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Britain Win FEI Furusiyya Nations Cup

Last Updated: Jun 21, 2015 09:30pm
Allesley, Coventry
By British Showjumping
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It was an absolutely phenomenal day for Great Britain in Rotterdam this afternoon when they won yet another leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup competitions.

For World Class Performance Manager for Showjumping, Di Lampard, it must have been a nail-biting time during the second round as she watched Great Britain fight their way from  4th place at the halfway stage to claim the title as their own and standing on the podium to watch the Union Flag raised.  The second round had seen  the leaderboard continually changing and this afternoons competition must have been one of the most tension laden one of the season so far with spectators not knowing who had one until the very last competitor had broken the finish line.

 

First round
It was Germany that had looked set to take the honours having finished their first round on a zero penalty score with France hot on their heels with just one time penalty.  The Netherlands sat just one fence behind the leaders, whilst Great Britain positioned one point behind them.  

The time allowed of 80 seconds had certainly taken quite a few captive with time faults being picked up by a number of the field.  The need to keep the pace up,  also took its prisoners with a high proportion of the field incurring penalties when fences fell which may not have done had the riders have had the luxury of additional time.

For Great Britain, the day hadn’t looked  at first as if it would turn out as well as it did.  The team order of go had been drawn yesterday with Great Britain drawn second and it was Ben Maher from Bishops Stortford with Tatiana Korsakova’s 10 year old mare Diva II whom had been given the role of pathfinder.   However, 8 penalties being awarded to them as a result of two fences down on the course saw pressure put on the team from the outset in respect of it being made clear early on that  they needed to put in some solid performances if they were to relegate his round as the drop score. 

Joe Clee and Ludwig Criel’s 11 year old bay stallion Utamaro d’Ecaussines delivered an absolutely brilliant clear, as has become synonymous with their appearances on Nations Cup teams.  A mainstay of the team last year, this was their second appearance for the 2015 season and Utamaro looked fresh and raring to go in the way he took the course on.

Third to go for the team was 19 year-old Jess Mendoza from Chippenham, making only her second appearance at this level.  An unlucky touch at an early fence saw 4 penalties accrued in what otherwise was a faultless performance.  Their performance was an extremely solid one, with both of them making the course look easy and absolutely unfazed by it.

Michael Whitaker with the eye-catching 10 year-old grey stallion Cassionato owned by Beverley Widdowson took the role of anchor.  An consistent and confident round saw them leave all fences untouched, however stopping the clock just outside the time allowed saw a time penalty being awarded.  

 

Second Round
With all teams coming forward in reverse order, it was Germany that was last to go with France being the penultimate team.  It was clearly evident that the spectators were expecting Germany to continue their first round performances as  loud gasps were heard from the grandstands  when the first of their three riders incurred a minimum of 8 penalties apiece.  They say that competing horses keeps you grounded and this is was a definitely case in point.

This then positioned France into the lead with GB just once fence behind.  Diva’s reappearance in the arena saw her looking much more settled than in the first round and it was great to see her produce a superb clear with Ben to set the standard for the rest of the team.   

Joe Clee and Utamaro supplied GB with yet another reason to celebrate on the supporters ‘kiss and cry’ stand alongside the arena when they put in, what has almost become customary, yet another GB clear.  One of only two double clears achieved in the competition, the other being the fourth member of the German team,  their performance drew considerable praise and accolades from the live commentators broadcasting live on the competition.

For Jess and Spirit T, the third rider for team, it was hard to believe that she is just at the start of her top level international team career when you watched them take on the course like old hands.  An outstanding clear that saw all fences being cleared easily within the time allowed.  Jess’s performance was enough to ensure GB of a position no lower than 2nd  without the need for Michael and Cassionato to jump if he hadn’t wanted to.

Michael, no doubt wishing to expand Cassionato’s experience at this level decided to jump again.  An early fence down saw 4 penalties being awarded alongside a time penalty.

 

Final Position
With Great Britain having finished on their first round score of 5 penalties the tension around the entire arena  was almost as extreme as it must have been for the team as they waited for the rest of the nations to go.  

France had also had two good rounds, however this all fell apart when their third round rider Roger Yves Bost incurred some problems in the arena with Pegase du Murier.   If he had jumped clear, victory would have gone to France, and you could have heard a pin drop as Roger started his round. Looking set to produce exactly what they needed it took absolutely everyone by surprise when his horse suddenly backed away from a fence a few strides out to see them incur penalties.  Evidently unsettled they then went on to accrue further penalties  to give them a finish score of 19.  

This then threw the competition wide open with Great Britain and France going head to head as their final rider came forward.  It could have gone three ways at this stage; if Jerome Hurel their fourth rider jumped clear then France would win, if he had one down then we would be forced into a jump off position or should he have more than one fence down in terms of penalties then it would be a GB victory.

It must have been one of those moments for the GB team when time seems to stand still as they watched Jerome come forward.   At the midway mark a fence fell and a hushed silence ensued as everyone waited with baited breath for him to tackle the rest of the course.  Jumping clear, all eyes turned to the clock and it was this that became their downfall as his caution in approaching the fences saw him stock the clock just outside the time allowed to pick up two time penalties and the subsequent handing over of pole  position to the Brits.

The Grand Prix in Rotterdam takes place on Sunday 21st June at 14.30 hours local time.  For further information on the show and full results please visitwww.chio.nl.  Further information in respect of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup series can be found by visiting www.fei.org.

FEI TV broadcast the competition live and this programme will be shown at a later date on Horse & Country TV.

The British Showjumping Teams are supported by the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme. 

The World Class Development Programme underpins World Class Performance and, together with the Equine Pathway, the comprise the Equestrian World Class Programme, incorporating the three Olympic sports of dressage, eventing, Showjumping and the Paralympic sport of para-equestrian dressage.  The programme has been funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, through Exchequer and National Lottery funds, via UK Sport since 1998.

 

NATIONS CUP RESULTS
1st Great Britain  - 5
    Ben Maher/Diva – 8/0
    Joe Clee/Utamaro d’Ecaussines – 0/0
    Jessica Medoza/Spirit T – 4/0
    Michael Whitaker/Cassionato – 1/5

2nd France – 7
3rd Sweden – 10
4th Germany – 12
5th Netherlands – 13
6th Switzerland – 24
7th Belgium – 28

 

 

Photo credit:  Lewis Harding

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