The last qualifying leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ 2013 series certainly lived up to expectations with thrills, spills and a gripping battle before Brazil won through and Austria clinched the only remaining qualifying spot for the series Final. France and Switzerland shared second place ahead of a courageous British side who didn’t have the easiest of days. But for the host nation it was an emotional afternoon as they went into the second round jointly in the lead, but lost their chance in the very closing stages to finish fifth.
There were two separate plots unfolding throughout the competition. The first was the battle for supremacy on the day, and the second was the battle for that tantalising last remaining place available to just one team from the Europe Division 2 league at the inaugural Furusiyya Final which will take place in Barcelona, Spain in two weeks’ time. Austria, Italy and Poland all started today with a chance of making it to sunny Spain, and with the greatest number of points as today’s competition began, their sixth-place finishing spot would ensure it was the Austrians who would make the cut.
Clever course-building set the stage for a thriller from start to finish. As course designer, Italy’s Uliano Vezzani, said afterwards it wasn’t easy to find the right balance for riders and horses with such a wide range of experience. Some were making their Nations Cup debut while others were very seasoned campaigners. The course tested them all however, and Sweden’s day started with a big surprise when Rolf-Goran Bengtsson’s 10-year-old stallion, Clarimo ASK, declined to go any further than the first fence in the opening round. To the crowd’s amazement the very handsome grey horse stopped halfway between the opening vertical and the following triple bar, possibly having taken a dislike to the nearby lake which is one of a number of derby-course features in Arezzo’s lovely Boccaccio Arena.
The vertical at fence three stood a full 1.60m tall and a right-hand turn then brought them down to the oxer at four and the following triple combination with a one-stride distance between each element at fence five. From there it was left-handed to the red oxer at six and a roll-back to the open water at seven. It was here that the opening round for Britain’s last-line partnership of Matthew Sampson and Lennox Luis came to an end. The grey gelding refused to go down to the water and when Sampson tried to encourage him the horse was having none of it and the rider ended up on the floor.
Vezzani set them the traditional test of accuracy after the open water with two fences on a snaking line. The first was a not-inconsiderable oxer, 150m x 150m, and then a gate of narrow white planks that headed towards the arena entrance. Time and again horses ran strongly to the oxer and riders couldn’t gather them up enough to adjust their angle in order to meet the white planks on a good stride. This proved the bogey fence of the day.
The following double, oxer to vertical, also proved influential when horses were distracted by passing the entrance, while the penultimate oxer was followed by a right-hand turn down the side of the arena to the final water-tray vertical. A number of riders made it all the way there only to make a last-minute mistake.
Ireland’s day got off to a bad start when Capt Michael Kelly’s Drumiller Lough pulled up very lame after stopping at the second element of the triple combination. There was relief all round however when his Irish army groom quickly spotted that the front shoe had slipped back so that the horse then stood on the clip. Once the shoe was removed the 10-year-old gelding left the arena feeling a lot better. But this didn’t help Irish chances and when they were drawn level with Colombia on 12 faults at the end of the first round they lost out on a place in round two by just 0.83 seconds.
Belgium, Poland and The Netherlands also sat it out during the second round when just eight of the 12 starting nations returned, with Italy, France and Brazil holding sway at the top of the order when each carrying four faults and Austria, Switzerland and Sweden just a fence behind carrying eight. The British returned carrying nine ahead of Colombia with 12.
And it turned into a gargantuan battle between the leading teams, with a great start for the host nation when Luca Maria Moneta and Neptune Brecourt went clear to match the second-round effort of Brazilian openers, Rodrigo Pessoa and Citizenguard Cadjanine Z.
The French began to slip with a double-error from David Jobertie and Quastor de la Vallee, and four faults from each of the remaining team members saw them adding 12 to their tally which seemed likely to leave them well out of the reckoning on a final score of 16 alongside the Swiss. But there was a lot more excitement to be played out.
It was still neck-and-neck between Brazil and Italy, Eduardo Menezes, making his Nations Cup debut for Brazil, lowering only the vertical at fence three with Calavda before Italy’s Filippo Moyersoen and Loro Piana Canada hit the second element of the double at 10. But Roberto Turchetto and Baretto got into a muddle at the third fence and also hit the troublesome vertical at nine to return with a total of 10 faults including time which left the Italians very vulnerable. And when Alvaro de Miranda and AD Uutje hit only the final fence and then Marlon Zanotelli delivered the second part of the only double-clear performance of the day with Clouwni it was clear that Brazil would finish with a total of just eight faults.
Now it was left to Italian veteran, Juan Carlos Garcia, to save the day and force a jump-off by going clear. But the home crowd groaned as Prince de la Mare hit the second element of the triple combination, the oxer at six and the second element of the double at ten for a total of 12 faults which proved the second-round discard. The Italian finishing score of 14 would only be good enough for fifth place and suddenly their hopes of getting to the Furusiyya Final were gone.
Austria enjoyed a much steadier day, adding four-fault scores from Dieter Kofler (Glock’s Prince de Vaux), Julia Kayser (Sterrehof’s Ushi) and Stefan Eder (Chilli van Dijk NRW) and therefore discarding the 17 collected by Astrid Kneifel (Royal des Bisson) to complete alongside the Swedes on a 20-fault final scoreline. And Chef d’Equipe, Thomas Istinger’s side are now on the road to Barcelona along with Sweden and Belgium from the Europe Division 2 league.
Italy’s plunge down the order saw the French and Swiss rise to joint-runner-up spot with their 16 faults apiece while the British finished a very close fourth with 17 at the end of the day despite finishing with only three team scores after a second elimination for Matthew Sampson. The Swiss team consisted of Martina Meroni (Socrates ll), Fanny Queloz (Celtic), Barbara Schnieper (Ragrusa H) and Claudia Gisler (Touchable).
The Brazilian team, led by Chef d’Equipe Jean-Maurice Bonneau, were understandably delighted with their result. And there was the sense of the start of a new era for this country today. A combination of great experience and rising talent suggests this team could be a real force for the future.
Alvaro de Miranda said, “I’m very pleased to be part of this team. These three (his team-mates) are very good riders and it’s great to have new people on the team like Marlon. He has always been one of our greatest talents in Brazil and he fought hard to get here. Also Rodrigo is here with a horse with some potential but the mare is not easy - but an accomplished rider like Rodrigo is a great man to have on our team. I saw Eduardo in the States (USA) and he jumped some brilliant rounds there. He did a beautiful clear in the first round”.
Pessoa talked about today’s test. “The course in general was very good” he said. Describing the line of fences from the water to the vertical at fence nine he pointed out “it’s difficult always after a water, there are always problems and today there were a lot of difficulties running to the oxer and then the white gate which was close to the exit gate. But horses jumped well and the ground conditions were good. We were the lucky winners and I’m delighted with our performance in general” he added.
Menezes said he was “very pleased and honoured to be in this team. This was my first Nations Cup ever!” but it was Zanotelli’s double-clear that really impressed today.
He said “I was given a great opportunity to come here and I’d like to thank Doda (Alvaro de Miranda) and Athina (Onassia de Miranda), Jos Lansink and my boss for their confidence in my and to our Chef d’Equipe also”. The young Brazilian rider has been working with horse-dealer and producer Enda Carroll at Ashford Farms in Belgium for over two years having previously worked with Belgian international rider Ludo Philippaerts.
“This horse was bought in a half-share by Athina and Doda along with my boss and Jos Lansink. He (Clouwni) was about to be sold when Doda and Athina stepped in after we jumped really well in the Grand Prix at Chantilly. We want to keep him for the WEG (World Equestrian Games in 2014) and because we want to build a strong team for the future. And of course we have an even bigger goal - Rio in 2016!” he pointed out with a big grin.
That’s the future. For today it was a great victory on Italian soil and the perfect end to the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ 2013 qualifying series. All that remains now is to see which country will take the spoils at the inaugural Final in Spain where 18 nations will battle it out before the brand new trophy is awarded.
For further information on the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping qualifying leg at CSIO 3* San Marino Arezzo, Italy go to www.csiosanmarinoarezzo.com or contact Press Officer Caterina Vagnozzi, Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +39 335 610 7070.
The inaugural Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final will take place at Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain from 26-29 September 2013. For all information on the Spanish fixture go to website www.csiobarcelona.com or contact Press Officer Isabel Suter at Email email@example.com or Tel +34 760 258 222.
1. Brazil 8 faults: Citizenguard Cadjanine Z (Rodrigo Pessoa) 4/0, Calavda (Eduardo Menezes) 0/4, Ad Uutje (Alvaro de Miranda) 4/4, Clouwni (Marlon Zanotelli) 0/0.
2. France 16 faults: Quastor de la Vallee (David Jobertie) 4/8, Mozart de Beny (Caroline Nicolas) 0/4, Carlitto van't Zorgvliet (Anne Sophie Godard) 0/4, Looping d'Elle (Aymeric Azzolino) 4/4.
2. Switzerland 16 faults: Socrates ll (Martina Meroni) 8/0, Celtic (Fanny Queloz) 0/4, Ragrusa H (Barbara Schnieper) 4/4, Touchable (Claudia Gisler) 4/Ret.
4. Great Britain 17 faults: Ingliston Twister (Joseph Clayton) 0/4, Quiet Easy (Chloe Aston) 4/4, Wonder Why (Spencer Roe) 5/0, Lennox Luis (Matthew Sampson) Elim/Elim.
5. Italy 18 faults: Neptune Brecourt (Luca Maria Moneta) 4/0, Loro Piana Canada (Filippo Moyersoen) 0/4, Baretto (Roberto Turchetto) 16/10, Prince de la Mare (Juan Carlos Garcia) 0/12.
6. Sweden 20 faults: Clarimo ASK (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) Elim/4, Titan (Emma Emanuelsson) 8/4, Baltimore (Malin Baryard-Johnsson) 0/4, H&M Cash In (Peder Fredricson) 0/8.
6. Austria 20 faults: Glock's Prince de Vaux (Dieter Kofler) 4/4, Sterrehof's Ushi (Julia Kayser) 4/4, Royal des Bissons (Astrid Kneifel) 17/17, Chilli van Dijk NRW (Stefan Eder) 0/4.
8. Colombia 28 faults: Canagan du Mont (Rene Lopez) 4/8, Fara van de Malta Hoeve (Mauricio Ruiz) 0/4, Zanakta (Andres Penalosa) 8/12, Zorina VDL (Carlos Lopez) 9/4.
9. Ireland 12 faults IN FIRST ROUND: Drumiller Lough (Capt Michael Kelly) Ret, Living the Dream (Alex Duffy) 0, Flinstone de Tijl (Hayley Dunne) 12, Nicos de la Cense (Niall Talbot) 0.
10. Belgium 16 faults IN FIRST ROUND: Quarco de Kerambars (Rik Hemeryck) 12, Emilie de Diamant (Jan Vinckier) 12, Allegro C van de Donkhoeve (Koen Veeecke) 4, Loro Piana Once de Kreisker (Philippe Le Jeune) 0.
11. Poland 20 faults IN FIRST ROUND: Abigej (Mrek Lewicki) 12, Zoewja (Krzysztof Ludwiczak) 8, Centino du Ry (Igor Kawiak) 4, Calus (Aleksandra Lusina) 8.
11. Netherlands 20 faults IN FIRST ROUND: Alex (Maureen Bonder) 8, Popcorn (Aniek Poels) 12, Zambezi (Amber Fijen) 20, Gestion Priamus Z (Vincent Voorn) 0.
Facts and Figures:
12 nations competed in today's last qualifier in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2013 inaugural series - Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, Great Britain, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.
This was also the 10th and final round of the Europe Division 2 series.
Four countries were chasing points - Austria, Italy, Poland and Sweden. The Swedish team were already qualified for the Final along with Belgium.
Following today's competition, 3 nations from Europe Division 2 have qualified for the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final which will take place at Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain from 26 to 29 September - Belgium, Sweden and Austria.
A total of 18 nations will compete at the Barcelona Final.
Course designer for today's competition was Italy's Uliano Vezzani.
12 fences, 15 jumping efforts on the first-round course with two fences standings at 1.60m - the vertical at fence three and the final water-tray vertical.
Just one double-clear performance - from Brazil's fourth-line rider Marlon Zanotelli with Clouwni.
Today's event took place at Arezzo Equestrian Centre in Tuscany, Italy.
CSIO 3* San Marino Arezzo sees the renewal of the hugely popular San Marino international fixture previously staged at Modena between 1991 and 2001 and organised by the team of the late Maestro Luciano Pavarotti.
Uliano Vezzani, Course Designer: “it’s not easy to build a course for so many different riders and horses but was very happy because the horses jumped very, very well, there was a good result and I was very happy with the competiiton”.
Carlo Bernardini, OC CSIO San Marino Arezzo - “I’d like to thank Jean Maurice Bonneau because we were very excited to get the call to say there would be a great Brazilian team coming to Arezzo. We had a great result today, until the very last horse in the second round everyone in Italy was waiting for the result!”
John Roche, FEI Jumping Director - “it is a great pleasure to be in Arezzo for the 12th edition of CSIO San Marino which was previously organised in Modena by Maestro Luciano Pavarotti. Just a few days ago, on 3 September, the Republic of San Marino celebrated it 1,712th birthday! San Marino is the oldest Republic in the world and the third-smallest country in Europe - only Vatican City and Monaco are smaller. I’d like to thank the Organising Committee at Arezzo for taking the initiative of bringing this great show back into the international calendar”.