New Zealand’s eventing team has had its first win in an FEI Eventing Nations Cup competition, taking the title at the Houghton International Horse Trials in the UK at the weekend.
Kiwi team riders Mark Todd with NZB Campino and Lizzie Brown with Henton Attorney General finished first and second respectively the CICO3*.
The Kiwis, all four of whom are based in Britain, established an 11-penalty lead over the second-placed German team after the Dressage phase and were never headed.
Todd led from the start to finish as the individual winner on NZB Campino, having re-routed the horse after an early mishap on the cross-country at Badminton a fortnight earlier. Compatriot Lizzie Brown, who finished second on her 2013 Boekelo (NED) winner, Henton Attorney General, was the only rider to achieve the optimum cross-country time.
Todd added just 3.6 jumping time faults to his dressage score to finish on 35.9 penalty points, and Brown added a single time fault in the show jumping to finish on 40.8.
“It was great to be part of such a cool team,” Brown said. “This is our first FEI Nations Cup win and Houghton is such a lovely event to do it at. The series is a really fun concept that brings a different competitive aspect to the event. We love it and kept the pressure on each other all weekend.”
Todd added: “It was a good competition. The course wasn’t that big but it caused a few problems here and there and the time wasn’t easy because of the heavy rain. It was a good feeling to have the Germans and Brits below us on the podium. Let’s hope it stays that way this summer!”
NZ team rider Craig Nicolai and Just Ironic added just 1.6 time faults to their dressage score from the showjumping and cross country, to move from 62nd in the dressage to 21st, while Tim Price and Haddon Trump Card moved up from 34th to 22nd with a score of 62.
The Germans, who finished second, nearly 20 penalties in arrears, were also making their first appearance in the FEI Nations Cup 2014 series.
Andreas Ostholt was third on So Is Et and 21-year-old Claas Hermann Romeike, son of the 2008 Olympic Eventing champion Hinrich Romeike, had a great debut on British soil, rising from 23rd place after Dressage to finish fifth on Cato 60.
Romeike senior was on hand to watch his son’s success and commented: “I’m so proud that Claas is part of a German team. I hope there will be plenty more championships for him.”
Great Britain, who have won their home leg for the past two years, could only manage third this time, five penalties behind Germany. Emily Llewellyn, a regular member of the FEI Nations Cup squad, was the highest placed of the quartet, in sixth place on Junior ll.
The French team who, like Great Britain, have contested every leg of the FEI Nations Cup 2014 so far, finished fourth.
France and Great Britain are now on equal points with 27 apiece. New Zealand is third on 16, with Germany and The Netherlands both on 9.
The Nations Cup Series is open to all nations, at CIO Short and Long level. The next competition in the series is in Strzegom, Poland, from June 26 to 29.
The CCI* provided a thrilling finish, with one show jump pole separating the top eight at the end of the cross-country. Lincolnshire’s Ros Canter held her nerve and her place at the top of the table to secure the win when joint leader Tim Cheffings’s ride Donateur lowered the first part of the final treble.
“I’m never confident of a win but I knew coming there that if I could get the flatwork nailed on the day, Cekatinka is a good jumper and we could do well,” Canter said. “It’s the first time I have led from the front, but being in the Nations Cup team was a great distraction and stopped me getting too nervous.”
The cross country phase had not had too big an impact on the dressage leaderboard, with only one of the dressage top 10 dropping out of the running – Tina Cook parted company from Billy The Red in the water.
Saturday’s showjumping left Tim Cheffings down from equal first to fifth and third placed Tom Rowland dropping to sixth. A clear round by Billy Cuckoo moved Pippa Funnell up in to second, and the same from Woodlander Wesuvio put JP Sheffield in the final podium placing.
In the CCI2*, which concludes with the showjumping on Sunday, Canada’s Rebecca Howard moved into the top spot after the cross-country on Xavier Faer, up from fifth. Willa Newton is second on Chance Remark, up from 11th, and dressage leader Lara de Liedekerke is now in third on Averouge des Quatre Ch Nes after picking up time penalties.
Britain’s Matthew Wright is next on Shannondale Shinawil with 52.9, and New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson fills the next two places with Urma BK (5th, 54.4) and Ulises (6th, 56.4).
The Askam Bryan College sponsored National Young Rider Championships (CCIYR2*) also finishes on Sunday. Former GB Pony and Junior medal winner Sophie Beaty and her ride Navigator lead the section after cross country on their dressage score of 44.4 having moved up the leaderboard from fourth place overnight.
Nations Cup results
1 New Zealand 138.6 penalties
Mark Todd/NZB Campino, 35.9; Lizzie Brown/Henton Attorney General, 40.8; Craig Nicolai/Just Ironic, 61.9 (Tim Price/Haddon Trump Card, 62.0)
2 Germany, 156.4
Andreas Ostholt/So Is Et, 47.0; Claas Hermann Romeike/Cato 60, 49.9; Bettina Hoy/Designer 10, 59.5 (Elmar Lesch/Lanzelot, 79.4)
3 Great Britain, 161.2
Emily Llewellyn/Junior ll, 51.1; Rosalind Canter/Zenshera, 54.1; Dani Evans/Smart Time 56.0 (David Doel/Koyuna Sun Magic, 76.0)
4 France, 176.4
Francois Lemiere/Ogustin du Terroir, 54.5; Alexis Gomez/Quartz du Lerchenberg, 60.4; Gilles Bordes/Orion de Cavalhac, 61.5; (Alix De Herce/Minx du Mane Roz, Eliminated Cross Country)