Articles: Press Release
That's Life and Parco Rise to the Top
Diana De Rosa for Phelps Media
at (561) 753-3389 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Morrissey Loses His Top Horse but American Riders are Hopeful
Estoril, Portugal - July 22, 2006 - When Ludo Philippaerts crossed the
finish line on Parco in the fastest time in the 1.50 meter jump-off
round he punched the air in delight. Naturally those watching thought,
"how nice that he is jubilant." While this was true we later learned
that not only was he glad about his victory but about beating his fellow
Belgian countryman Dirk Demeersman aboard Clinton. It was Demeersman's
time of 40.54 seconds that Philippaerts shaved mere fractions off of to
finish in 39.72.
Philippaerts later explained, "He beat me last week in the Grand Prix at
the Belgian international show. I was first to go and we were really
quick and he came at the end and beat me. This morning, I told him if
you go clear I am going to beat you today."
And that's exactly what the Belgian did. In the end Demeersman would
have to settle for third because when Jessica Kurten entered the ring on
Castle Forbes Maike, she was going for it, but her 40.48 seconds
sandwiched her between the two Belgians.
1.45 METER INTERNATIONAL CLASS
In the 1.45 meter class it was Michel Hecart from France whose horse's
name spoke the truth. That's Life was in top form and took the final
lead in the speed class timing out at 54.99 seconds. Again it was
Kurtens who would happily settle for second place, a position she also
held in the World Cup in Malaysia a few months earlier.
Hecart was third in Cannes Global Championship aboard Itot du Chateau.
This time that combination had 8 faults in their first round and "that's
Michel was happy with his win and with his horse. With his French accent
clearly visible he said, "I have a great horse. He's very respectful and
When asked how it feels to win Michel commented "tres bien, it is great
to win first place."
THE AMERICAN RIDERS - DOING THE BEST THEY CAN DO
While our American riders weren't having a lot of luck they were still
pleased. The biggest disappointment happened just before the 1.50 class
when Michael Morrissey was warming up Crelido, his somewhat new mount
who he has high hopes for. They were taking a jump in the schooling ring
when the world turned upside down literally as Crelido eliminated one
stride and attempted to jump the fence from too far away.
"We flipped over at the first jump I was going to. He left a stride
early and totally didn't make it even over the front rail. He got
distracted. There was a shadow in front of the jump," explained
Fortunately both the horse and rider were able to walk away from the
incident. "I came off as well but I am fine - a little sore. The vet has
looked my horse over but hasn't found anything." Even though there was
nothing obvious to be concerned about Morrissey felt it best not to take
any chances and has chosen to allow his horse to rest, just in case. If
he felt bruised, his horse probably felt a bit sore as well.
While there were no more major mishaps the American horses and riders
had faults in all their rounds. Both Robin Sweely on Coming Star and
Megan Lamaze on Chardo had 8 faults in the 1.45 meter class. In the 1.50
Morrissey on Crabamboli and Lamaze on Ollandaise would continue with two
more 8 fault rounds but things were a bit worse for Sweely and Qarco vt
Merelsnest. At the seventh fence her horse really knocked the back rail
of a wide oxer so hard that they ended up circling right after that
jump. Between faults and time they totaled 20 penalty points.
"My horse was a lot too fresh and so he was too strong and I didn't have
the rideability I needed," explained Sweely. "He jumped the jump so
poorly I needed to regroup," she added about the Belgian bred gelding.
"He's had three weeks off."
Yet Sweely wasn't dismayed because past experience has shown that Qarco
gets better as the week progresses.
She went on to explain her 8 fault first round saying "My horse (Coming
Star) is very green because he hasn't shown a lot. He had the first two
jumps down and after that he jumped very well."
Even with her two 8 fault rounds Lamaze was pleased with her mounts. "My
horse (Chardo) jumped really good. He jumped the first part really well
and at the end had two verticals down. I think he ran out of steam but I
was very happy with him,"
She further explained that Ollandaise "peeked at the liverpool and had
it down and then coming into the last double she was a bit strong.
Overall I wasn't disappointed with her performance and she usually gets
better the more rounds she does."
Michael made it all the way to the end of the course before he had any
rails down where two fell at the last three jumps. "He (Crabamboli) was
good until the end. The last line was difficult. He is so big and has
such a big stride and didn't execute it correctly," he said about the
part of the course that worked better for a shorter strided horse." Yet,
just like the other two riders he was ready to move on. And in his case
it was a matter of switching gears since his original plan was to ride
Crelido in the Sunday Global Champions Tour final class.
"My game plan has changed. My #2 horse has to step up and he will do the
grand prix this week."
All the riders praised the Global Champions Tour.
"I think it is great," said Megan. "I only did the show in Florida and
this one. It seems like everyone has been pleased with it. I knew this
was a really nice show and I'm happy I came."
Both Robin and Michael have done all of the Global Champions Tour shows
and both agree they are fabulous. "You've got great venues and really
good show jumping with the top riders in the world. The money is good. I
don't have anything negative to say about the whole tour," said Sweely.
"It's only helping the sport," added Michael.
Now these riders are preparing for Sunday. "I want to have a nice round
tomorrow and hope for the best on Sunday," commented Megan. "Once you
are here there is not much you change."
Robin noted, "I am going to show both of my horses tomorrow since they
are not quite in the groove and hope for the best on Sunday."
For Michael he'll be taking the day off with both his horses. Crelido
will rest to recuperate while Crabamboli needs to stay perked. "He runs
out of gas pretty easy," explained Michael while Megan jokingly added.
"You have to get a tow truck..."
Tomorrow the format is very similar to today in that there will be a
1.45 and a 1.50 class for the International riders. Today's classes
started with 56 and 45 riders but it is expected that a number of the
riders will rest their horses for a day in order to have them fresh for
the most important event of the week. While these other classes offer
significantly prize money, only Sunday's class counts for the final
Global Champions Tour point standings.
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