Germany won the penultimate leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Europe Division 1 series at Hickstead, Great Britain this afternoon. But it is still uncertain whether the most formidable of Jumping nations will make the cut for the inaugural Final in Barcelona, Spain in September. With just one qualifying leg remaining, in Dublin, Ireland in seven days time, it is still very much hanging in the balance.
The German victory today was clear and concise as, not for the first time in his career, anchorman Ludger Beerbaum was surplus to requirements in the second round because his sister-in-law, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, and team-mates Hans-Dieter Dreher and Marcus Ehning had already clinched it. Finishing on a four-fault score, the winning side had an eight-fault advantage over the French and US teams who shared runner-up spot, while the Irish were only fractionally further adrift in fourth when registering a 13-fault total.
It was a disappointing day for the British who, a year after their spectacular team glory on home turf at the London 2012 Olympic Games, had to settle for fifth place along with Ukraine when both sides racked up 17 faults apiece. It wasn’t a great day for the Dutch either, who slotted into seventh when putting 20 faults on the board, while Switzerland lined up last of the eight competing nations with 32 faults.
Winning team-member, Marcus Ehning, described Kelvin Bywater’s course as “not the biggest”, after he produced one of five double-clears on the day from Plot Blue. The other four came from the reigning FEI World Cup™ Jumping champions, America’s Beezie Madden and Cortes C, Britain‘s Olympic team gold medallist Scott Brash partnering the mare, Ursula, and from two of the Irish team - pathfinder Shane Breen with Cos I Can and anchorman Billy Twomey with Diaghilev.
The White Horse planks that followed the triple bar at fence two hit the floor a number of times as did both elements of the following double. Bywater included three doubles in his track, with no triple combination. The double at six also claimed a number of scalps as did the relatively innocuous-looking vertical after that, but it was the run from the open water at fence eight to the big white oxer at fence nine that produced some of the most dramatic moments as riders fought to regain control on the downhill slope between the two obstacles. A curving line to the notorious Hickstead planks at 10 then led to the final line of an oxer to a double.
Michaels-Beerbaum was the only one of the German foursome to fault first time out when her fabulous 10-year-old mare, Bella Donna, was strong on the run after the open water. But with clears from the remaining three, the Germans were already in control with the only zero score at the end of the first round. And even though the Dutch, French and Americans were just a single fence behind, and the Ukrainians were carrying only five faults, it seemed the writing was already on the wall as round two began with the Irish and British each carrying nine faults and the Swiss already lying last with 20.
The double-clears from Breen and Twomey saw the Irish rally as they only had to add one of the single errors registered by Capt Michael Kelly (Annestown) and Niall Talbot (Nicos de la Cense) second time out. Meanwhile despite Brash’s foot-perfect performance and a second-round clear for Peter Charles and Murka’s Odie de Frevent, the British crumbled when pathfinders, William Funnell and Billy Congo, had another two fences down and Ben Maher’s Olympic gold medal winning ride, Tripple X showed nothing like his usual form when adding 13 more faults to the eight collected in the first round. British Chef d’Equipe, Rob Hoekstra, said afterwards that he was disappointed in the performances of both horses, “and when two of your four are below par you just don’t stand a chance” he pointed out. Meanwhile the Ukrainian team added 12 more faults to also lose their grip, the Americans and French added eight each and the Dutch racked up 16 faults to completely disappear from the reckoning.
All this just widened the gap between the Germans and the rest, Dreher’s single mistake at the first element of the double at four having little influence after two classic exhibitions from Ehning and Michaels-Beerbaum. The Germans cruised home to clinch the Edward Prince of Wales trophy for the 13th time in the history of the British Nations Cup.
At the post-competition press conference, Chef d’Equipe Otto Becker said “my team did a fantastic job today but I’m still not so happy after St Gallen”. The German team withdrew from the third leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Europe Division 1 series due to the extremely wet weather conditions at the Swiss fixture and lost out on the opportunity to pick up points there. Each nation had pre-selected four of the eight legs for points-gathering purposes. Today it was France, Germany, Great Britain and Ukraine who were all vying for points.
The Germans returned to the fray with a win in Rotterdam (NED) followed by a third-place finish on home soil at Aachen, but today’s competition provided their final points-gaining opportunity and now they go to Dublin next week with only one purpose - to prevent some of the other nations from qualifying for the Final by placing as prominently as they can in the battle for the Aga Khan Cup, thereby clinching one of the six available places themselves. Teams can only earn the points relevant to their finishing place on any given day. And with Ehning and Michaels-Beerbaum joined by Rolf Moormann, Janne-Friederike Meyer and Patrick Stuhlmeyer, it’s going to be “Germany versus everyone else” at Dublin next week in one last thrilling clash. The four teams fighting for points at the Irish fixture will be Great Britain, Spain, Ukraine and the host nation.
This was Germany’s 13th victory in the 84-year history of the Edward Prince of Wales trophy for the Nations Cup of Great Britain. But it was Hickstead-based Irishman, Shane Breen, who earned the Furusiyya Rider of the Day award which was decided by London 2012 Olympic Games course designer Bob Ellis.
Breen was happy with Ireland’s fourth-place finish. “It’s been a great day and we are delighted” he said. “It’s been a great competition and Germany were worthy winners - they were very good and very strong on the day. The conditions were super and the course was very well built” he pointed out. Looking ahead he said “I’m very much looking forward to Dublin next week now. I hopefully have Balloon to ride in the Nations Cup, and Dublin counts as points for us - so a bit of added pressure!”
With the last points on offer, and a mighty German team determined to limit the number available to the other sides, it’s still all to play for in this one last leg. Ludger Beerbaum said today that his country has “a small chance” of making it to Barcelona - “maybe a five percent chance” he said. But Team Germany in determined mood is a formidable force at any time. And they are not going to give up without a fight.
For further information on the 17th leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2013 series at Hickstead (GBR) go to website www.hickstead.co.uk or contact Press Officer Victoria Spicer, Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +44 1273 834 175.
The next and last leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Europe Division 1 series takes place on Friday, 9 August in Dublin, Ireland . For information on the Irish fixture check out website www.dublinhorseshow.com or contact Press Officer Niamh Kelly, Tel + 353 86 3828531, Email email@example.com
1. Germany 4 faults: Plot Blue (Marcus Ehning) 0/0, Bella Donna (Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum) 4/0, Magnus Romeo (Hans-Dieter Dreher) 0/4, Chiara (Ludger Beerbaum) 0/DNS.
2. USA 12 faults: Cristallo (Richard Spooner) 16/8, Cylana (Reed Kessler) 0/8, Rothchild (McLain Ward) 4/0, Cortes 'C' (Beezie Madden) 0/0.
2. France 12 faults: Nayana (Penelope Leprevost) 0/4, Myself de Breve (Marie Hecart) 0/4, Obiwan de Pilere Jo (Marc Dilasser) 4/12, Estoy Aqui de Muze HDC (Kevin Staut) 4/0.
4. Ireland 13 faults: Cos I Can (Shane Breen) 0/0, Annestown (Capt Michael Kelly) 0/4, Nicos de la Cense (Niall Talbot) 12/4, Diaghilev (Billy Twomey) 0/0.
5. Great Britain 17 faults: Billy Congo (William Funnell) 5/8, Murka's Odie de Frevent (Peter Charles) 4/0, Ursula (Scott Brash) 0/0, Tripple X (Ben Maher) 8/13.
5. Ukraine 17 faults: Vivant (Cassio Rivetti) 0/4, Nobylis (Oleg Krasyuk) 1/12, Verdi (Ulrich Kirchhoff) 4/4, Pour Le Poussage (Katharina Offel) 4/4.
7. Netherlands 20 faults: Tobalio (Albert Voorn) 8/8, Wait and See (Michel Hendrix) 8/12, Very Nice (Timothy Hendrix) 4/8, VDL Bubalu (Jur Vrieling) 0/4.
8. Switzerland 32 faults: Landthago (Werner Muff) 8/8, Celesto (Nadja Peter-Steiner) 4/8, Windsor (Niklaus Rutschi) 8/4, LB Eagle Eye (Christina Liebherr) 8/0.
Facts and Figures:
Hickstead in Great Britain presented round 17 of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2013 series and the seventh leg of Europe Division 1.
Just one further leg of Europe Division 1 remains. It will take place in Dublin (IRL) on Friday 9 August.
4 of the 8 competing nations were battling for qualifying points towards the inaugural Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2013 Final which will take place at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain 26-29 September.
The 4 nations were France, Germany, Great Britain and Ukraine.
6 nations will qualify for the Final from Europe Division 1.
The USA fielded teams today in two different divisions of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping series. Richard Spooner (Cristallo), Reed Kessler (Cyland), McLain Ward (Rothchild) and reigning FEI World Cup™ champion Beezie Madden (Cortes C) lined out in European Division 1 at Hickstead while Catherine Pasmore (Bonanza Van Pamsel), Quentin Judge (HH Dark de la Hart), Megan Nusz (Dynamo) and Kirsten Coe (Calypso) lined out in the European Division 2 leg in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The US team won at Bratislava.
Course designer in Hickstead today was Great Britain’s Kelvin Bywater.
The youngest horse in today’s competition was the 9-year-old LB Eagle Eye competed by Christina Liebherr for Switzerland.
The oldest was the 16-year-old Plot Blue ridden by Germany’s Marcus Ehning.
Plot Blue produced one of five double-clear rounds. The other four came from Ireland’s Billy Twomey (Diaghilev) and Shane Breen (Cos I Can), Great Britain’s Scott Brash (Ursula) and America’s Beezie Madden (Cortes C).
Marcus Ehning (GER) - “It feels very good. I was first to go in our team and went double-clear and couldn’t have gone any better. I really look forward to Dublin, especially as my horse went so well today”.
William Funnell (GBR) - “Obviously on our home one we would to be very disappointed really. For myself, I was hoping to come and jump two clears and it didn’t happen. My horse didn’t jump badly but it didn’t happen – it’s always nice to win at home. Hopefully we’ve got a good team for Dublin – Nick Skelton will be back in action next week, plus Scott Brash, Ben Maher and Robert Smith so we’ve got a good solid team there – with a bit of luck things will go in the right order and its all to play for!”
Beezie Madden (USA) - “My horse felt fantastic. He loves the field and pretty much jumped ‘rub-free’ both rounds. It looked like we were right in the hunt in the first round and then wasn’t looking great in the second, but we finished on a strong note and it’s fantastic to finish in second place in the end. We qualified in our own League (North American, Central American and Carribbean League) so off to Dublin, where Cortes will do the Nations Cup and we have pretty much the same team as today with Kent Farrington taking the place of Richard Spooner”.