Christian Ahlmann did his country proud today. The German rider edged his way to a win in the 5th leg of the World Cup series in Stuttgart, Germany aboard his 13 year-old stallion Codex One.
Course designer Luc Musette was undoubtedly shaking in his boots when the Stuttgart Grand Prix kicked off. Douglas Lindelow, first in the line-up aboard Casello, and Cameron Hanley, third to go, were faultless in quick succession, the course looking too good to be true. But the track, which was big and technical, would ultimately prove as difficult as it walked, just 5 of 39 putting in clear first rounds.
A mid-course triple combination proved a bogey for some. But for most it was the final line, an oxer Liverpool with a 4 or 5 stride option to a plank-vertical combination that broke hearts. Some of the best pushed for the 4, their horses unable to back-off in time to clear the plank. Beautifully executed clear rounds were ruined in the final few fences as the plank tumbled to the dirt time and time again.
The rather long jump-off, which consisted of 10 efforts, combined options for tight turns and long gallops. Douglas Lindelow and Casello put in a clean and deceptively fast clear to clock in at 51.02 seconds. Though they didn’t appear to set a fast pace, the chestnut’s massive strides were tough to beat. Cameron Hanley and Patrick Stuhlmeyer but in clear rides, opting for tight turns, but they weren’t tidy enough to best Lindelow’s time.
Home crowd favorite Christian Ahlmann and Codex One were up to the challenge. The pair took extraordinarily tight turns and galloped to the last without the hint of a check. Though they cross-cantered their way to an early oxer in the jump-off course, the duo showed their mettle and clocked in at 49.78, easily taking the win.
Of his jump-off win, Ahlmann said the following: “I thought I could do it, but I had to try everything - I was really focused on being fast enough and I took every risk from jump to jump - it worked really well from the start to the finish! I saw exactly what Douglas did and I knew I couldn’t take less strides, so I just needed to take tighter turns and to go a bit faster.”
The strategy worked, and Ahlmann – thanks to earlier wins in the week – has the complicated problem of getting two new cars back home. At the post-win press conference he was asked how he’d manage. “I don’t know” he grinned “but I’m looking forward to solving the problem!”
Ahlmann is hoping to make the finals in Gothenburg and plans to compete Codex one more time before the year’s end.
1. Christian Ahlmann - Codex One - 0, 49.78
2. Douglas Lindelow - Casello - 0, 51.02
3. Patrick Stuhlmeyer - Lacan - 0, 52.03
4. Cameron Hanley - Z Acodate DDL - 0, 52.87
5. Patrice Delaveau - Lacrimosa S HDC - Retired in jump-off
Article by Ashley Fairfield-Remeza
Sources: Louise Parkes, FEI