FEI TV - Review the action from the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ Promotional League final in Barcelona on FEI TV - www.feitv.org
Denmark will join the elite group of countries in the 2011 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ series following a clear-cut victory in the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ Promotional League Final at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain today.
The 5-Star Spanish fixture was dogged by appalling weather conditions which led to the transfer of several of the classes from the main arena to the sand-ring located behind the stables, and riders today faced the unusual task of jumping their two Nations Cup rounds over two different courses in two different arenas. But nothing could throw the Danish contingent off their stride and, boldly leading the way at the halfway stage, they stood firm to confidently earn their place in the top-level series next season.
"We are a small country, but this is a young team with some good new horses and we made qualification for the top-level series our goal from the very start of the year - so we are delighted with what we have achieved!" said Danish anchor-rider, 29 year old Tina Lund afterwards.
The winners finished with just 12 faults, while Spain and Canada each completed with 16 and were only separated by the clock, the host country slotting into runner-up spot. Italy was fourth ahead of Norway in fifth, Austria in sixth, Finland in seventh and Hungary in eighth place.
Torrential rain led to the postponement of Friday night's Grand Prix which was eventually staged in the sand ring, originally put in place as the training area for the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. By then however it was clear that, despite every effort, the main grass-ring would not stand up to two rounds of competition today, so the first round took place on sand before riders moved onto the grass for the closing stages in front of a capacity crowd.
There were eight first-round clears, and both Denmark and Norway had two apiece. However it was the Danes who held the advantage with a four-fault score-line going into round two after foot-perfect runs from pathfinder Andreas Schou (Uno'S Safier) and anchor rider Tina Lund (Zamiro) and only single errors from both Emilie Martinsen (Caballero) and Thomas Sandgaard (Rubber Ball). The Norwegians were hampered by a 12-fault result from their final rider Stein Endresen (Hoyo de Monterey) which meant that Geir Gulliksen's eight faults with L'Espoir had to be included. Norway was however lying joint-second with Canada, Italy and Spain with just those eight faults as round two got underway, while Finland was close behind in sixth place with 12 faults ahead of Austria in seventh carrying 16 and Hungary already last on the leaderboard with a total of 24 faults.
The Hungarians and Finns chose not to present their final riders in round two, but Austria's pathfinder Stefan Eder (Cilli Van Dijk) went clear and despite a 32-fault result for Wolfgang Otschmaier's Royal King of Darkness the Austrians completed to register a final score of 36. At the sharp end however, the real battle was played out between the Spanish, Canadians and Danes after Norway plummeted down the order when adding 16 more to their tally and the Italians also lost their grip when adding 12. A very nice clear from the final Spanish partnership of Jesus Garmendia and Moon Mail secured their total at 16, but Spain was not competing today for a place in next year's elite series. The host nation was competing only for the honour and glory, as Spain was relegated from the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ series last August and must now attempt to re-qualify through the 2010/2011 FEI Promotional League Series.
Canada's Jenna Thompson and Zeke had produced one of those important first-round clears but left two on the floor over the second-round grass track as did Denmark's pathfinders Schou and Uno'S Safier, and when the clear round produced by the Canadian second-line partnership of Yann Candele and Atlete Van t'Heike was mirrored by Denmark's Emilie Martinsen and Caballero then then status quo remained. Next in for Canada was Keean White with Celena Z who faulted only at the very first fence which proved quite influential in this closing round, but when Thomas Sandgaard and the aptly-named Rubber Ball jumped clear for Denmark then all the pressure was on the final Canadian duo of Ian Millar and Star Power.
A clear from the 63 year old master would ensure his country would finish on a score of 12 and force Lund to return to the ring to decide the end result. But the living legend's nine year old gelding clipped the vertical at fence seven on the 11-obstacle track to bring Canada's total to 16, so Lund's contribution was not required as the Danish total stood at just 12.
"Coming from the sand to the grass was difficult for a lot of the horses and some of them jumped a bit spooky in the second round but what about young Emile Martinsen!" said Lund afterwards. Martinsen had indeed been most impressive with her fabulous Champion du Lys 10 year old stallion Caballero on only her second Nations Cup outing when picking up just four faults over the two rounds. "She has just been crowned Danish champion and this is such a good horse - I'm really pleased for her" said the very happy Miss Lund who added, "Andreas's stalion is only young too, and he was fantastic while Thomas (Sandgaard) also did a great job and my own mare, Zamiro - well I can always rely on her!" she pointed out.
Lund also paid tribute to Danish Chef d'Equipe Achaz Von Buchwald. "He has been our Chef now for about five years and he has done a lot for the team. For ten years before that we had not won a Nations Cup but now we are winning a lot and we owe him a great deal for bringing us back to our best" she said.
The Danish team will need to be at their best to cope with life in the 2011 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ series in which they will lock horns with Belgium, France, the USA, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany and The Netherlands, but Lund said she and her team-mates are eagerly anticipating the challenge. "We want to be up there with the top nations and now we have earned our place. We know it won't be easy, but we are looking forward to it and we will be giving it everything we've got" she insisted.
1. Denmark 12 faults: Uno's Safier (Andreas Schou) 0/8, Caballero (Emilie Martinsen) 4/0, Rubber Ball (Thomas Sandgaard) 4/0, Zamiro (Tina Lund) 0/DNS.
2. Spain 16 faults: Gold Digger (Alfredo Fernandez-Duran) 4/8, Cashmire (Cristina Toda) 0/4, Just Cruising (Natalia Golding) 4/4, Moon Mail (Jesus Echevarria Garmendia) 4/0.
3. Canada 16 faults; Zeke (Jenna Thompson) 0/8, Atlete Van t Heike (yann Candele) 4/0, Celena Z (Keean White) 8/4, Star Power (Ian Millar) 4/4.
4. Italy 20 faults: Loro Piana Quinta Roo (Lucia Vizzini) 0/12, R-Gitana (Fabio Brotto) 4/0, Neptune Brecourt (Luca Maria Moneta0 4/4, Lagerfeld (Giuseppe D'Onofrio) 4/8.
5. Norway 24 faults: Blue Loyd 12 (Nina Braaten) 0/16; L'Espoir (Geir Gulliksen) 8/4, Coquette (Nicholai Lindbjerg) 0/4, Hoyo de Monterey (Stein Endrsen) 12/8.
6. Austria 36 faults: (Chilli VanDijk (Stefan Eder) 8/0, Royal King of Darkness (Wolfgang Otschmaier) 8/32, Lassergut Moon de Reis (Claudia Neureiter) 12/12, Lualdi (Christian Schranz) 0/8.
7. Finland 44 faults: Qui Vivra Verra (Satu Liukkonen) 12/20, Eafons Escape (Anna-Julia Kontio) 0/4, Calandro (Sebastian Numminen) 8/8, Talent (Nina Fagerstrom0 4/DNS.
8. Hungary 60 faults: Sissi (James Wingrave) 8/4, Laslui (Mariann Hugyecz) 12/8, Santiago (Gyula Szuhai) 16/24, Moosbachhofs Goldwing (Sandor Szasz) 4/DNS.
FEI First Vice-President, Sven Holmberg - "Congratulations to the Danish team for a great performance - we look forward to meeting them in the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ series next year"
FEI First Vice-President, Sven Holmberg - "I want to say a very big "thank you" to our partners of the last two years - Meydan - and we are looking forward to further co-operation with them in the coming years".
FEI First Vice-President, Sven Holmberg - "I would like to thank the organisers here at Barcelona for doing such a great job here this weekend. They showed great professionalism in very difficult circumstances created by the terrible weather conditions".
Daniel Giro, Show Director CSIO Barcelona - "I'd like to thank Meydan for their second year of partnership with the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ Promotional League Final here in Barcelona"
Edualdo Bonet, President Real Club de Polo, Barcelona - "The city of Barcelona really enjoys hosting this great competition and the people of Barcelona always enjoy attending this show".
Website: For further details on the fixture at Barcelona visit website www.csiobarcelona.com
Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ 2011
The result of this weekend's event in Barcelona will decide the final qualifying place for the 2011 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ in which eight nations will compete. Already qualified for next year's top-level series are Belgium, winners of the 2010 FEI Nations Cup™ series, and the top six teams from the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ - France, USA, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany and The Netherlands.
Photo Caption: The second round clear jumped by Emilie Martinsen and Caballero helped Denmark to victory in the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ Promotional League Final in Barcelona, Spain today. Photo: Nacho Olano.