Germany galloped to victory at the seventh and penultimate leg of Europe Division 2′s Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2014 series in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Saturday.
It was a contrast for the country, whose team endured a bruising encounter in the Europe Division 1 leg in Dublin.
A total of 13 nations signed up for Bratislava, and it was a clear-cut affair with the winners finishing a full fence ahead of Switzerland in runner-up spot while the Canadians were another three faults adrift when lining up third. Team USA pipped Brazil and the host nation of Slovakia for fourth place by just a single fault when posting 20 in total, and Austria lined up seventh with 24 ahead of Czech Republic in eighth place on a total of 29 faults.
There were six nations competing for points towards the Furusiyya 2014 Final – Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Slovakia and Turkey – and the hosts claimed the maximum 100 as the highest placed of these, thereby moving up the overall standings to third place.
Just eight teams returned for the second round, and it was Turkey, France, Finland, Hungary and Slovenia who missed the cut. There were three double-clear performances on the day.
The Germans established the lead in the first round and then held off a strong challenge from the Swiss and Canadians to post their win.
Course designer, Eduard Petrovic from Croatia, commented that the standard at this year’s CSIO 3* was noticeably better, and that he built his track accordingly.
“Last year we experienced a significant improvement in the nations that fielded teams and this year was even better!” he said.
Petrovic started working on the course last December, but a heavy rainstorm last weekend threatened to undo it all. Fortunately however the flooding receded and the ground recovered in time.
“I had to put the poles a bit higher this year as the level of the riders was even better,” he said. “It is my fifth year here and it’s certainly the toughest course I have set up since I started working on the show in Bratislava. My work is only to try to create the drama, but it is up to the riders to put the show and they did exactly that today!” he said.
German Chef d’Equipe, Seemann Eberhard, was in buoyant mood after Germany’s 11th win in Bratislava.
“It’s a good feeling to win here because it is always very nice to win a Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup qualifier, it’s always something special. Today we were really good in the first round, but the second round was tight and we had to battle hard against both the Swiss and Canadians. In the end, we are very happy to win this class,” he said.
He talked about the strategy behind competing at Bratislava from a German perspective. “It is all about giving the younger riders the opportunity to gain some international experience. Laurence (Greene), for example, is competing in his first ever Nations Cup – it’s all about setting these riders up for the future.
“Bratislava is a great show in the East, it’s one of the best ones and it’s quite tough but a good place for young riders nevertheless, especially those that don’t have many chances to get involved in the international sport,” he added.
For the teams in Europe Division 2 now, it is right down to the wire. Norway still heads the leaderboard going in to the last round of this qualifying series at Arezzo, but the Italian hosts will be one of eight nations chasing those last remaining qualifying points when the action gets under way on September 19, and it’s bound to be a fierce fight to the finish.
The Norwegians have used up all their points-chasing chances, so a win for Italy would see them move to the top of the table from which just two nations will qualify for the much-anticipated Final. And should Slovakia come out on top then they would be on level pegging with Norway, so it’s still all to play for as the qualifying season draws to a close.
1. Germany 4 faults: Che Guevara (Joerg Oppermann) 0/0, For Success (Kleis Thomas) 0/4, Arrivederci 7 (Lawrence Greene) 0/4, Chap 47 (Heiko Schmidt) DNS/0.
2. Switzerland 8 faults: PSG Future (Martin Fuchs) 4/0, Oceane de la Taille CH (Evelyne Bussmann) 8/4, Wiveau (Alain Jufer) 0/4, Pollendr (Werner Muff) 0/0.
3. Canada 11 faults: Picobello du Val de Geer (Jordan Macpherson) 0/4, Pater Noster (Jaclyn Duff) 0/8, Zilversprings (Elizabeth Gingras) 0/0, Quidam Blue (Jill Henselwood) 19/7.
4. USA 20 faults: Rocky W (Kaitlin Dawn Campbell) 0/8, Heracross (Paris Sellon) 4/8, Paloubet (Wilton Porter) 8/4, Pumped Up Kicks (Lillie Keenan) 0/4.
5. Brazil 21 faults: AD Amigo B (Doda de Miranda) 24/12, Premiere Carthoes BZ (Felipe Amaral) 0/4, Amor (Yuri Mansur Guerios) 8/5, Rissoa d’Ag Bois Margot (Pedro Veniss) 4/0.
5. Slovakia 21 faults: Badarco (Marian Stangel) 4/9, Quinto (Radovan Sillo) 0/4, Pinocchio (Monika Stangelova) 30/13, Dollar Look van’t A (Radovan Cibere) 0/4.
7. Austria 24 faults: Emir VH Moleneind (Dieter Kofler) 4/12, Royal des Bissons (Astrid Kneifel) 8/4, Texas (Markus Saurugg) 0/12, Bogegaardens Apollonia (Stefanie Bistan) 4/0.
8. Czech Republic 29 faults: Luka’s Ninja (Zuzana Zelinkova) 13/8, Sorceress (Barbora Tomanova) Elim/DNS, Aristo Z (Jiri Hruska) 0/4, Acovaro (Ales Opatrny) 0/4.
Standings after Round 7:
1. Norway - 345
2. Italy - 270
3. Slovakia - 245
4. Denmark - 240
4. Austria - 240
6. Poland - 230
7. Turkey - 222.5
8. Finland - 210
9. Hungary - 200
10. Czech Republic - 180
11. Portugal - 100
12. Russia - 65