Germany’s Christian Ahlmann and the brilliant Taloubet Z cruised to victory in the fifth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2017 Western European League on home ground in Stuttgart yesterday. Marathon jump-offs have become something of a standard this season as even the world’s best course designers can’t seem to contain the extraordinary talent of the horses and riders now at the top of the game. And in a 19-horse race against the clock it was the gentlemanly 16-year-old stallion and the world no. 1 rider who showed the rest a clean pair of heels to win by more than a two-second margin.
“Everything worked out the way I wanted, we had an amazing run and Taloubet did an amazing job!” said 41-year-old Ahlmann after pinning defending Longines champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, into runner-up spot. Guerdat has now moved into pole position on the Western European leaderboard ahead of the next leg of the series in Madrid, Spain next Sunday.
It was Ireland’s Cian O’Connor who set the jump-off target in 45.03 seconds when fourth to go with the extravagant Good Luck. Guerdat shaved a fraction off that when putting his foot to the floor over the final two fences to break the beam in 44.95 with his exciting 10-year-old mare, Bianca, but, with six left to go, Ahlmann produced a breath-taking round from the horse with which he won the 2011 World Cup title.
This partnership are the epitomy of the #TwoHearts dream-team, understanding each other so well that Ahlmann’s slightest movement is clearly interpreted by the stallion. Stopping the clock on 42.85 seconds they were untouchable for the win.
“He was in great shape today and he has been for the whole season” said the rider who also won the Stuttgart leg of the series last year with Codex One. “Taloubet is a very fast horse but I had no real plan in the jump-off, I just knew I had to take every risk if I wanted to win!” Ahlmann said. Taloubet won’t go to the 2017 Longines Final however because it has been decided that the horse who helped secure Olympic team bronze as well as the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ title for Germany this year will be taking it relatively easy in future.
“He feels fresh, like a young horse, he knows every situation in the world and it’s easy to train and keep him fit, so he will do some big shows and continue to enjoy the sport, but no more big finals for him”, Ahlmann explained.
1. Christian Ahlmann (GER) – Taloubet Z – 0/0 42.85
2. Steve Guerdat (SUI) – Bianca – 0/0 44.95
3. Cian O’Connor (IRL) – Good Luck – 0/0 45.03
4. Martin Fuchs (SUI) – Clooney 51 – 0/0 45.10
5. Janne Friederike Meyer (GER) – Goja – 0/0 45.34
6. Kevin Staut (FRA) – Reveur de Hurtebise – 0/0 45.78
Edited FEI press release by Louise Parkes