Kraut Tops Wiesbaden

By May 22, 2013
Laura Kraut and her great grey Cedric

Laura Kraut, who won the Grand Prix of Wiesbaden on Cedric, leads the GCT standings after three stops. (Photo by Stefano Grasso/GCT)

The USA’s Laura Kraut and her incredible 16-year-old gelding Cedric catapulted to the top of the Longines Global Champions Tour ranking with three flawless rounds at the Grand Prix of Wiesbaden, Germany, May 18.

After three shows in the 13-city GCT circuit, wrapping Nov. 23 in Doha, Kraut now leads the tour standings with 77 points. At Wiesbaden, Kraut squeaked past Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) and Cevo Itot du Chateau by only two-tenths of a second.

Kraut’s time of 45.12 trumped Edwina’s quick time of 45.35. Hans-Dieter Dreher (GER) was third on Magnus Romeo in 46.76 with Ludger Beerbaum, Gregory Wathelet and Alvaro de Miranda following.

An all-star cast of 50 horse and rider combinations, including 12 Olympians, competed for the €285,000 ($367,935) in grand prix prize money at the historic Schlosspark Wiesbaden-Biebrich, a 311-year-old castle complex on the River Rhine where the competition took place on the grass.

Against this palatial backdrop the GCT was part of the 77th International Horse Show at Whitsun, which ran from May 17-20. The show, which starts with a decorous “grand carriage parade” through the center of Wiesbaden and proceeds to a “Night of the Horse” extravaganza, incorporates dressage, eventing and vaulting.

“It is important to be really diverse,” GCT founder and president Jan Tops said. “We have had three grass arenas. The next competition will be London, which is on sand, and Cannes is also sand and in the evening. All different circumstances and that is the beauty of the Global Tour, nothing is the same and we have great locations.”

Eighteen pair made it to round two of the Grand Prix of Wiesbaden, and six to round three.

Edwina Tops-Alexander gives Cevo Itot du Chateau a well-deserved pat on the neck.

Tops-Alexander and Cevo Itot du Chateau (Photo by Stefano Grasso/GCT)

First Round Report

Bassem Hassan Mohammed of Qatar jumped the first clear on his 11-year-old Dutch bred mare Victoria. Following suit U.S. Olympian Lauren Hough went clear on Quick Study. Germany’s Daniel Deusser and David Will jumped clear as well as Jane Richard Phillips for Switzerland. Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Athina Onassis de Miranda (GRE) made supreme efforts despite scoring 4 faults on the big Schlosspark grass arena. Christian Ahlmann (GER) and Taloubet Z took over the fastest clear and was joined by fellow Germans Ludger Beerbaum and Philipp Weishaupt. Longines Global Champions Tour star performers Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (SWE) Tops-Alexander, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), Denis Lynch (IRE), Luciana Diniz (POR), Laura Kraut, Alvaro de Miranda (BRA) and Dreher all managed Frank Rothenberger’s track with ease. Alvaro clocked the fastest time. Belgium’s leading rider Gregory Wathelet delivered the final clear score of the 1st round aboard Citizenguard Cadjanine Z. A number of experienced athletes had trouble at the double combination with heartbreak for some at the last fence.

Second Round Report

Hans-Dieter Dreher and Magnus Romeo clear the Longines jump.

Hans-Dieter Dreher and Magnus Romeo (Photo by Stefano Grasso/GCT)

The 18 best riders through to the 2nd round had all jumped clear except for Ireland’s Cameron Hanley on Michael Whitaker’s previous mount Antello Z, who started on 1 time fault and finished on 7 faults. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, Bassem Hassan Mohammed and Daniel Deusser also disappointed with faults. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum delivered the first double clear but had 1 time penalty on Bella Donna. Her brother-in-law Ludger Beerbaum took the lead on Chiara. Belgium’s Wathelet confirmed the jump off with a double clear on his Olympic team mare. Denis Lynch and All Star jumped an excellent second round but picked up an agonising time fault on the big striding stallion. The magical combination of Edwina Tops-Alexander and Cevo Itot du Chateau produced a beautiful clear round spicing up the jump off. Christian Ahlmann was unlucky at the final Casino fence but Hans-Dieter Dreher, winner of last year’s GP in Chantilly, went double clear putting him in second place. Super careful Cedric and Laura Kraut joined the jump off line up with Alvaro de Miranda on Rahmannhof’s Bogeno became the sixth double clear.

Jump Off

Four-time Olympic medalist and six-time European Champion Ludger Beerbaum was first in the jump off aboard his big-bodied grey mare Chiara. Riding a faultless an overjoyed Ludger said: “She couldn’t jump any better, she really got going.”  Gregory Wathelet took a risk to the vertical but paid the price with four faults in a really fast time. But it was 2011 and 2012 Champion Edwina and Itot who took over the lead with a great time of 45.35 seconds. Despite his best effort, Dreher finished in 46.76. With tension mounting in the packed grandstands Laura Kraut and Cedric, second in the Madrid Grand Prix, delivered a flawless jump off performance once again proving that such an experienced partnership often wins out on the most competitive international stage to seize victory. Alvaro de Miranda had the second fence down for four faults.

Atmosphere shot of an old man watching swans on the River Rhine, with the Wiesenbaden palace in the background.

View of the palace at Wiesbaden from the River Rhine. (Photo by Stefano Grasso/GCT)

“I think it was a good second round course, I had a lot of confidence,” Kraut said at a press conference following the event. “I didn’t feel I was that efficient in the jump off, but I think the mad gallop to the last fence (paid off). I was a bit lucky, it made the difference. I am very pleased. It is Cedric’s fourth win on the Global Tour and I am very proud of him. We have a long way to go, but I am just pleased to start off as strong as I have. I am excited about all the upcoming events, London in particular.”

Asked about narrowly beating Tops-Alexander, the reigning GCT champ two years running, Kraut said: “I have two really nice horses, Cedric and Jubilee, and if I can keep them healthy, I will give her a run if I can.”

For her part, Tops-Alexander said the felt taking nine strides instead of eight to the huge vertical during the jump off “probably cost me the first place. He did an amazing job to jump that fence. My horse is just amazing. I am very lucky to have him.”

Third-place Dreher conceded with “The ladies were faster than me today. When I went into the jump off I wanted to do eight strides, but on the way to the vertical I saw how big it was and thought no.”

The GCT continues on to London, June 6-9, in a new venue at the Olympic Park.

“For the Global Champions Tour it is the first time in London,” Tops said. “It is a horse country. We have great support from the Federation and from the riders and we are looking forward to it. For us it is an exciting moment. It will be very nice in front of the (Olympic) Stadium and we have a big expectation for London.”

U.S. audiences can see the GCT grand prix stream live at GlobalChampionsTour.com/gct-live/; EuroSport is televising the classes in Europe. Check here for a broadcast schedule GlobalChampionsTour.com/tv-schedule/.

Coral-colored alace at Wiesbaden with Global Champions Tour trophy looming in foreground.

Grounds at Wiesbaden with GCT trophy. (Photo by Stefano Grasso/GCT)

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