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Olympic selection series takes shape at Lummen - Final results from the first Olympic Games Jumping nomination event
Story by Peter Cooke Photos by Nicol Taylor
The first group of six Australian riders have completed the first phase of their Olympic selection during the Nations Cup competition and first round of the Grand Prix in Lummen CSIO4*, with mixed results but the situation starts to be a little clearer following sound performances from Amy Graham on Bella Baloubet, Julia Hargreaves on Vedor and Paul Athanasoff on Wirragulla Nicklaus.
The riders carry their first round scores from the Nations Cup event, added to their results from the Grand Prix on Sunday, and this determines which riders will progress to the next round of selection.
Due to the rain-affected arena over the weekend the Ground Jury agreed to do away with the qualification competitions and invited all riders to nominate a horse for the Grand Prix resulting in a large field of 72 riders over the Vezzani Uliano track.
First of the Australians into the ring was the highly credentialed Vedor and Julia Hargreaves, who worked well in the sand warm up ring before being quite troubled by the heavy grass arena. A very uncharacteristic fault at the first fence put Julia and Vedor on notice that full concentration would be required. A second lazy rail at the vertical at 4A
proved challenging, however they were now in gear and completed the second half of the course faultlessly to finish under the time allowed and 8 penalties to add to her 5 fault round from the Nations Cup competition.
Matt Williams on Bolero Van’t Heike were next in and were looking to improve on his less than auspicious Nations Cup round of 16 faults. The little chestnut horse was clearly enjoying the additional runs following his trip from America less than 3 weeks ago and jumped an excellent round until the difficult ‘water’ line. Bolero jumped the water so strongly, Matt had no chance to get the horse back in line for the following fences and had a rail at both numbers 9 and 10 to finish with 8 penalties.
Australian Champions Paul Athanasoff on Wirragulla Nicklaus completed a very good 4 fault round in the Nations Cup and came into the ring full of confidence and looking in excellent condition for the Grand Prix. The pair completed the course right to the turn up to the final combination and an uncertain ‘half-halt’ proved a little too difficult and Nicklaus just rolled the middle rail in the combination to complete another solid 4 fault round.
Amy Graham on Bella Baloubet were another combination carry just the 4 faults from the Nations Cup class and although not relishing the heavy going, they gave another very solid performance . Unfortunately Bella clipped the back rail on the first fence, which always adds a deal of difficulty to the remainder of the round but Amy showed a high degree of professionalism to deliver a good round with a rail in the middle of the treble to finish with 8 faults.
James Paterson-Robinson on Lanosso have been on the come-back trail and have been progressing well with some good performances at the earlier Lummen Spring Tour events. Their Nations Cup round on Friday was not up to their usual standard and they carried forward 8 penalties. By the time they came into the ring at number 59 in the Grand Prix, the ground was getting quite pugged and Lanosso took until half way around the track to adapt to the going. He collected a rail at 4a and then jumped very solidly until the turn into the treble combination and appeared to slip between 11A and B and collected a further rail at the second and third elements to finish with 12 faults.
James Passy on Carry Star are a relatively new combination coming together since Christmas. Carry Star is a 10 year old Holstein gelding and shows a good deal of promise. He fell victim to the early line from fence 3 to the double, a rail following the water and another going into the treble to finish with 16 penalties to add to his Nations Cup result of 12 faults.
The Course Designer for Lummen CSIO4* , Italian Vezzani Uliano had to manage an ever increasing amount of ground damage due to continuous rain and given the conditions he delivered a solid, fair and safe 1.50m course which tested the 72 starters in the Grand Prix. The 12 fence course started sympathetically with an encouraging few fences, however the main lines to influence the results included the 3.7m water followed by a definite 7 or 8 stride choice to Number 10 a tall, wide oxer and a very definite 5 strides to a 1.55m vertical jumping directly into the spectator tents. With no let up, riders had to turn back up to a treble of oxer 7.9m to a vertical and a further 8.20m to another vertical, and finishing the course over a 1.50m square oxer. The time allowed was let out to 375m/min to compensate for the very heavy going.
Thirty combinations were invited to the second round of the Grand Prix and of the Australians only Matt Williams took the opportunity to participate and in doing so delivered a first class round with just the final rail down over a solid 1.55m track.
The riders will now prepare for their next show in readiness for Bourg-en-Bresse CSI4* France at the end of May.
Full results can be found on http://results.scgvisual.com/2012/lummen3/results/006-res.htm
The selection series continues next weekend with a further six Australian combinations to be assessed at the Linz CSIO4* in Austria.
4 May 2012
Day two - First six jumping athletes start in Olympic selection series
Story by Nicol Taylor
Six Australian athletes participated in the first phase of their Olympic selection at the Lummen CSIO4* Nations’ Cup in Belgium overnight.
Australian team selectors are onsite assessing athletes over the first round of the Nations’ Cup class and the first round of the Grand Prix on Sunday. A further six combinations will be assessed at the Linz CSIO4* in Austria next weekend.
A great deal of work had gone into preparing the arena for the big Nations’ Cup class with 14 nations competing and an additional 8 athletes starting in a bid to gain a certificate of capability for the London Olympics. Aussies Matt Williams on Bolero Van’t Heike and James Passy on Carry Star both missed the opportunity on this occasion and will have another chance in the Grand Prix on Sunday.
Australia drew 12th with James Paterson-Robinson on Lanosso the first athlete round. He started very competently over the first section of the course but a long take-off distance at the vertical-oxer-vertical treble was too much ground to make up resulting in knock downs at both the back rail on the oxer and the vertical. The remainder of the track was completed very well but resulted in Lanosso finishing with eight faults.
Amy Graham and Bella Baloubet was second round for the Aussies, with the combination completing a strong round only having a back rail of the treble oxer for a score of four faults.
Julia Hargreaves and Vedor have been based in Europe for the past 12 months and showed some of the experience gained from competing at the international level with a very scopey round marred yet again by the middle element of the treble, and incurring a time fault to finish on a solid five fault round.
Regular European campaigner and current Australian National Champion Paul Athanasoff and Wirragulla Nicklaus were the last combination and they delivered a good round with the back rail on a 1.50m oxer being the only error for a finish of four faults.
The riders will carry these first round scores to be added to their results from the Grand Prix on Sunday to determine which riders will progress to the next round of selection.
The Course designer for the Nations’ Cup competition was Italian Vezzani Uliano and given the lead up wet weather conditions, he delivered a solid course which tested the 14 nations and delivered an exciting competition. The 12 fence course was a consistent 1.50m throughout with the treble up early at number 5 consisting of a 1.50 vertical, 7.90m to a square oxer and 7.80m to the vertical.
The water jump line proved the main test with a 3.8m water followed 28.0m bending to a black rail style fence and a further 7 strides to a 1.50m oxer. The cloud and sun shadows did cause more water faults than usual at this level, however most riders were then focussed on the style line ahead. The final test was a tall vertical followed at 28.5m to an oxer, 11.20m vertical double.
The Nations’ Cup class was a very close affair and at the end of the first round the host nation Belgium and Canada were on 4 faults, a further six nations were on 8 faults then Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland and Australia missing the cut for the second round with less than 15 faults.
The eventual winners were Italy who delivered three clear second rounds to beat front runners Belgium and Canada into second place.
Full results - click here
The Nations’ Cup competition is an excellent avenue for all developing countries to bring out the new talent and blend with experienced athletes to test their current ‘status’, and make sure future Olympic team riders are well versed in the difficulties and differences of team riding. The event also provides National Selectors with an excellent observation point on Australia’s riders in the lead up to London.
The Lummen CSIO4* Grand Prix class starts at 2pm Sunday 6 May (European summer time).
2 May 2012
Day One - Jumping riders warm up for Olympic selection
Story by Nicol Taylor
The first selection show for the Australian Jumping team for the London 2012 Olympic Games got off to a damp start on Thursday 3 May at the Lummen CSIO4* in Belgium.The six Australian riders vying for London Olympic team selection at Lummen competed in a warm up class over 1.50m which gave them a look at the huge grass arena and a qualification for Sunday’s Grand Prix class. The selectors will assess the riders over the first round of the Nations’ Cup class on Friday, and the first round of the Grand Prix on Sunday.
A further six combinations will be assessed at the Linz CSIO4* in Austria next weekend.Steady rain on an already sodden grounds forced some careful management of the Lummen arena and horses to ensure the best conditions for a fair competition.Lummen CSIO4* is an important part of the preparation plans for the other nations preparing for the Olympic Games including teams in the Nations’ Cup representing Canada, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Qatar, Denmark, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Mexico and Switzerland.
Of the fourteen teams entered, Australia has drawn twelfth in the order of go. Selectors have announced the Nation’s Cup team will comprise James Paterson-Robinson on Lanosso, Amy Graham on Bella Baloubet, Julia Hargreaves on Vedor and Paul Athanasoff on Wirragulla Nicklaus. The two remaining riders vying for selection, James Passy on Carry Star and Matt Williams on Bolero Van’t Heike, will ride first as individual riders at the start of the Nations’ Cup class.The Lummen CSIO4* Nations’ Cup class starts at 3pm Friday 4 May European summer time.
For officials results and news from the event organisers - click here.