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IRELAND'S KUERTEN KEEPS THE BELGIANS AT BAY ON THEIR HOME TURF
Ireland's Jessica Kuerten fended off a powerful challenge from the host nation contingent to scoop maximum points in the eighth leg of the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping series at Mechelen in Belgium this afternoon. From a starting field of 38 only four went into the second-round jump-off, and the 41 year old German-based rider snatched victory when second-last to go against the clock riding Lady Georgina Forbes' Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois.
"It was a very special win, and I feel quite emotional" Kuerten said afterwards. "We really wanted to win, we were unbelievably motivated and we had to go very fast to beat Gregory Wathalet. Winning this and the Queen's Cup on Tuesday has made it a fairytale week!" she added. Belgium's Wathalet took runner-up spot with Sea Coast Cortes C while his fellow-countrymen Jos Lansink (Casper Van Spieveld) and Niels Bruynseels (NASA) filled third and fourth places respectively as the home riders put on a great show in front of their own crowd in the packed Nekkerhal Arena.
TESTED THE SKILLS
Kuerten described the track set by course designer Lucien Somers as "big, wide and technically difficult" and it certainly tested the skills of the competitors from 17 different nations who lined out at this popular annual fixture at the Nekkerhal Arena. The triple combination - oxer, vertical, oxer - proved particularly influential. "The distances in the triple were difficult and when the horses arrived at the double (the penultimate obstacle on the 13-fence track) they tended to remember that and sometimes jumped it awkwardly too" the winning rider pointed out.
Finland's Nina Fagerstrom decided to call it a day after a hair-raising ride through the triple with Talent while Great Britain's Ellen Whitaker also retired after double-faulting with Equimax Ocolado. Two competitors - Simon Delestre from France riding Couletto and Germany's Daniel Deusser with AD Untouchable - suffered the intense frustration of completing a clear jumping round only to collect a single time penalty, but they had the compensation of claiming fifth and sixth places respectively while a total of 14 riders left a single fence on the floor in the first round and the fastest of these was Dutchman Albert Zoer who slotted into seventh spot with Sam.
Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2010/2011 Western European League - Standings After Round 8 at Mechelen, Belgium:
1. Kevin Staut FRA - 87
2. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson SWE - 57
3. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum GER - 50
4. Christian Ahlmann GER - 46
5. Billy Twomey IRL - 44
6. Harrie Smolders NED - 41
7. Rodrigo Pessoa BRA - 36
8. Michael Whitaker GBR - 35
9. Carsten-Otto Nagel GER - 33
10. Ludger Beerbaum GER - 31
11. Jessica Kuerten IRL - 30
12. Malin Baryard-Johnsson SWE - 29
12. Sergio Alvarez Moya ESP - 29
14. Gerco Schroder NED - 28
14. Robert Whitaker GBR - 28
16. Lars Nieberg GER - 27
16. Leon Thijssen NED - 27
18. Jos Lansink BEL - 25
19. Philipp Weishaupt GER - 24
19. Simon Delestre FRA - 24
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