In Prague tonight, a very challenging course was laid out where the lowest hurdle, number one, was 1.57 metres. Not a single team has managed to keep the score completely zero. Falkenswaard United came closest with a total of four penalty points. The “Madrid in Motion” team came second, ahead of the Miami Celtics, who finished third.
Today the wheat will be separated from the chaff because with a maximum height of 1.65m and thirteen obstacles with 16 jumps, only the outstanding teams will remain. For the best team there was a bonus of €150,000, for the second and third numbers 140,000 and for the fourth number 130,000 euros.
Nina Mallevay and Cartier SR (by Canturenter) didn’t get off to a great start with hurdles one and two in the sand. Then another mistake followed in the white sharp jump and the team had already received 12 penalty points after the first rider. It is therefore important that veteran Beth Underhill add as few penalty points as possible with Nyka van de Biskop (S Emerul Knopp) to maintain a slim chance of reaching the final. Underhill bowled fewer balls than she had hoped and finished with four penalties. With 16 team penalty points, Shane Brain knew with the Z7 Ipswich (by Carembar de Muze) that he had to ride a clear ride. This opportunity was very much there as Z7 Ipswich was the horse with the most visible runs all season. But Prague looked one competition too much for the 14-year-old as all three poles jumped down suggesting the tube was empty and the semi-finals were the final destination for the Roma gladiator.
Jur Vrieling and Fiumicino van de Kalevalei (by Plot Blue) had a great season with results and rankings almost as good. Unfortunately for Vrieling and his team, it wasn’t their night and three posts fell to the floor, bringing Vrieling’s score to twelve. With eight penalty points for Linda Head with Lorient van Orshov (vH&M Cabrio van de Heffinck) and twelve penalty points for Sara Vingralkova with Kas-Sini DC (by San Patrigano Cassini), this competition also ended for the Hamburg Giants. There are 32 penalty points more than required to reach the final.
Marcus Enning with Priam du Roset (by Plot Blue) showed how it should be done and rode a great clear ride that was a feast for the eyes. Andre Thieme did the same with the great DSP mare Chakaria (young 47) and John Whitaker added just four points from the penalty spot with Equine America Unick du Francport (s.Zandor), so that the team not only took the lead in the competition but as was almost certain To qualify for the Grand Final on Sunday.
Pirates of Saint Tropez
Another team that was among the favorites were Saint Tropez Pirates with Daniel Dusser and Killer Queen VDM (by Eldorado van Zyschock), Olivier Robert with Fangogues du Mas Garnier (by Cornet Obolenski) and Quel homme de Hous (by Quedam de Revel). by Jerome Jerry. It was not Deusser and Guery’s fault as they scored zero and four respectively, but Olivier Robert put the team up for loss by making four jump errors, which brought the team’s total to 20 and it was feared that it would not be enough to be among the top six.
Bertram Allen opened acceptably with Pacino Amero (by Pacino) by limiting the score to a foul and Michael J Duffy of Klitschko 17 (by Christian 25) made sure nothing was added to the score. If Eduard Schmitz can repeat that with Gamin van ‘t Bijveldhof (by Chacco Blue), that means a place in the final. But the Swiss did not succeed, and with his eight penalty points brought the team’s total to 12. There is still a chance, but a little less.
Sultans of Istanbul
Yesterday, the Sultans put in an amazing and amazing performance to finish third and easily qualify for today’s semi-finals. Will they succeed again today? Unfortunately the answer is no. Gerrit Nieberg got two jumping errors with Blues d’Aveline CH (by Baloussini), as did Sanne Thijssen with Hi There (by Nebab de Reve). Omer Karaevli added 19 points with Morris (by Thunder van de Zuuthoeve), bringing the total to a hopeless 35 penalty points.
Madrid in motion
Maikel van der Vleuten did not participate today either, as a sign that he and team coach Erik van der Vleuten were fully confident that the team would also be able to qualify for the final without Maikel. A gamble, but if it works out, Michael will be riding on Sunday with one of the best horses ever. Confidence in the rest of the team turned out to be justified because with clear runs from Angelica Augustsson Zanotelli with Kalinka van de Nachtegaele (s.pleaser van ‘t Heike) and Eduardo Álvarez Aznar with Bentley de Sory (Sandai de Riverland) and the eight penalty points from Jack Whitaker With Q Paravatti N (by Quality Time TN) the chance of qualifying for the final was very good.
Yesterday’s sovereign stake winners were among the main contenders for a place in today’s final. With Gregory Whatelet with Nevados S (by Calvados Z), Harrie Smolders with Dolinn (by Cardento 933) and Ben Maher with Faltic HB (by Baltic VDL), this is a great team with all of them good for dozens of GP wins all over the world. But nothing is certain in show jumping, because Whatelet’s twelve penalty points are not taken into account. The fact that Smulders and Maher also got fouls means that yesterday’s winners are today’s losers.
Now it’s the turn of the four best teams from the GCL competition. They didn’t participate yesterday because they immediately qualified for this semi-final as a reward for their seasonal performance. Christian Uhlmann had a good run with his Dominator 2000 Z (s.Diamant de Semilly), but two beams fell within sight of the port, hence eight penalty points. Max Conner kept all hope alive with his Elektric Blue P (s.Eldorado van Zeshoek) by riding a pure round and with the four penalty points from Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei (s.Baltic VDL) it was so, even if it was it would be pressure ahead of them for the rest of the match.
Peter DeVos steered Nascar van ‘t Siamshof (by Emilion) with just one mistake through the grueling course. Anna Kilnerova also rode a very good ride in front of her home crowd with Catch Me If You Can (by Catoki) with only four penalty points, but the eight penalty points from Niels Bruynseels and Delux van T & L (by Toulon) made her very exciting again and with this score, It will be a lot of pressure on whether or not they survive the cut.
Peder Fredriksson and the brothers Olivier and Nikola Philiberts certainly imagined a very different game than it ultimately was. All three of them came out with eight bars of spoon, causing a shocking elimination for a team that topped the league table all season and was relegated to second place only by the Berlin Eagles on the final day of the competition.
The last team to start was the 2022 Championship Team of the Year. Star formation with Ludger Bierbaum, Philip Weishaupt and Ewen McMahon. Beerbaum started well for Mila (by Monte Berlini) by limiting damage for a jumping miss. Where when McMahon and Weishaupt should have stood up, they did the opposite, and they both jumped on two beams. The moment Weishaupt got the second foul, he knew that time would be a critical factor and reacted immediately by dramatically increasing his speed. It was precisely this German action that ensured the Berlin Eagles qualified for Sunday’s final as the sixth team. The gap with Harrie Smolders’ Paris Panthers was only 0.41 seconds, but it meant the difference between going to the final and not being that.