In his FEI World Cup™ debut for Australia, James Hocking secured the 3rd place finish with a total of 7.277. Together with seven year-old mare French Kiss – in her first season – and with renowned lunger Lasse Kristensen, Hocking made quite an impression.
Fourth place went to current world silver medallist Vincent Haennel (7.026) who suffered a fall and some difficulties on day one, whilst the USA representatives Kristian Roberts (6.464) and Daniel Janes (5.550) finished 5th and 6th respectively.
Fresh off the back of her 5th place finish at the series opener in Madrid last weekend, Noel got the action underway by being the first competitor to go in the female class on day one. Unperturbed by the magnitude of the home event, she threw down the gauntlet by performing a resounding rendition of her ‘Amelie Poulain’ freestyle. Together with Kirch de la Love and Kevin Moneuse she scored 8,365, the pressure was firmly on the field for the rest of the competition.
Whilst Sheena Bendixen (DEN) and Sandra Anderberg (SWE) made history for their respective nations, the day also marked ‘salto queen’ and 2015 FEI World Cup winner Lisa Wild’s (AUT) return to the World Cup stage.
After the first round Noel was positioned in the lead with the narrowest of margins, and we saw an unprecedented tie for second, with both Corinna Knauf (GER) and Carola Sneekes (NED) lying on a score of 8.333 - only a mere 0.030 behind Noel.
The competition was on!
During the second round, the horses and vaulters were noticeably more settled in the impressive Paris arena. Anderberg (7,123) and Wild (7.461) finished 5th and 6th respectively.
Unfortunately, Bendixen (DEN) suffered a fall from the horse towards the end of her freestyle, which she debuted for the first time in Paris set to the song ‘River’ by Bishop Briggs. However, it was still enough to maintain her position and finish 4th on 7.522.
Now it was down to the business end and with a mere hair separating the top three who could hold their nerve.