The French swept to a clear and concise victory in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2013 leg at CSIO 4* Lummen in Belgium on Friday. But they were pushed all the way by a competitive and considerably less-experienced Swiss side that had to settle for runner-up spot in the final analysis, while The Netherlands finished a distance behind in third.
There were four countries seeking points towards qualification for the final in Barcelona, Spain in September and fourth-placed Finland earned 75 points, while fifth-placed Sweden took 70 and Belgium claimed 66 when slotting into sixth spot. Great Britain was not in the points race when finishing seventh, so the Norwegian side that finished last of the eight competing nations claimed 64 points for their effort.
The French took the lead from the outset and never flinched. Double-clears from Marc Dilasser (Obiwan de Piliere Jo) and Aymeric de Ponnat (Armitages Boy) placed them in a strong position and pathfinder, Jerome Hurel (Ohm de Pontual) was the only member of the side to drop a fence throughout the entire competition. French anchorman, Olivier Guillon, was clear first time out with Lord de Theize to ensure a zero team score and didn’t need to return to the ring in the second round as the result was already decided.
The Swiss had to count a single error from Martin Fuchs and Conte della Caccia in the opening round when their pathfinding partnership of Romain Duguet and Quorida de Treho left two on the floor. And in the end that was the deciding factor, as that single fence separated the two sides at the end of the day when neither added any more to their scorelines.
Course designer Lucien Somers set out an interesting 12-fence challenge in the grassy Lummen arena. The triple combination at fence five, and the following oxer at six with its 1.70 m spread were both influential.
French Chef d’Equipe, Philippe Guerdat, was well-pleased with his winning side’s performance. “I wanted to come to Lummen with a strong team to ensure a good result ahead of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup in La Baule. We’re fairly lucky in France right now with a large pool of good riders and good horses. It’s not always easy to choose between the available riders, but we’re trying to make sure everyone feels involved and to give everyone the opportunity to compete in the various Nations Cups this season. The next Nations Cup for us will be in Drammen (Norway) where I will take five other riders,” he said.
And he wasn’t the only happy team manager at Lummen. Finland’s Lors Parmler sees a real future for his side after their good finish in strong company. “I’m very happy with the performance of my team. It’s a new team and we now have the Kovacs brothers, Henri and Kaarlo, competing for us. They used to ride for Hungary until last year but they have a Finnish mother so they have chosen to ride for us. They are two really nice boys and we really like having them on our team,” he said.
1. France 0 faults; Ohm de Ponthual (Jerome Hurel) 4/0, Obiwan de Piliere Jo (Marc Dilasser) 0/0, Armitages Boy (Aymeric de Ponnat) 0/0, Lord de Theize (Olivier Guillon) 0/DNS.
2. Switzerland 4 faults: Quorida de Treho (Romain Duguet) 8/0, Conte della Caccia (Martin Fuchs) 4/0, Notre Moinerie (Carlo Pfyffer) 0/0, Loxy de la Reselle (Andreas Ott) 0/DNS.
3. The Netherlands 17 faults: Haertthago (Leon Thijssen) 0/4, Warwick (Roelof Bril) 14/4, Atlanta (Peter Bulthuis) 5/4, Warrant (Henk van de Pol) 0/8.
4. Finland 22 faults: Carolus Z (Henri Kovacs) 4/0, Fardon (Anna-Julia Kontio) 13/0, Agropoint Cassius (Kaarlo Kovacs) 5/17, Urleven van de Helle (Maiju Mallat) 5/8.
5. Sweden 24 faults: Click and Cash (Niklas Arvidsson) 4/8, Newton Nickel (Angelie von Essen) 0/4, Thriller P (Lisen Fredricson) Elim/Elim, H&M Damgaardens Extens (Peder Fredricson) 4/4.
6. Belgium 26 faults: d’Atlantique Royale (Francois Mathy Jr.) 13/8, Chamonix H (Olivier Philippaerts) 4/5, Vingino (Annelies Vorsselmans) 4/4, Loro Piana Once de Kreisker (Philippe Le Jeune) 5/4.
7. Great Britain 34 faults: Varo M (Daniel Neilson), Caritiar Z (Phillip Miller) 1/13, Ondine du Logis (Simon Crippen) 13/8, Diablesse de Muze (Joe Clee) 0/4.
8. Norway 15 faults in the FIRST ROUND: Diablo (Line Raaholt) 9, Urval (Victoria Gulliksen) 5, CC Top (Ole Kristoffer Meland) 1, Quartel du Mazes (Tony Andre Hansen) 27.