In 1993, Klaus Balkenhol was the only male rider to ever have won the finals of the Burg-Pokal in Nürnberg. Now, another male has made it at long last: Matthias Rath was able to win the finals in Frankfurt and in the end only could outdo one person: himself. The rider from Kronberg early took the lead of the competition with 8-year-old Danish gelding Es Fangar’s Samba King (by Sandro King) with whom he had won the qualifications in Munich. 74,561 percent received the pair and everyone thought early on that this could mean the victory. And exactly that happened. Many horses were frightened by the atmosphere of the festival hall and were not able to show their full potential. Thus Matthias Rath was in the position to be able to beat only himself when started again as the last rider with his second horse Danönchen OLD. However, he only won third place with the 7-year-old Oldenburg gelding. Second place in the competition went to Oliver Oelrich with 9-year-old Füchtels Floriscount OLD by Florencio-I.
The winner was happy about his success: “I did not anticipate that. Yesterday, we started with a big error, and we also had a flaw in the gallop. I knew that we were able to achieve more points; however, it was not clear that it would be enough for a victory.” Only at the beginning of this year it was decided that Matthias Rath would ride Samba King. The horse belongs to Rath’s wife Franziska and she usually rides him herself. However, since Franziska and Matthias are expecting their first child, it was decided that a change of rider was in order.
Oliver Oelrich also could have had the chance to be the first male successor of Klaus Balkenhol, but he had trouble to compete with Rath’s performance: “After his round it was clear that I could not play it safe. Therefore I took more risk – and that caught up with me. However, Floriscount today performed like I wanted him to. It is his first season in class s. Last year he was injured during stud service.”
Chief judge Dietrich Plewa complimented the quality of the finals: ” It is always alluring to judge the young horses. Some of them one does not know and therefore it is not always the well-established the well-established judge. And this year we had a competition of exclusively high quality. If one keeps in mind that many of the pairs have not got very high percentages due to the environmental impact, then one knows that there still are reserves and we could have had even better results.” Hans-Peter Schmidt, chairman of the Nürnberger Versicherungsgruppe and initiator of the series, was perfectly content with the finals: ” It is always the most beautiful ceremony at the end of the year and a great experience.”