Jul 01, 2023

Germany Takes Gold, U.S. Gets Silver at Aachen CCIO4*-S

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Peter Nixon photo

There was excitement through the very last rider in the SAP-Cup at CHIO Aachen this afternoon. The concluding phase, cross-country, was the decider in the CCIO4*-S, with Germany taking team gold and Great Britain's Yasmin Ingham on Banzai du Loir winning individual gold. The U.S. team took home silver.

The team of the chef d’équipe, Peter Thomsen, finished first on an overall score of 104.9 minus points, ahead of the USA (108.2) and Great Britain (136.6). It was an open race between the three teams up until the last rider. The USA were in the lead, but only with a few time faults in hand. Will Coleman and Off the Record, the winners of the individual classification in 2021, were the last to go for the US team. They were doing really well until the Turkish Airlines Complex, where they had a run-out, dashing the dreams of the American team’s first victory at the Soers.

Michael Jung and fischerChipmunk FRH then set off on track. Will Coleman’s 20 minus points had put Germany in the lead. Malin Hansen-Hotopp with Carlitos Quidditch, Christoph Wahler with Carjatan S and Sandra Auffarth with Viamant du Matz all rode home clear, but had picked up time faults. None of the pairs had managed to stay within the time until then. But Jung and Chipmunk had to come as close to the best time as possible if they wanted to defend their lead against the Brits. Provided that the last rider of the British team, Tom McEwen with JL Dublin delivered the expected result.

Yas Ingham and Banzai du Loir. CHIO Aachen/Michael Strauch photo

Michael Jung and fischerChipmunk FRH put in an immaculate round with 2.8 time faults; the third-best cross-country result after teammate Christoph Wahler with Carjatan S and Ingham with Banzai du Loir, who had each only collected 1.6 penalty points. Now it was down to leaders Tom McEwen and JL Dublin for Great Britain, but the Brits’ dream of winning ended with a run-out at the Turkish Airlines Complex.

That meant not only the victory of the German team was certain, but Ingham was also confirmed as the individual winner.

It was the first performance of the World Champion pair at CHIO Aachen, and they claimed the victory straight away. “I am pretty speechless," said Ingham. "I am very glad to be here representing my country. I am very lucky to be here riding.“

And obviously she is even luckier with her horse. “My amazing horse did everything right," she said. "His performance in each phase was immaculate. He did brilliantly in the dressage; there are a few areas I can still polish up, a few marks to grasp, but overall he performed brilliantly. I could have kicked myself after the show jumping. I rode too slowly, didn’t canter enough, I couldn’t fault him, but I was a bit frustrated with myself. I channelled that frustration so that I would impress in the cross-country.”

And she certainly did that. Finishing on a total score of 27.1 points, she had a 0.1 lead over Jung. Third place on a score of 33.7 went to the American winner from Kentucky, Tamie Smith with Mai Baum, ahead of Wahler and Carjatan S, who worked his way up the ranking list to 22nd place thanks to a fantastic performance in the cross-country.

Jung summarized his impressions of the cross-country course that was, as always, designed by Rüdiger Schwarz, as follows: “The course was nice to ride, but the faster you ride the more risk you take which can lead to mistakes.“ Which was incidentally how both Will Coleman (Off The Record) and McEwen explained their run-outs. All in all, the riders were unanimous that the course had been fair, but demanding.

In the run-up to the competition, EquiRatings had drawn up statistics, which prove that this year’s field of participants at the CHIO regarding the previous performances of the horses was the strongest CCI4*-S line-up since the start of the recordings in the year 2015. According to the same statistics, Jung and fischerChipmunk FRH were the favorites to win, followed by Mai Baum with Smith and Banzai du Loir with Ingham, all of whom ultimately came under the top three.

Full results.

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