Beat Mändli can now add his name to those of Thomas Frühmann and Hugo Sinom in the history books at the Vienna Municipal Hall in Austria. On Nov. 9-13, at the Vienna CSI, Mändli scored his third win (and second consecutive win) in the Mercedes Wiesenthal Grand Prix.
And with the top check, Mändli has reason to believe that he has another top mount for the future, with the Mecklenburg-bred, gray gelding Principal (by Prinz Oldenburg). “I’ve ridden him for 21ï¿½2 years, now. In the Super League Nations Cup at Lucerne [Switzerland] this summer we achieved a double clear round,” Mändli said.
“I guess he could become even better than Ideo du Thot [with whom Mändli was third in the 2006 FEI World Cup Final]. Principal is a compact horse, who might look a bit heavy, but is full of energy and has the caution, competitiveness and the sensitivity of a Thoroughbred. My aim is to move up during the indoor season into the top 10 of the [Gandnini/FEI] world rankings. This counts more for me than a single Grand Prix victory. Of course, I want to qualify for the World Cup Final and for the Swiss team of the 2007 European Champion-ships as well.”
Mändli, of Switzerland, successfully defended his Vienna victory of last year ahead of his fellow countryman Daniel Etter. Third place went to the young German rider Daniel Deusser.
Frühmann, who with The Sixth Sense is the highest money earning show jumper of the 2006 season, had to settle for sixth. As the last to go in the eight-horse jump-off, he looked to be on the way to another blue, but he shaved the turn to a vertical too sharp and had the rail down.
Competition in Vienna was also notable for some absences. Austrian Jurgen Krackow broke his heel bone earlier in the show while jumping on his own feet in the ride and drive class. It looks as though he won’t be back in action until February. Fellow Austrian Anton-Martin Bauer underwent surgery for an injured knee the week before Vienna.
For 25-year-old Deusser, third place in Vienna was another major result. Deusser won the Grand Prix CSI-W in Helsinki (Switzerland) and placed second in the Grand Prix CSI-W in Oslo (Sweden) in the month prior aboard the 9-year-old, Belgian-bred gelding Upsilon d’Ocquier.
Deusser had worked in Franke Sloothaak’s barn for 41ï¿½2 years, but in June 2006 he moved to the barn of Jan Tops at Valkenswaard in the Netherlands. The world rankings’ leader, Marcus Ehning, had one rail down in the first round of the grand prix aboard his 2003 FEI World Cup champion, Anka, after winning the grand prix qualifier two days before. World Champion Jos Lansink took seventh aboard Ta Belle van Sombeke with a rail down in the jump-off. Lansink had to scratch his World Champion Cumano at Vienna because the stallion incurred a minor injury.
The Vienna CSI also plays host to the longest indoor course in the world–the Vienna Indoor Derby, which is 16 obstacles over 680 meters. Germany’s Thomas Muehl-bauer and Asti Spumante prevailed after being one of only four of the 38 starters to qualify for the jump-off. Muehlbauer and the 11-year-old Oldenburg stallion were first to jump-off and went clear in 36.04 seconds. With his fast ride over the more derby-like obstacles, the 35-year-old hotel owner from the Bavarian town of Liebenstein put more pressure on his competitors than they could handle.
“The Derby victory is one of my greatest successes, so far. Asti Spumante hasn’t got the highest basic speed, so it is not too easy to win a jump-off with him. But today everything worked out perfectly in the jump-off for us,” he said.