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The all-female US team stormed to victory at the fourth leg of the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ in Rotterdam today where, for the first time this season, the French did not have their way and had to settle for equal-fifth place. There was an air of determination about the winning side from the start, and with three double-clears they proved untouchable.
Great Britain's march back to the top end of the sport continued as they slotted into runner-up spot with a one-fault advantage over the third-place home team, and there was huge relief for Dutch Chef d'Equipe Rob Ehrens. "Today was so much better" he said as, at last, his riders managed to shake off the run of poor results that has left them lingering in the bottom-four relegation zone for the last few weeks. They have only moved up one place on the leaderboard however and still remain extremely vulnerable along with Switzerland, Sweden and Poland.
Germany finished fourth today while the Spanish shared fifth spot with the French and the Irish divided seventh place with Switzerland. Poland finished last yet again and were joined on the sideline by the Swedish team at the halfway stage.
Not the Biggest
"Not the biggest Nations Cup course I've ever jumped, but plenty difficult" was the verdict of US team member Lauren Hough on the track created by course-designer Louis Konickx. "No it wasn't the biggest" Mr Konickx agreed, "but some of the distances asked for control - particularly the triple combination" he pointed out.
Located at the very end of his track, this was indeed the greatest influence on the competition as many riders struggled to get their horses re-organised following the previous triple bar. It presented few problems for the American girls however. They rode with confidence down the line and only Nicole Simpson faulted for the winning side in the opening round when her handsome chestnut, Tristan, lowered the oxer going away from the in-gate at fence seven.
The British were stalking the USA closely at the halfway stage however with just two time penalties, while Dutch hearts were lifted by opening clears from Eric Van der Vleuten (VDL Groep Utascha SFN) and Harrie Smolders (Exquis Walnut de Muze) and they went into round two with just four faults on the board. France carried eight, Spain and Germany carried nine, the Irish carried 12 and the Swiss trailed the field with 16 already racked up.
British pathfinder Peter Charles has been enjoying a tremendous run of late with Murka's Pom d'Ami, and he followed his opening clear with a single time penalty second time out to keep the pressure on the US leaders. A mistake at the second element of the double at eight for David McPherson and Chamberlain Z and another for newcomer Scott Brash with Intertoy Z at the flimsy Bicycle fence that followed the open water gave the Americans more breathing space however, although they didn't need it.
Hough's Quick Study was again keen and quick, taking on that final combination with consummate ease despite what appeared to be a deep approach, and when Candice King's Skara Glen's Davos was also foot-perfect for a second time and then Simpson notched up just a time fault they had already had the win in the bag. Laura Kraut wasn't going to rest on her first-round laurels however. A zero final score is always that bit nicer than a single time penalty for any team, and there was her Grand Prix qualification to take into account as well, so she returned to the ring with her Olympic team gold medal winning ride Cedric to secure that ever-so-pleasing clean sheet.
"I was nervous out there!" Kraut said afterwards, "but my nerves kept me warm on this cold day!" Chef d'Equipe George Morris was delighted with his ladies who have now moved the USA up the leaderboard by three places - from sixth to third - "I always seem to have luck with girl power!" he admitted. This was only the fourth US victory in the history of the Dutch Nations Cup since 1948. They previously came out on top in 1968, 1978, 1997 and have now added the 2010 title to their tally. Today's team will now go on to Aachen next month while a new rotation of US riders will contest the next leg in Falsterbo in three weeks time and then the penultimate round at Hickstead and the last competition in Dublin in early August.
Rob Ehrens described himself as "relieved" by the result for the third-placed Dutch but he acknowledged that there is still a long way to go before The Netherlands can be sure of inclusion in the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ next year. "I was really happy with the younger horses today" he said afterwards, "but we have a lot to do yet - this is a very tough season". There's no doubt about that. With four teams destined for relegation its never been tougher, and there are only four more competitions in which to turn things around.
For further information on the fixture at Rotterdam go to website www.chio.nl or contact Press Officer Anita Lussenberg at Email firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel (mobile) +31621585878. The NEXT leg of the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ takes place at Falsterbo, Sweden on Friday 9 July. For details about the Swedish event go to website www.falsterbohorseshow.com or contact Press Officer Malin Fredricsson at email email@example.com
- 1, USA 0 faults: Quick Study (Lauren Hough) 0/0, Skra Glen's Davos (Candice King) 0/0, Tristan (Nicole Simpson) 4/1, Cedric (Laura Kraut) 0/0.
- 2. Great Britain 7 faults: Murka's Pom D'Ami (Peter Charles)0/1, Chamberlain Z (David McPherson) 1/4, Intertoy Z (Scott Brash) 4/4, Peppermill (John Whitaker)1/0.
- 3. The Netherlands 8 faults: Audi's Alpapillon-Armanie (Vincent Voorn) 16/0, VDL Groep Utascha SFN (Eric Van der Vleutan) 0/0, Exquis Walnut de Muze (Harrie Smolders) 0/4, HBC Tamino (Marc Houtzager) 4/4.
- 4. Germany 9 faults: Noltes Kuchengirl (Marcus Ehning) 4/0, Cellagon Lambrasco (Janne-Friederike Meyer) 1/0, Corradina (Carsten-Otto Nagel) 8/0, Gotha (Ludger Beerbaum) 4/4.
- 5. Spain 12 faults: Herald (Pilar Cordon) 5/1, Jarnac (Julio Arias) 4/1, Lord du Mont Milon (Jesus Garmendia Echeverria) 5/8, Mme Pompadour M (Sergio Alvarez Moya) 0/1.
- 5. France 12 faults: Topinambour (Penelope Leprevost) 4/5, Kellemoi de Pepita (Michel Robert) 0/0, Admirable (Marie Etter Pellegrin) 5/4, Kraque Boom (Kevin Staut) 4/0.
- 7. Ireland 24 faults: Abbervail van het Dingeshof (Denis Lynch) 8/0, Kiltoom (David O'Brien) 8/12, Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois (Jessica Kuerten) 4/4, Carmena Z (Shane Breen) 0/8.
- 7. Switzerland 24 faults: Ferrari (Steve Guerdat) 12/0, Zekina Z (Jane Richard) 4/4, Campione CH (Werner Muff) 4/4, Carlina K (Pius Schwizer) 8/5.
- 9. Sweden 21 faults in FIRST round: Lunatic (Jens Fredricson) 8, LB Paola (Henrik Von Eckermann 8, H&M Arctic Aurora Borealis (Peder Fredricson) 5, Kiara la Silla (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) 13.
- 10. Poland 26 faults in FIRST round: TMN Corlana (Jaroslaw Skrzyczynski) 5, Trojka (Antoni Tomaszewski) 8, Rotmistrz (Dawid Rakoczy) 25, Castello (Aleksandra Lusina) 13.
2010 Meydan Nations Cup™ - Standings After Round 4 in Rotterdam:
1. France - 33.5
2. Great Britain - 25.5
3. USA - 22.0
4. Germany - 21.5
5. Spain - 16.0
6. Ireland - 15.0
7. Switzerland - 9.5
8. The Netherlands - 7.0
9. Sweden - 2.0
10. Poland - 0.0
Facts and Figures:
Today's team from the USA was an all-female selection - a rare occurrence throughout the long history of nations cup jumping which is now in its 101st year.
There were five double-clear performances in the competition and three came from US riders - Lauren Hough, Candice King and Laura Kraut - while Holland's Eric van der Vleuten and Michel Robert from France also jumped two clear rounds..
The youngest horse in today's competition was the 8 year old bay Holsteiner mare TMN Corlana, ridden by Poland's Jaroslaw Skrzyczynsi.
The oldest horse was another lady, the 15 year old mare Mme. Pompadour M representing Spain with Sergio Alvarez Moya in the saddle.
There were 8 clears in the first round but 13 in the second round while three riders picked up single time faults in round one and five collected one time fault in round two.
This was the fourth US victory in the history of the Dutch Nations Cup since 1948 - they won in 1968, 1978, 1997 and now again in 2010.
US team member Nicole Simpson - "I started riding Tristan in May of 2009 and bringing him along for this kind of competition has been my goal - he was fantastic in the WEG selection trials in Florida this year. I'm based in California and I've had my horses here in Europe since April".
US team member Lauren Hough - "When I'm in Europe I am based with Rodrigo Pessoa in Belgium"
US team member Candice King - "I have my horse for the last two and a half years and my goal has always been this year's World Equestrian Games".
Meydan FEI Nations Cup™
A Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ event is organised as a five-star Nations Cup, i.e. a competition in which official teams representing nations compare their merit. At each event the teams gain points according to their placing. At the end of the 2010 season the team with the highest points wins the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ and the four teams with the lowest points are relegated to the FEI Nations Cup series (Promotional League). Two teams from the Promotional League will join the Top League in 2011.
The complete rules, latest news, results, standings and photos are on www.meydanfeinationscup.org
The World’s Top 10 Teams: France, the USA, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, The Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain, Spain and Poland.
The World’s Best Eight Venues: La Baule (FRA), Friday 14 May; Rome (ITA), Friday 28 May; St. Gallen (SUI), Friday 4 June; Rotterdam (Ned), Friday 18 June; Falsterbo (SWE), Friday 9 July; Aachen (GER), Thursday 15 July; Hickstead (GBR), Friday 30 July; Dublin (IRL), Friday 6 August.
To learn more about the FEI go to www.fei.org
To learn more about Meydan, the title sponsor of the Meydan FEI Nations Cup, go to www.meydan.ae
Photo Caption: Lauren Hough and Quick Study produced one of the three double-clear performances that clinched the win for the USA in the fourth leg of the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ in Rotterdam. Photo Credit: Dirk Caremans