Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ Hickstead (GBR)

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FEI TV - You can watch all the action live on FEI TV tomorrow afternoon, Friday 30 July, beginning at 13.45 local time - go to www.feitv.org


French First Into the Ring at Hickstead
The French, 2009 series champions and leaders throughout the 2010 season, will be pathfinders when the seventh leg of the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ series gets underway at Hickstead, Great Britain tomorrow afternoon.

The draw took place this afternoon, and the order-of-go for the penultimate leg of the 2010 series is as follows:  1, France: 2, USA; 3, Sweden; 4, Ireland; 5, Switzerland; 6, Great Britain; 7, Germany; 8, The Netherlands; 9, Spain.

John Roche, FEI Director Jumping, explained why the Polish team will not participate in the last two legs of the series.  "I'd like to pay tribute to the great effort the Polish team have put into their campaign in the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ this season.  They have enjoyed participating in the series and we have enjoyed watching them compete.  However unfortunately they cannot put a team together for the last two legs, here at Hickstead and again in Dublin next week, because they don't have a sufficient number of horses.  We are sorry to lose them - I believe we have all been filled with admiration for their sportsmanship and courage throughout this summer" he pointed out.

Pressure
The pressure is intense at this late stage of the eight-leg tournament, but the only concern the French may have is whether they can follow up their 2009 series victory by making it a double after next week's last leg in Ireland.  US Chef d'Equipe said "it's always a great pleasure to return to Hickstead - its one of my favourite venues".  The US team last won at the British venue in 2007, and he will be hoping for a good result tomorrow from his strong side which is currently holding second place on the league table.  As always however, the nation really under the spotlight is the host country, although British Chef d'Equipe, Rob Hoekstra, rejected the suggestion that his veteran squad are feeling the heat.

"I've got three riders on my team that have won 10 Hickstead Derbies between them - they're not feeling the pressure at all, but I am!" he joked.  New to the British team management role this season however, Mr Hoekstra has injected a new energy into his side which is currently lying fourth on the leaderboard.  However as third-placed Chef d'Equipe, Ireland's Robert Splaine, said "nothing is assured yet".  His team's chances of avoiding relegation to the Promotional League - the fate in store for the bottom-four teams at the end of the series - were significantly improved by the superbly executed Irish win at the last leg in Aachen two weeks ago.  However he is still feeling cautious.  "Yes, we've improved our position, but we are still not safe - there are five teams really under pressure and all these countries will be fighting for their show jumping lives tomorrow!" he said.

No Chance

The four teams currently lying in the relegation zone are The Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden and Poland, but while the latter have no chance of escaping the drop down to the second-division there is always the possibility that one of the other three could produce a late run of success that would maintain their place amongst the elite of team jumping.  That, of course, would be at the expense of one of the those presently holding a top-six position - so its still wide open, and tomorrow afternoon's penultimate leg of the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ series promises to be a mighty battle.

You can watch all the action live on FEI TV, Friday 30 July, beginning at 13.45 local time.

For further information on the British fixture at Hickstead go to website www.hickstead.co.uk or contact Press Officer Peter Jeffery at (Tel) +441273834175 or (Email) jeffery.communications@btopenworld.com

Facts and Figures
Hickstead presents the seventh leg of the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ series.
The defending champions are the German team who won in both 2008 and 2009
Due to the withdrawal of the Polish team from the last two legs of the series at Hickstead and Dublin, just nine teams will line out in Friday's competition.
The trophy awarded to the winners at Hickstead is the Prince of Wales Cup.
Germany has won the British Nations Cup on 10 occasions, but the home team has taken the honours 34 times.

2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ - Standings After Round 6 at Aachen:
1.    France - 43.5
2.    USA - 31.5
3.    Ireland  -  28.5
4.    Great Britain  - 28.5
5.    Germany  - 28.5
6.    Spain -  21.5
7.    Netherlands  - 17.0
8.    Switzerland  - 15.0
9.    Sweden  - 14.0
10.  Poland  -  0

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: Pictured at the Draw Press Conference for the seventh leg of the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ at Hickstead today were: (top) John Roche, FEI Director Jumping; Claire Walker, Sponsorship and Site Services Manager for Meydan, John Youngs, President International Ground Jury and (below) the Chef d'Equipes.  Photo: Trevor Meeks.




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