Extraordinary Auffarth leads Germany to dual gold

GERMANY’S Sandra Auffarth has been crowned Eventing World Champion, her big jumping chestnut Opgun Louvo leaving every show jump intact in a packed and atmospheric d’Ornano Stadium. 

Extraordinary Auffarth leads Germany to dual gold
© PSV Photos

“I never dreamed that we could be double World Champions,” said Auffarth in reference to the fact that her performance also helped Germany to win team gold. “This is amazing and unbelieveable.”

When William Fox-Pitt’s stallion Chilli Morning took out the blue and white oxer at fence 2, the cross-country leader handed victory to the cool and classy German who has been threatening to take a major title since she first jumped to prominence when winning individual silver at the 2011 European Championships.

“It’s frustrating to have a fence down. I’m lucky that Chilli didn’t have two,” said Fox-Pitt.

The German eventers were a class apart in the show jumping today, the three team riders whose scores counted — Auffarth, Jung and Ingrid Klimke — all notching up clear rounds.

Reigning World Champion Michael Jung had to relinquish his crown to his teammate but he didn’t go home empty handed, instead adding individual silver to his team gold.

“Sandra has always been just under the top placings,” said Jung, for whom this was the first time since 2011 that he hadn't stood on the top step of a championship podium. “She and her horse have a big partnership and their show jumping round was perfect so she really is the World Champion.”

Jung, who rode into the show jumping arena lying in third place, rose one slot up the leaderboard thanks to Fischerrocana lovely clear round over Frederic Cottier’s 12-obstacle track.

“My horse was quiet and relaxed in the stadium,” said Jung who took on the mare as a five-year-old. “She really concentrated on the fences.”

William Fox-Pitt collected team silver for the British, along with individual bronze.

Despite Harry Meade’s horse, Wild Lone, having collapsed and died at the end of the cross-country phase yesterday, Meade stood on the podium alongside his teammates Fox-Pitt, Zara Phillips and Tina Cook.

Jonelle Price, whose cross-country round aboard Classic Moet had been the fastest of the day yesterday, made sure that she didn’t let a great placing slip from her grasp and she doggedly clung on to fourth despite dislodging the while rail at the ‘bogey’ upright over the watertray at fence 3.

The cheer for Maxime Livio’s clear round aboard Qalao Des Mers could probably be heard in Paris as France’s best rider here clocked a performance that left him in fifth on the individual leaderboard.

Unfortunately the home side failed to capitalise on third-placed Australia’s costly show jumping mistakes and made too many of their own to rise into the bronze position.

Former World Champion Jean Teulere (Matelot Du Grand Val) and Cedric Lyard’s Cadeau Du Roi both dislodged two rails and their team finished fourth.

The Netherlands was elevated into bronze position by Elaine Pen, her blonde, pony tailed hair flying behind her as her big jumping chestnut mare Vira gave every pole inches. 

“Vira is so sharp, but she knows what to do when you start to jump,” said Elaine. “It’s crazy we’ve got a medal. We came here to qualify for Rio and now we’ve got the bronze.”

The show jumping proved to be a hugely influential phase. There were just 13 clear rounds from 60 starters and some riders suffered the ignominy of refusals in the electric atmosphere. Horseware Bushman, Ireland’s team horse piloted by Sam Watson’s, applied his brakes, as did Annie Clover, the individual ride of Britain's Nicola Wilson, who plummeted from her 12th slot partly as a result.

Belgium’s leading lady Karin Donckers made no such mistakes and she finished in sixth with her imposing jumper Fletcha Van’t Verahof, a son of the reigning World Champion show jumper Vigo d’Arsouilles, who dislodged only the last oxer.

Peter Thomsen, an individual for Germany, finished seventh with Horseware’s Barny, just ahead of Boyd Martin, by far the best of a depleted US squad, with the former Ludwig Svennerstal ride Shamwari 4.

New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson was the most high profile casualty among the top 10. His expensive three down on Nereo meant that he was forced to relinquish fifth place, while eight faults also proved expensive for Germany’s Andreas Ostholt and So Is Et, eventual 10th.

Top 5 results (individual)

  1. Sandra Auffarth (GER)/ Opgun Louvo – 52.0
  2. Michael Jung (GER)/ Fischerrocana FST – 52.3
  3. William Fox-Pitt (GBR)/ Chilli Morning – 54.3
  4. Jonelle Price (NZL)/ Classic Moet – 56.5
  5. Karin Donckers (BEL)/ Fletcha Van’t Verahof – 59.9

Top 5 results (team)

  1.  Germany – 177.9
  2. Great Britain – 198.8
  3. Netherlands – 246.8
  4. France – 251.5
  5. Australia – 262.8

CLICK HERE for the full results from the Eventing competition at the World Equestrian Games

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