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British Showjumpers finish 8th

2013 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup series

Last Updated: Sep 29, 2013 08:33pm
Stoneleigh, Warwick
By Maria Clayton
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The Final of the 2013 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup series took place in Barcelona, Spain this afternoon with the sports highest ever prize fund of €1.5million at stake.

The superb all-weather surface at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona was bathed in sunshine with spectators coming out in force and packing the grandstands with no seats left empty.   Friday had seen the eighteen qualified nations come forward for the first leg of the Final with them all hoping to finish in the top eight for their place in today’s second and final leg.

The eight teams to have qualified were Brazil, The Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, France, Great Britain, Canada and the Ukraine.  The Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup series is in its inaugural year and it has certainly brought a new level of excitement and drama to the sport in addition to the sports richest prize fund at any one competition.

Great Britain
 The competition this afternoon saw all eight nations put forward a team of four.  Starting with zero penalties and a clean slate it was a level playing field for all competitors where only the three lowest scoring penalty rounds would count.

Rob Hoekstra, World Class Performance Manager for Showjumping fielded the same team as the one he had put forward on Friday.  Namely World Number One rider,  Ben Maher and his own and Quainton Stud’s Tripple X III, the horse with whom he won Team Gold at the London 2012 Olympics.  Michael Whitaker and his own Viking V an 11 year old Chestnut gelding with whom he secured a Team Gold at the European Championships recently in Herning Denmark.   Louise Saywell and the grey mare Hello Winner IV alongside Scott Brash and the 12 year-old bay mare Hello Ursula, both horses of which are owned by Lady Kirkham and Lord and Lady Harris.   

With Great Britain having been on such a winning streak for the past twelve months, this afternoon certainly illustrated that the sport will always be peppered with highs and lows.  Spectators would have been forgiven for favouring GB to win at the outset, however sadly that wasn’t to be as it was an 8th place finish with the team finishing on a total of 21 penalties as their final score.

It was France that took honours with Brazil hot on their heels in second place and Ireland taking third.

Scott Brash 
Although finishing in 8th place, there was still much jubilation in the British camp with team anchor Scott Brash producing a brilliant clear to mirror his performance in Friday’s first leg of the competition.   With a Double Clear Prize Fund of €200,000 being offered to all riders jumping a clear across both legs of the final it meant that Scott had bagged himself €100,000 by being one of the only two combinations to put in a faultless performance across both days.

 

Reflection
Talking to Rob Hoekstra, World Class Performance Manager for Showjumping, after the event he commented “This was a big course today, it was really big, as big as the European Championships.  It would naturally have been nice to win, but we have to just put it behind us and say it wasn’t our day today.    Tripple X was a little disappointing but horses aren’t machines and you have to accept that they will have good and bad days.  Viking wouldn’t have given Michael the easiest of rounds and was a little tricky resulting in Michael losing a stirrup halfway round the course.

“Louise and Winner have certainly impressed me. This would have been the biggest course they have tackled and I’m incredibly proud of them both, it was a huge step up for them.  Ursula, well she was brilliant which goes without saying when you consider she was only one of two horses to jump a double clear here in Barcelona.  I can confidently say that Scott now has a second Championship horse alongside Hello Sanctos which is something we’ve been working towards.   Producing more championship horses and riders has always been my objective and it has always been about given them as many opportunities as possible.  When I bear that in mind, then I’m really pleased with what we’ve achieved.  Our next big target is the World Games next year”.

This brings the 2013 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup series to a close for Great Britain until May next year when the 2014 series opens in La Baule, France.  Further information on the final can be found by visitingwww.csiobarcelona.com or for more information on the series please visit www.fei.org

The British Showjumping Teams are supported by Exchequer and National Lottery funding via UK Sport.

RESULTS

1.            France 8
2.            Brazil    9
3.            Ireland 9
4.            Netherlands 12
5.            Belgium 16
6.            Canada 17
7.            Ukraine  20
8.            Great Britain 21
                Ben Maher/Tripple X III - 12 penalties
                Michael Whtiaker/Viking V - 9 penalties
                Louise Saywell / Hello Winner IV  - 12 penalties
                Scott Brash / Hello Ursula - CLEAR

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