The current European and Olympic champion, and FEI world number 1, added another prestigious title to his CV by securing the top spot on the ERM podium, whilst also debuting in the series. Riding the exciting nine-year old Star Connection, Jung produced a precision timed piece of cross country riding, adding just 2.8 time penalties to his combined dressage and showjumping mark to finish on 38.5. The win for Jung was by the narrowest of margins, with 0.4 penalties separating Jung and the second rider home, Frenchman Karim Florent Laghouag, who completed on a score of 38.9.
Michael Jung, after being presented with the €19,000 first prize, commented;
“Star Connection is not the most experienced horse at this level. But he answered all the questions out there today and was brilliant.
“ERM is a super series for our sport, as it’s expensive to compete in Eventing. In addition to the excellent money the series also creates very good competition conditions and makes us as riders compete even harder. I am very grateful for the opportunity this weekend and hope to target other legs in the future”.
France second, Great Britain third on ERM podium
Second on the podium for France was Karim Florent Laghouag riding Entebbe de Hus. The French rider delivered a foot perfect and quick cross country performance, adding no time penalties to finish on a score of 38.9. The influential showjumping phase earlier in the day had proved costly for Karim, who incurred four penalties after knocking down a rail, which put paid to the chance of a second consecutive podium win for France in the 2017 ERM series.
Britain’s Oliver Townend kick started his 2017 ERM campaign finishing third with Cooley Master Class. The 2016 ERM series champion performed impressively throughout the weekend’s competition, adding no penalties to his dressage score across the jumping phases to finish on a mark of 39.1.
Oliver Townend commented;
“The challenging showjumping course provided a perfect balance this weekend. This series is the top of our sport and so it needs to be tough and up to height with a tight time. For me it’s a great step forward for Eventing and I am very grateful to the series as it certainly changed my life for the better last year”.
Donatien Schauly (FRA) riding Pivoine des Touches was the only other combination to complete the competition on their dressage score. The French rider was the highest climber on Sunday moving from twentieth after dressage to finish in seventh place on a score of 43.8.
Britain one, two on overall ERM series standings
After Leg 4, the overall 2017 ERM series standings are headed by Britain’s Gemma Tattersall on 74 points, who finished fourth this weekend riding Chico Bella P. Sarah Cohen (GBR) is in second on 69 points. Sarah has partnered with her horse Treason across three ERM legs this season, winning at Leg 2 and completing in ninth place this weekend. Thomas Carlile (FRA) who won Leg 3 last weekend sits in third on 56 points.
The Event Rider Masters continues with Leg 5 at the Festival of British Eventing, Gatcombe Park, presented by BETA on the 5th and 6th of August.
All of the action from Leg 4 can be viewed at Eventridermasters.tv. A highlights programme will be aired across global TV channels from Thursday 20th July, including Sky Sports in the UK at 7pm.