifth at Sydney (AUS); riding the same two horses, Newsprint and Holstein Park Leilani, he then finished second and third at Haras du Pin to close the gap. But even if he had won the series climax, he would still have been an agonising one point in arrears behind Johnstone.

At the culmination of seven fiercely contested CIC3*s in seven countries, Belarusian rider Aliaksandr Faminou has made history as the highest placed rider from Eastern Europe in the history of the FEI World Cup™ Eventing. His brilliant achievement of three placings at Minsk (BLR) proved highly profitable, leaving him third in this year’s series.

Southern hemisphere riders filled seven out of the top 10 places at Haras du Pin (FRA), site of a French national stud and one of the most attractive venues in the calendar. In a tight finish, Clayton Fredericks (AUS), twice an FEI World Cup™ Eventing champion, riding Dunges Laurent Rose, won by less than one penalty ahead of Burton on Newsprint.

Fredericks had led after Cross Country on his other horse, the German-bred mare Be My Guest, but an expensive 16 Jumping faults dropped the partnership to fourth behind Burton’s Holstein Park Leilani.

After a relatively trouble-free Cross Country phase, the Jumping proved hugely influential - there was only one clear round from the 34 riders to complete the competition.

International FEI World Cup™ Eventing

“The efforts of New Zealand and Australia to gain points in Europe this year have really  paid off, with Clarke Johnstone, Christopher Burton, Shane Rose and Clayton Fredericks all in the top six,” said Catrin Norinder, Director of Eventing & Olympic at the FEI.

“The fact that eight nations made it into the top ten of this year’s FEI World Cup Eventing is also testament to how widely this trophy is contested globally.

“Riders from 15 countries competed on the series this year and this has really captured the imaginations of Eventing fans around the world, who have followed the series right through to its culmination in Haras du Pin.”

About the winner

Clarke Johnstone (NZL), 24, is from New Zealand’s South Island where his parents farm sheep and cattle. He started riding at the age of 12 and after graduating from Otago University, he spent three years based near Hamilton, North Island. He has now travelled to Gloucestershire, England, with five horses and the aim of competing at next year’s London Olympic Games.

He was long-listed for the 2008 Olympics with Oakley Vision, a horse he started riding when he was only 14, and made his team debut last year with Orient Express, a horse produced by 2000 Olympian Paul O’Brien (NZL), winning a team bronze medal at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2010 in Kentucky (USA).

He now heads to Burghley CCI4* (GBR) with Incognito and Taupo CCI3* winner Kolora Stud Secrets and to Blenheim CCI3* (GBR) with Orient Express.

FEI World Cup™ Eventing Standings (after 7 of 7 events)

1 Clarke Johnstone (NZL) 118
2 Christopher Burton (AUS) 114
3 Aliaksandr Faminou (BLR) 92
4 Michael Jung (GER) 79
5 Shane Rose (AUS) 70
6 Clayton Fredericks (AUS) 77
7 Yoshiaki Oiwa (JPN) 68
8 Mykhailo Nastenko (RUS) 64
9 Lucy Wiegersma (GBR) 62
10 Peter Thomsen (GER) 56

For full standings, please click here.

FEI World Cup™ Eventing Prize-Money

1 Clarke Johnstone (NZL) €15,000
2 Chris Burton (AUS) €9,000
3 Aliaksandr Faminou (BLR) €4,000

*The total prize money for FEI World Cup™ Eventing 2011 is €28,000. This year there were seven legs in the series, with each leg contributing €4,000. 

Results from Haras du Pin

1 Clayton Fredericks/Dunges Laurent Rose (AUS) 43.5 + 3.2 + 4 = 50.7
2 Christopher Burton/Newsprint (AUS) 43.5 + 0 + 8 = 51.5
3 Christopher Burton/Holstein Park Leilani 50.6 + 0 + 8 = 58.6
4 Clayton Fredericks/Be My Guest (AUS) 43.3 + 0 + 16 = 59.3
5 Alix de Herce/Minx du Mane Roz (FRA) 52.6 + 3.6 + 4 = 60.2
6 Clarke Johnstone/Orient Express (NZL) 48.9 + 0 + 12 = 60.9
7 Cedric Lyard/Narcos de Soulac (FRA) 49.1 + 4 + 8 = 61.1
8 Mark Todd/NZB Campino (NZL) 43.7 + 10 + 8 = 61.7
9 Regis Prud Hon/Debiut (FRA) 52.2 + 5.6 + 4 = 61.8
10 Paul Tapner/Kilfinnie ll (AUS) 45.6 + 0 + 17 = 62.6
11 Eddy Sans/Kramique (FRA) 45.0 + 9.2 + 12 = 66.2

Full results on www.legrandcomplet.com