Both the European Divisions of the FEI Nations Cup held tournaments over the weekend, and small margins, daring jump-offs, and home field advantage determined the outcomes and possibly the teams we’ll see in September at the Nations Cup Finals.
Olympic champions from France win big over Sweden on three must-count scores
A gritty performance saw Team France come out on top at the second leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Europe Division 1 series on home turf at La Baule today. With the same determination that saw them overcome several setbacks on the road to Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro last summer, Philippe Guerdat’s side stood firm after team-member Roger Yves Bost was eliminated for a spectacular first-round fall, and when it came down to a third-round jump-off against the clock then Kevin Staut clinched it.
“This was a great win in front of our own fans, our owners and our friends. There was so much emotion, and to win it after Bosty was in trouble, with just three of us in the second round – it was fantastic for all of us who love the Nations Cup, and I’m very proud of Reveur!” – Kevin Staut FRA
With seven of the eight competing nations all chasing qualifying points for the series Final in Barcelona, Spain in September it was always going to be a tough contest, and Sweden held sway after the first round with the only zero score, closely stalked by the Division 2 side from Belgium carrying just two faults. The French were next in line with four on the board, but closely followed by Switzerland on five and Ireland on six.
The Swedes stayed strong with a second-round clear from pathfinders Peder Fredricson and H&M Christian K, but when Malin Baryard-Johnsson (H&M Cue Channa) and Angelie van Essen (Newton Abbot) both had a fence down and anchorman Henrik von Eckermann (Copperhild) left two on the floor, their tally rose to eight. And that left them on level pegging with the French who added just the four collected by Cedric Angot (Saxo de la Cour), when both Staut (Reveur de Hurtebise HDC) and Leprevost (Flora de Mariposa) were foot-perfect once again with their Olympic rides, while the Belgians dropped out of contention.
Staut (36) led the way in the jump-off, posting a clear in 35.74 seconds despite “a lucky touch at the last”. And when Sweden’s Fredricson (45), individual silver medallist in Rio, hit the last two fences the home crowd erupted with excitement.
1. France : clear in jump-off 35.74 seconds
2. Sweden: 8 faults in jump-off in 38.92 seconds
3. Ireland: 14 faults
4. Switzerland: 18 faults
5. Belgium: 19 faults
6. Spain: 22 faults
7. Germany: 29 faults
8. Netherlands – 31 faults
Standings in Europe Division 1 after second leg at La Baule:
1. France – 190
2. Germany – 150
3. Sweden – 140
4. Spain – 100
5. Ireland – 80
6. Italy – 70
7. Switzerland – 70
8. Netherlands – 45
Ireland One-Ups Belgium in Fierce Battle in Drammen
On another day of drama and intrigue, Ireland pipped Belgium by a slim one-fault margin to win the second leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Europe Division 2 series in Drammen, Norway yesterday. When the best eight of the 13 competing nations returned for the second round it all came down to the last man into the ring, Irish army captain Geoff Curran (37), to decide the result, and it was like walking a tight-rope.
He could afford a single mistake, but an additional time fault would draw his team level with the crack Belgian side, and any more than that would see victory slip from Ireland’s grasp. So when his 13-year-old gelding, Ringwood Glen, put a toe in the water a tense silence descended on the arena.
“I had a feeling that I might have been in the water and I knew I was tight enough on time, but I kept the same plan of doing eight strides down to the last fence. It worked in the first round and thankfully again in the second, but I didn’t plan on being quite that tight to the time allowed!” – Captain Geoff Curran IRL
Crossing the line with just 0.21 seconds to spare he clinched it however. And it was a gutsy result for the side that was already in the lead at the halfway stage despite a shaky start when Alexander Butler (Hallowberry Cruz) retired at the triple combination, but bolstered by solid performances from Cameron Hanley (Quirex) and Mark McAuley (Utchan de Belheme).
The experienced Belgian foursome of Olivier Philippaerts (H&M Legend of Love), Niels Bruynseels (Gancia de Muze), Pieter Devos (Dream of India Greenfield) and Gregory Wathelet (Coree) were firm favourites to win this leg of the seven-round series, but 17 faults left them lying in a surprising sixth place after the first round. They re-grouped with only four to add second time out, but couldn’t overtake the fighting Irish when finishing with 21 faults.
Team France lined up third with 24 faults, bolstered by the only double-clear of the entire competition from anchor partnership Alexis Deroubaix and Timon d’Aure. Neither Ireland nor France were competing for points yesterday however as they both belong in the Europe Division 1 series, so Belgium maintains the lead in Division 2.
1. Ireland – 20 faults
2. Belgium – 21 faults
3. France – 24 faults
Standings, FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Europe Division 2 after round 2 in Drammen (NOR):
1. Belgium – 180
2. Great Britain – 140
3. Poland – 95
4. Czech Republic – 70
4. Norway – 70
6. Hungary – 60
7. Denmark – 55
8. Austria – 50