The French team of Laurent Goffinet, Caroline Nicolas, Marie Demonte and Cedric Angot claimed victory in the third leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Europe Division 2 League at Lisbon in Portugal on Friday night.
The first round of the competition was jumped in daylight, with round two taking place under floodlights at the Lisbon showground, and the host nation almost made it to a jump-off against the eventual winners but, in the final analysis, had to settle for joint-runner-up spot with Brazil.
From a start-list of 10 nations, just eight qualified for the second round and it was the teams from Chile and Spain that were left on the sidelines when the action recommenced. And it was tough on the Spanish as they lost out only because of a slower combined time when sharing a 16-fault total with the USA at the halfway stage.
Ireland finished fourth, Italy fifth and the USA slotted into sixth while Great Britain and Morocco, who shared the lead with Portugal at the halfway point, slotted into seventh and eight spots respectively when things fell apart for them second time out.
Only Portugal and Italy were chasing points at this leg of the series, and their second-place finish provided a good boost to the host nation’s position on the Europe Division 2 leaderboard at the end of the day.
French Chef d’Equipe and former senior team rider, Thierry Pomel, described his feelings after the exciting competition. “I like riders that fight and give their all – which is exactly what these four riders did today. As you know, the starting order of the team is extremely important and Laurent with his new horse – after an eight year absence from the Nations Cup – made it seem as though he never stopped at all. Our two female riders did not start well in the first round but made it up amazingly in the second round. At the end of the day we are a team, and we won together!” he said of what was truly a great team effort.
The course presented by Portugal’s Bernardo Costa Cabral did exactly as he intended.
“I try to ensure the difficulties are spread around the course so the horse gets a good feel for the course whilst challenging the riders at the same time. The French win was fantastic and the fact they had eight faults in the first round and clears in the second round under the floodlights with young horses – that is a greatest compliment I could have been served today,” he said.
In the second round, the British added a massive 29 faults second time out to disappear from contention while the Moroccans also went into freefall with 32 more on their scorecard.
The USA fielded a team of young riders who collected 16 faults in both rounds – Alise Oken and Teirra producing their only clear performance of the day – and it was three second-round clears that clinched it for the eventual winners.
It was all about gaining experience and getting to know new horses where the winning side was concerned, except for Demonte, who has partnered Rhune d’Euskadk for the last two years. “My horse won the Seven-Year-Old Championship in France, and at eight years we were on the winning Nations Cup team at Bratislava last year,” he said.
The French of course are defending series champions and compete for points only in Europe Division 1. Thierry Pomel said: “the show today was used as a means of preparing different horse/rider combinations with an eye towards the World Equestrian Games that are coming up.”
“As far as the French Equestrian Federation is concerned, it is their mission to send riders to the second division who need to develop their relationship and combination with their horse in order to create the next generation. Our stance in this regard – Philippe Guerdat (Chef d’Equipe) and Sophie Dubourg (French Selector) in particular – is for them to decide on the riders selected. They want to give chances to riders that show glimpses of being able to qualify for the team. Competing at these types of show is a required step in order for that to happen, and today is proof of that great achievement,” he said.
1. France 8 faults: Qantar des Etisses (Laurent Goffinet) 0/0, Mozart de Beny (Caroline Nicolas) 8/0, Rhune d’Euskadl (Marie Demonte) 8/0, Rubis de Preuilly (Cedric Angot) 0/DNS.
2. Portugal 12 faults: Zurito do Belmonte (Mario Wilson Fernandes) 4/0, Virginia Dream (Joao Chuva) 8/4, Imperio Egipico Milton (Luis Sabino Goncalves) 0/4, Contaire Z (Marina Frutuose de Melo) 0/4.
2. Brazil 12 faults: Clintash (Marlon Zanotelli)0/0, AD Jac’Potes (Stephan de Freitas Barcha) 4/34, Rissoa d’AG Bois Margot (Pedro Veniss) 4/0, Starling 7 (Bernardo Alves) 12/4.
4. Ireland 21 faults: Caribo (Thomas Ryan) 8/0, Nicos de la Cense (Niall Talbot) Elim/18, WCE Cruco (Alex Duffy) 0/9, Ringwood Glen (Capt Michael Kelly) 4/0.
5. Italy 28 faults: Quala (Massimo Grossato) 4/12, For Passion (Daniele A. Da Rios) 0/0, Adventure (Riccardo Pisani) 4/8, V (Natale Chiaudani) 4/12.
6. USA 32 faults: Bonanza do Belmone (Catherine Pasmore) 0/8, Teirra (Alise Oken) 8/0, Cade (Abigail McArdle) 20/12, Lisona (Jessica Springsteen) 8/8.
7. Great Britain 33 faults: Quincy (Jemma Kirk) 12/12, HHS Nektarina B (Emma O’Dwyer) 0/12, Kolibri Classic (Chloe Aston) 0/8, A Touch Imperious (Harriet Nuttall) 4/9.
8. Morocco 36 faults: Ondeo de Pillere (Col Hassan Jabri) 0/0, New Man Rouge (Abdeslam BennaniSmires) 12/20, Quetam des Etisses (Leina Benkhraba) 4/26, Quebec Tame (Abdelkebir Ouaddar) 0/12.