Lucinda Fredericks (AUS), who has taken the lead after the Dressage phase at Luhmühlen, presented by DHL Paket, is hoping to make it third time lucky at Germany’s premier event, the fifth and penultimate leg of the FEI Classics™ 2013/2014.
In 2012, Fredericks finished second on Flying Finish and secured a place in the Australian team at the London Olympic Games. Last year, having suffered a slow start to the season due to a bad fall, she was not at full fitness but still managed to finish in 11th place.
“This time I’m going to crack on,” promised Fredericks, who retired Flying Finish early on the Cross Country at Badminton last month because he had temporarily banged a nerve. “It wasn’t as dramatic as it looked. He was fine five minutes later, which was frustrating.
“But perhaps it was a blessing in disguise,” she continued. “My horse feels good, we’ve had a good preparation for this event and I feel we’re due some luck. It would be a great boost for my team at home if we could do well.”
Fredericks, who won Burghley (2006), Badminton (2007) and Kentucky (2009) on her brilliant little mare Headley Britannia, was the only rider at Luhmühlen to break the 40-penalty barrier. She scored 38.7 on Flying Finish, a 12-year-old Holsteiner by Candillo which she bought in Germany, and leads the Olympic, World and European Champion Michael Jung (GER) by 2.8 penalties.
“It’s quite difficult to tell how well you’re doing on Flying Finish and I wasn’t quite sure I’d nailed it until after the test,” explained Fredericks. “He is always correct and steady, but every time I looked at the scoreboard I only seemed to be getting sevens, so I stuck my chest out and tried to move up a gear!”
Jung, who won Luhmühlen in 2009 on La Biosthetique Sam and in 2012 on Leopin FST, has a new CCI4* ride, his parents Joachim and Brigitte’s nine-year-old mare fischerRocana FST, eighth at Boekelo CCI3* (NED) last year.
Jung’s team mate Ingrid Klimke (GER) is in third place on the 10-year-old Horseware Hale Bob and the in-form Dutch rider Elaine Pen is fourth on Vira, winner of the Fontainebleau CIC3* in March.
Pen, a law student, led the Dressage on the first day with a score of 43.2. “I am feeling a little nervous because this is my first four-star,” she commented. “But my parents bought Vira as a foal 12 years ago, so we know each other well.”
It is not Pen’s first visit to Luhmühlen, however, as she finished 14th and was best Dutch rider at the FEI European Eventing Championships there in 2011.
Bettina Hoy (GER), whose appearance in the Luhmühlen arena last year was a dramatic one, when Lanfranco TSF repeatedly reared, had a more comfortable ride this time on the up-and-coming Designer 10. She is in fifth place on 43.3, just 0.2 ahead of FEI Classics™ leader William Fox-Pitt (GBR), sixth on Cool Mountain.
A total of 52 riders representing 12 nations came before the Ground Jury made up of Gill Rolton (AUS), President, Ernst Topp (GER) and Alain James (FRA).
The German event has enjoyed mainly fine weather so far, and the Cross Country going is described as “fast”, but the weather forecast is hinting at rain tomorrow. Lucinda Fredericks reports that the influential combination in the arena is “nicer” this time, but that Course Designer Mark Phillips (GBR) has still laid on an appropriately challenging track.
“There is a lot of turning to fences and turning afterwards and not always a lot of room to do it,” she said, “but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Results after Dressage
1 Lucinda Fredericks/Flying Finish (AUS) 38.7
2 Michael Jung/fischerRocana FST (GER) 41.5
3 Ingrid Klimke/Horseware Hale Bob (GER) 42.0
4 Elaine Pen/Vira (NED) 43.2
5 Bettina Hoy/Designer 10 (GER) 43.3
6 William Fox-Pitt/Cool Mountain (GBR) 43.5
7 Tim Price/Wesko (NZL) 43.8
8 Christopher Burton/Tempranillo (AUS) 44.7
9 Oliver Townend/Black Tie (GBR) 45.0
10 Phillip Dutton/Mighty Nice (USA) 46.0
Full results here.