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Touzaint Secures Home Win in World Cup Eventing

The 2006 FEI World Cup™ Champions, Nicolas Touzaint of France and his grey horse, Galan de Sauvagere, were back in business on their first major outing of the 2007 season, leading from the front to win the FEI World Cup™ qualifier at Fontainebleau, France, March 25, 2007. Fontainebleau’s start list of 70 riders from nine nations made this a competitive qualifier with the lion’s share of the €30,000 prize-fund divided between France and Australia.

Touzaint finished more than 10 penalties ahead of his nearest rival, the 2006 Burghley winners, British-based Australian, Lucinda Fredericks and Headley Britannia (57.7 penalties). Lucinda Fredericks’s husband Clayton, the 2005 FEI World Cup™ Champion, came third on Nullarbor (59.6), ahead of Touzaint on another ride, Hethi Bay (59.8). Last year’s Fontainebleau winners, the world number 1, Australian, Andrew Hoy riding his 2006 Kentucky winner Master Monarch, finished fifth (60.2).

Touzaint said: "I am more than pleased. I know Galan de Sauvagére is an extraordinary horse, but I have the impression that he is still progressing. He was attentive and loyal and he stayed fresh after cross-country and concentrated. It was a real treat."

Last year at Fontainebleau, the pair was in the lead going into the final, jumping, phase, but Galan de Sauvagere was injured. This time Touzaint admitted he had gone slower across country to ensure the same thing did not happen again. However, although no one achieved the optimum cross-country time of 6min 40sec, Touzaint was still one of only seven riders to finish in less than 7min. France’s Erwan le Roux, riding Fidji de Magne *Mili, was fastest of all, finishing in 6.47min. He eventually finished in sixth place overall on a final score of 61.1.

Eight horses failed to finish the cross-country course, including French Olympic gold medalists Arnaud Boiteau and Expo du Moulin, while five were not presented at the horse inspection and one other withdrew.

French course designer Pierre Michelet’s cross-country course produced most faults at fence 5, CREIF’s Trunk and Peak, number 10, the Irish Tourism Vertical, and number 13, the Jumping Video Hunter’s Shelter.

Among those to fault were the 2002 World Champions, Jean Teulere and Espoir de la Mare Ecoli, who had been third after dressage on 40.8, Touzaint on his third ride, Tatchou, and the first day dressage leader, Denmark’s May Britt Kathrup on Victor.

There were 13 clears in the final jumping phase, also designed by Pierre Michelet but France’s Jean-Lou Bigot riding Icare d’Anzay, dropped from second place to seventh with three fences down (61.9).

British-based German rider Bettina Hoy who, with her husband Andrew, have spent time this spring receiving jumping training with Paul Schockemohle in Germany, jumped a clear on Andrew’s 2006 Badminton winner, Moonfleet, to finish 14th (67.8).

Touzaint also jumped clear, to finish on 46.4, as did the Fredericks couple. Lucinda rose from fifth place after dressage, while Clayton, who had been second after dressage, had a steady cross-country round for 19.6 time penalties but his clear jumping round elevated him once more.

Frank Ostholt and Air Jordan, team gold medalists at the FEI World Equestrian Games last year, were best of the German contingent, in seventh place (62.0).

There are 18 FEI World Cup™ qualifiers this year, across 11 countries, with a final in the spring of 2008. The next qualifier will be held in Temecula, CA, March 30-April 1.

Courtesy: The HorseTV Channel News, http://www.horsetv.com


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