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Star Connection is World Champion

Hanoverian bred Star Connection is the new world champion for 6-year-old eventers. At the championships at Lion d'Angers he was ridden by Germany Michael Jung

d. 20-10-2014 - 07:24

The Ground Jury for the 6-year-olds consisted of Hungary’s Fulop Sandor, Nathale Carriere and Jen-Lou Caplain from France and America’s Jane Hamlin, and they placed the Trakehner, Eiskonig by Songline, in pole position with Vincent Martens from Belgium on board after the Dressage phase. Their score of 41.90 left the pair only 0.8 points ahead of the multi-medalled German, Michael Jung riding the Hannoverian, Star Connection by Chacco-Blue/Star Regent xx (bred by Dr. Rainer Nitsch, Germany), however, so there was no room for error, while Australia’s Christopher Burton lined up third at this early stage with the Dutch-bred Dutch Man Retto on a mark of 44.40.

Only seven horse-and-rider combinations encountered problems on Saturday’s cross-country run in this division, and Martens and Eiskonig were amongst them. A single refusal at fence 15, the Dragons that sat on top of a hillside, was followed by another at the second element of fence 17, so the Belgian rider wisely decided to call it a day.

This left Jung now out in front followed by Burton who produced one of the most eye-catching tours of the competition. Dutch Man Retto appeared still young enough to be a little bemused by some of the advertising boards along the route, but when it came to jumping the obstacles themselves his fabulous technique, allied with super-sympathetic riding from the Australian who never pushed the youngster out of his stride but let him find his own balance and bowl along quite happily, ensured the horse’s Le Lion experience was an enjoyable and successful learning curve.

Great Britain’s Zoe Wilkinson was holding third place going into yesterday’s final Jumping phase with the AES-bred Parkfield Quintessential and left all the fences in place. But two time penalties proved costly, dropping her down to sixth, and allowed her British colleague, Piggy French to rise to third spot instead with the Irish-bred Cooley Dream Extreme, by Cruising, when adding nothing to their first-phase scoreline.

At the sharp end, Burton and Dutch Man Retto piled all the pressure on Jung with a lovely clear, but the German who took team gold and individual silver at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy, never flinched as he also proved foot-perfect with Star Connection.

See the full result list HERE