Sweden First Into the Ring at Falsterbo

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FEI TV - Follow the fifth leg of the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ series at Falsterbo, Sweden LIVE on FEI TV beginning at 14.30 local time on Friday 9th July - www.feitv.org

The host nation has been drawn first to go in tomorrow's fifth leg of the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ series while the 2009 winners from Ireland will start last of the ten competing countries. 

The draw was made this afternoon, and the order-of-go is as follows:
1. Sweden; 2, Germany; 3, France; 4, The Netherlands; 5, Poland; 6, Switzerland; 7, Great Britain; 8, USA; 9, Spain; 10, Ireland.

This is a tough call for Gosta Asker's home team who are hoping to maximise their points potential with a good result.  Sweden has picked up only two points over the first four rounds of the eight-leg series and is in grave danger of relegation to the Promotional League if a dramatic improvement is not made very soon.

French Chef d'Equipe Laurent Elias was in understandably buoyant mood during today's draw press conference however.  With a strong eight-point advantage on the leaderboard over second-placed Great Britain, and with another power-house of a side at his command at the Swedish fixture, he quipped that he was very happy to be leading a group of "such good young riders" - joking in particular about the wealth of experience in his side which includes Olympic, World and European Championship veteran, 51 year old Eric Navet.

This is only the second year for Falsterbo to present a leg of the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ and American team manager, George Morris, complimented the Organising Committee for their efforts in raising the standard of the show to such a high level.  He gave special mention to Show Director Jan-Olof Wannius - "he has done a fantastic job building up this event which has developed into a world-class fixture.  The atmosphere is very relaxed for the horses - and he's even controlling the weather!" Mr Morris pointed out.

Sweden has been enjoying fabulously high temperatures with daylong sunshine and the stage is set for a great day's sport tomorrow.

Defending Champions

The Irish return as defending champions having swept to victory here last summer, but Irish Chef d'Equipe Robert Splaine was playing it low-key today.  "Last year we had a great year here, but this is a whole new year" he said.  "We are looking forward to the competition, but there's no doubt it's going to difficult" he added.  Irish confidence should be high however as they came out with all guns blazing earlier this afternoon when Capt David O'Brien won the first Grand Prix Qualifier with Mo Chroi and Dermott Lennon finished second with Tolett in the Derby Qualifier won by Spain's Pascal Levy and Late Night.

O'Brien has not been included in tomorrow's Irish side which will consist of Lennon with Hallmark Elite, Shane Breen with Carmena Z, Jessica Kuerten with Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois and Denis Lynch riding Nabab's Son.  

For further information on the fixture at Falsterbo go to website www.falsterbohorseshow.com or email Press Officer Malin Fredriksson at press@falsterbohorseshow.com - Telephone +46 40 473463.

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:
Falsterbo Horse Show presents the fifth leg of the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™
The Irish team were the winners at the Swedish fixture in 2009
Falsterbo is located at the south-western tip of Sweden.
Its lovely beaches and friendly atmosphere combine to make it a popular holiday destination for Swedish families.
The Falsterbo Peninsula is also popular with bird-watchers who come to view the many migrating flocks that stop over en route to various destinations.
Show Director at Falsterbo Horse Show is former Swedish international show jumping star Jan Olaf Wannius.

Quote: George Morris, US Chef d'Equipe - "As always, I would like to thank Meydan for their support of our sport".

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 during today's draw for the starting order in the fifth leg of the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ in Falsterbo, Sweden this afternoon were (L to R): FEI First Vice-President Sven Holmberg, Lisa Jung, Meydan Media and PR Coordinator and Jan Olof Wannius, Show Director of Falsterbo Horse Show.  Photo: Lotta Gyllensten.