The Swedish Rolf-Goran Bengtsson performed brilliantly during the jump off and won the first leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup 2021 at the town of St Gallen in Switzerland
From a starting field of 10 nations, nine took part in the second round while team Great Britain decided to withdraw from the Grundenmoos Arena. The final round came to a face-off between Germany’s Christian Kukuk and Sweden’s Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and the Swedish came first with his 12-year-old stallion Ermindo W.
The Swiss course was designed by Gerard Lachat and Reto Ruflin. With looping turns and complicated obstacles, distances between fences had to be ridden perfectly. The triple combination at the fourth fence claimed many faults from the horse riders while the bending line from the vertical at seven to the triple-bar at eight also saw plenty of action.
Team Egypt surprised the audience when they tied for the lead going into the second round with Germany. With only five faults on the board, the Swiss were in third with eight faults and the Swedes came in ninth.
Brazil, Britain, Israel, The Netherlands, Mexico and Italy came in that order for the second round, however the leading four countries grabbed all the attention during the following round.
However, the Egyptians did not last long in the top. They added 20 faults despite fantastic performances from Mohamed Talaat and his stallion Darshan. Nayel Nassar also did a fantastic job with Darry Lou, the gelding who originally competed with American star Beezie Madden.
Rain in the Grundenmoos Arena led to various breaks in the competition to attend to the grass footing. This is traditional at St. Gallen, and riders seemed to be aware of this as horses coped well during the competition.
The tension increased as Germany, Switzerland and Sweden continued their performances during the second round of the competition. Christian Kukuk and Mumbai matched their first-round score, but they were eclipsed by a clear performance from Maurice Tebbel and Don Diarado.
However, the water-tray oxer proved to be troublesome as Andre Thieme with DSP Chakaria and Philipp Weishaupt with Asathir faulted. This means Germany had to add eight more faults to their scoreline, with a total of 13.
The Swedes only had to add four as Douglas Lindelow with Casquo Blue and Malin Baryard-Johnsson with H&M Indiana performed double-clears. Evelina Tovek with Winnetou de la Hamente Z and Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Ermindo W had a pole down. Just one of these four-faults had to be added as the best three scores were taken into account.
Meanwhile in the swiss team, the individual European champion Martin Fuchs returned a double-clear with his gelding Leone Jei. However, Steve Guerdat retired Venard de Cerisy after having two down and then four faults by both Bryan Balsiger and Beat Mandli brought the scoreline to 16.
With an assured third place, the home team sat back and watched Germany and Sweden fight it out at the jump-off.