Australia’s Lucinda Fredericks is hoping to make it third time lucky at Germany’s Luhmühlen Horse Trials, after taking the dressage lead in the premier event on Friday.
Luhmühlen, presented by DHL Paket, is the fifth and penultimate leg of the FEI Classics series this season.
In 2012, Fredericks finished second on Flying Finish and secured a place in the Australian team at the London Olympic Games. Last year, having 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 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 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 whom 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,” Fredericks explained. “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* last year.
“She rode really well today and worked in a lovely outline,” Jung said. “Now I am looking forward to a fantastic round tomorrow.”
Jung’s team mate Ingrid Klimke 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 said. “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 promising 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, and New Zealand’s Tim Price is seventh on Wesko with 43.80. Jonelle Price is 15th on The Deputy and 22nd on Classic Moet. The places of the other New Zealanders are Annabel Wigley (Frog Rock, 55.80, 30th), Mark Todd (Oloa, 65.80, 46th), Craig Nicolai (Just Ironic, 67.50, 47th), and Kate Wood (Easy Tiger, 74.50, 51st).
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 on Saturday. Lucinda Fredericks reports that the influential combination in the arena is “nicer” this time, but that course designer Mark Phillips 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.”
• In the CCI3* Germany’s Sandra Auffarth leads on Opgun Louvo with a score of 26.10. The score left Germany’s Chef d’Equipe Hans Melzer speechless for a moment, before he was able to comment on the fantastic performance of the Olympic bronze medalist from 2012. “This pair is simply amazing! I have tremendous respect for Sandra’s achievements with this horse over the past few years.”
Auffarth said she didn’t expect a result quite that good. “Wolle was extremely cooperative and concentrated brilliantly during the test. I know he is capable of doing well, but I didn’t expect a result quite that good! Now I am really looking forward to tomorrow, the ground is fantastic and the course is looking great.”
In second is overnight leader Australia’s Andrew How and Cheeky Calimbo on 28.50 penalties, with Ingrid Klimke on FRH Escada JS (34.20) in third. Klimke agrees with Auffarth’s impressions of tomorrow’s cross-country course: “Both courses are very well designed and I am looking forward to tomorrow, I’m sure we are going to enjoy every minute.”
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 on www.luhmuehlen.de and live Cross Country (Saturday) and