|Chris Bartle - A lot to smile about now|
Having a little German blood myself I've followed the ups and downs of the German team over the last 7 or 8 years with some interest, team coach Chris Bartle's look of dispair over the dinner table after the 2003 Europeans at Punchestown, winning then losing a Gold in the Athens Olympics, triumph at the Hong Kong Olympics, etc. etc. They've also performed pretty well at Badminton, Burghley, and Kentucky 4 stars for a visiting nation, probably second only to the Brits.
The German short list for WEG is:
|One for the List!|
This rider has come so close to winning Badminton on a few occasions and finished 2nd this year on this horse, which is clearly a little highly strung in the Dressage Arena (see pic), all credit to Andreas he finished 7th after the dressage. Definitely one for the plane.
Andreas Dibowski and FRH Fantasia
Another top class horse and entered for Malmo, but personally I'd choose the above horse over this one.
Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam
I know this horse has won and been placed at Luhmuhlen, placed a Fontainebleu, and won a World Cup, and Michael currently heads the rankings, but this horse looks like it's campaigned with the HSBC World Cup in mind. It hasn't crossed the channel to contest one of the tougher UK events, and I think it should stay on the World Cup trail.
Simone Deitermann and Free Easy NRW
This plucky young rider has made a real name for herself over the last few years on the continent with some solid money winning form at 3 star and best placed freshman at this year's Badminton (12th) on this horse. I just wonder whether she has enough class and experience for others in this list to be passed over in her favour. As the fifth wheel I think she'd be a good choice.
Frank Ostholt and Mr. Medicott:
This horse clearly has form (8th HK Olympics, 1st Samaur), but I'm not sure I can see any master plan forming in this year's results. He's entered at Malmo, so I'll be interested to see whether he does better than his Aachen run (20th). I can't help but feel I'd rather take the horse below over this one.
Ingrid Klimke and FRH Butts Abraxxas:
All I can say about this pairing is, Fantastic! Very low milage this year with excellent results. Only injury or illness should prevent them boarding the plane.
I have a bit of a soft spot for stallions and this horse has 3 top ten placing at 3 & 4 star over the previous three years, including Burghley, not an easy track to get a stallion around. He came to Badminton this year and lead the dressage by a mile, but had a very, very unlucky stop at the Bank, putting him right out of contention, which I think probably left the pair less than careful in the show jumping, knocking down 4 rails. I think the Badminton mistake can be overlooked if he does well at Malmo this coming weekend. This horse also has an entry for Burghley (probably a back-up plan). Scrap Burghley, get on the US plane.
Dirk Schrade and King Artus & Gadget de la Cere:
Both of these horses have form at CIC***, and King Artus won Pau 4 star, while Gadget has been placed at Luhmuhlen but I'd leave them on the reserve list due to lack of true proven international experience.
Hinrich Romeike and Marius Voigt-Logistik:
Current Olympic Champion, and having just read a recent BBC interview this horse is so like my own (except for the track record!). This horse has surprisingly low milage though (through injury), but I hope he is back on track now, the fact he's on the list, I'm assuming he is, but there isn't much in the way of form since the Olympics. I'd put him on the plane though.
A notable German missing from the list is Bettina Hoy, who is currently experiencing something of 'not so purple patch' and lack of 4 star ammunition, along with husband Andrew, but it wouldn't surprise if she was enlisted in some capacity. Save for the phenomenon that is Marius Voigt-Logistik, Badminton & Burghley form is a good indicator of German success in championships.
More importantly, will the Germans arrive before everyone else and bag the best stables? ;-)
August is turning out to be a hyper-exciting month, I'll be wired to the main grid come September.