The Ukraine galloped to the top of the FEI Nations Cup™ European Promotional League 2012 leaderboard following victory at the fifth leg in Drammen, Norway on Saturday 23 June. Denmark had been out in front following the previous round on home turf in Copenhagen last month, but an impressive performance at the Norwegian fixture from Bjorn Nagel, Katharina Offel, Cassio Rivetti and Aleksander Onishchenko, has relegated the Danes to second spot ahead of the last leg at Gijon, Spain in early September.
This was the second Ukrainian success of the 2012 series, following their top placing at Linz-Ebelsberg, Austria in May where the same four riders completed with just six faults to take the honours. Double-clears from both Rivetti, riding Verdi, and Nagel with Niack de L’Abbaye put them in a position of strength at the Austrian fixture, and they only had to add five faults from Onishchenko and Comte D’Arsouilles in round one, and a single time fault from the anchor partnership of Offel and Vivant in the second round.
Runner-up spot here went to Brazil with 12 faults, while Canada slotted into third with 16 ahead of Mexico in fourth with 18 and Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Germany in joint-fifth with 24 faults. A total of 15 nations competed.
There were 18 countries in action at Copenhagen and the Danes seized maximum points when second to Germany which, as a Top League nation, was not entitled to collect them.
Germany’s Florian Meyer Zu Hartum (Heidegirl Wichenstein CH), Rolf Moormann (Acorte), Tim Rieskamp-Godeking (Chopin) and Patrick Stuhlmeyer (Lacan 2) completed on a zero score to take the top step of the podium, but the Danish side of Linnea Ericsson (Damgaardens Extens), Rikke Haastrup (Luganer), Thomas Sandgaard (Amarone) and Andreas Schou (Uno’s Safier) were only a fence behind when second with four faults. Ericsson and Sandgaard had uneven performances, the former flawless first time out but returning with 40 on the board in round two while Sandgaard had the drop-score of 13 in round one but made amends with a clear at his second attempt. Haastrup picked up just four faults in the first round, but the best Danish effort came from Schou and Uno’s Safier who were foot-perfect all day.
The Ukraine slotted into third when Oleg Krasyuk (Caligula), Bjorn Nagel (Quickdiamond), Aleksander Onishchenko (Comte D’Arsouilles) and Cassio Rivetti (Lord If De Chalusse) accumulated 20 faults to finish ahead of the Irish in fourth with 24 and Sweden and Qatar in equal-fifth with 28 faults each.
Decided the Result
Just a single time fault decided the result in Drammen last Saturday where The Ukraine pinned Spain and The Netherlands into runner-up spot. At the halfway stage, the opening-leg winners from Italy were sharing the lead with the Dutch and Ukrainians when all counted three clear rounds apiece, but the Danes were lurking dangerously close by, when carrying only a single time penalty.
The Italians fell apart in the second round when racking up 17 faults, and when Joep Raijmakers and Van Schijndel’s Winston were eliminated second time out the Dutch had to count the five faults picked up by Roelof Bril and Warwick. And this left them on level-pegging with the Spanish side of Paola Amilbia Puig (Prunella D’Ariel), Manuel Anon Suarez (Rackel Chavannaise), Pilar Cordon (Nuage Bleu) and Rutherford Latham (Nectar du Plessis) who added just a single second-round time fault from Suarez to their first-round four-fault tally.
The Danes meanwhile lost their grip with the addition of nine faults and had to settle for fourth while The Ukrainians made sure to stay the right side of the clock, adding just four faults from the opening partnership of Nagel and Niack de L’Abbaye to clinch it.
Meanwhile in the Challengers League, Russia and Portugal head the leaderboard following the second leg at Lisbon (POR) which this year ran at 3-Star level. The two leading nations are joined by Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Bulgaria in the battle for points, but the Portuguese were the only ones to benefit from competing on their home ground where they finished sixth of the 10 competing countries as all those ahead of them are also competing in higher-level leagues.
And the 10 points earned by Argentina at the last leg of the North and South America League at Porto Alegre in Brazil last month was enough to move them into third in the final rankings behind the runners-up from the USA and the winning Canadians who proved untouchable following their domination of the first three legs of this series.
Photo Caption: The Ukrainian team of Cassio Rivetti, Katharina Offel, Aleksander Onischchenko and Bjorn Nagel won the fifth leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ European Promotional League 2012 at Drammen, Norway on Saturday 23 June. The Ukraine now heads the league table with just one qualifying competition remaining. Photo: FEI/Mette Sattrup.