Equestrian: ‘Fairytale week’ for Kuerten with Mechelen triumph
JESSICA KUERTEN scooped maximum points in the latest leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup qualifying series in Mechelen, Belgium, yesterday when defeating a strong home-side challenge with a great performance from Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois.
From a starting field of 38, only four found the key to course designer Lucien Somers' firstround track, and Kuerten was joined in the race against the clock by three experienced Belgian riders looking to win in front of their home crowd.
The pace was set by Gregory Wathalet, as he threw down the gauntlet when clear in 40.44 seconds with Sea Coast Cortes C. Niels Bruynseels (NASA) was already behind on time when lowering the final planks, but Kuerten was on the button from the off.
Taking every risk, and her 10- year-old mare with pinpoint accuracy, she scorched across the line to set the new target at 39.94 seconds.
Kuerten, who on Tuesday also won the Queen's Cup riding Castle Forbes Cosma, said yesterday's victory sealed “a fairytale week”.
She said all her mares are “in top form” as she campaigns towards a place at the World Cup final in Leipzig next April. Yesterday's result leaves her in 11th place on the series leaderboard and well within sight of a qualifying spot.
“This is a great end to the year and I hope 2011 continues in the same vein,” she said yesterday