Herning, Denmark – August 10, 2022 – The reigning Olympic champions from Sweden lived up to expectations when taking the early lead on the exciting first day of the 2022 Agria FEI World Jumping Championship, presented by Helgstrand at the ECCO FEI World Championships in Herning, Denmark today.
Julien Epaillard’s (FRA) performance proved critical for France when their anchor partnership of Kevin Staut (FRA) and Scuderia 1918 Viking d’La Rousserie parted company at the second element of the rustic double at fence five on the 14-obstacle track. Such was the solidity of their team effort however, with more great rides from both Simon Delestre (FRA) partnering the fizzy Cayman Jolly Jumper and Gregory Cottard (FRA) and the ever-reliable Bibici, that they lie just 1.75 points behind the Swedes and fractionally ahead of Team Belgium in third place.
After today’s results were converted into points, just over four points separate the top six teams – Sweden, France, Belgium, Great Britain, Switzerland and Germany in that order. And just over six points separate the top 10 nations, with Brazil lying seventh, The Netherlands in eighth, USA in ninth and Italy in tenth place.
Jens Fredricson (SWE) and Markan Cosmopolit were first out for Sweden, posting a clear round in just over 84 seconds. The pair were 25th of the 103 starters from 34 nations to take on the 14-fence track set by The Netherlands’ Louis Konickx (NED) that included three doubles, the last of which proved one of the bogeys of the day as many horses clipped the first-element triple-bar when just three fences from home.
The second Swedish pair of Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) and H&M Indiana were one of the victims at this one, having already put a foot in the water two fences earlier. But fellow Tokyo gold medallists Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) with King Edward and Peder Fredricson (SWE) with H&M All In both flew around the track, Fredricson slotting into fourth and von Eckermann into fifth individually to give their country a marginal lead going into tomorrow’s next round.
It was a great opening run from Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and the always-speedy Katanga vh Dingeshof that set the Belgians up for the day. And when Jos Verlooy (BEL) and Igor, Jérôme Guery (BEL) with Quel Homme de Hus and Gregory Wathelet (BEL) with Nevados S each gave a good account of themselves they secured that third-place advantage over Britain’s Maher (GBR), Joseph Stockdale (GBR) with Equine America Cacharel, Harry Charles (GBR) and Romeo and Scott Brash (GBR) with Hello Jefferson.
Tour of the track
Fifth-placed Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) reckoned he lost a half-second between the second and third fences on his tour of the track today, and he’s ambitious for King Edward this week. This is the horse that never touched a pole on the road to that team gold medal in Tokyo last summer.
“He’s the whole package, he’s so clever, he’s careful and so brave and such a sweet horse. I’m more used to the feisty mares but he’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse!”, he said today.
But there’s a long way to go before the team medals are presented on Friday night. As the Julien Epaillard (SWE) wisely pointed out,”this is only the beginning, the most difficult part is still to come…..”.
Final Results – FEI World Team Jumping Championship – First Competition
1) Sweden – 3.69
2) France – 5.44
3) Belgium – 5.49
Source: Press Release by Louise Parkes for FEI – Fédération Equestre Internationale
Photo: © FEI / Leanjo de Koster