Team France completed their points-gathering campaign in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2014 series with a superb victory at the fifth leg of the Europe Division 1 League in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on Friday.
But they had to fight hard for those maximum points which have now earned them a qualifying spot for the much-anticipated second annual Final in Barcelona, Spain in October.
The host nation pushed them all the way, forcing a jump-off against the clock and keeping the packed stadium of spectators, including former Queen of The Netherlands, Princess Beatrix, on the edges of their seats. The dream of a long-awaited home victory was snatched away at the last moment when Gerco Schroder and Glock’s London couldn’t match Penelope Leprevost’s clear in the jump-off with Flora de Mariposa.
It was a tension-filled afternoon, with much riding on the result in terms of qualification for five of the eight competing nations. France, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands were all in the hunt for points, and it was the last chance for both France and Switzerland who have now used all four qualifying opportunities. The French have been strong all season, coming into today’s contest at the head of the Europe Division 1 series, but sixth place for Switzerland today may have left them vulnerable.
There were surprises all the way over the Santiago Varela track, with Germany fielding a powerhouse of a team for their first points-gathering outing but having to settle for third place ahead of Great Britain in fourth and Brazil in fifth, while the Irish trailed the Swiss when slotting into seventh and the USA filled eighth place.
With only seven of the 10 competing nations making the cut to the Final from the Europe Division 1 League, the tension is indeed increasing with every leg of the series. But the French don’t have to worry anymore. They’ve done more than enough to qualify for the Furusiyya Final and, as defending champions, it seems unlikely they will give up their crown too easily.
1. France 8 faults/0 in 34.57 in Jump-Off: Flora de Mariposa (Penelope Leprevost) 4/0/0, Carinjo HDC (Patrice Delaveau) 0/Elim, Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois (Roger Yves Bost) 4/0, Reveur de Hurtebise HDC (Kevin Staut) 0/4.
2. Netherlands 8 faults/4 in Jump-Off: Zenith (Jeroen Dubbeldam) 0/4, VDL Groep Verdi (Maikel van der Vleuten) 0/4, Emerald (Harrie Smolders) 17/DNS, Glock’s London (Gerco Schroder) 0/0/Ret.
3. Germany 12 faults: Chiara (Ludger Beerbaum) 4/9, Codex One (Christian Ahlmann) 0/4, Cornet d’Amour (Daniel Deusser) 5/0, Cornado NRW (Marcus Ehning) 0/4.
4. Great Britain 16 faults: Utamaro D’Ecaussines (Joe Clee) 0/0, Wonder Why (Spencer Roe) 12/0, Touchable (Jessie Drea) 0/4, Zaire (Guy Williams) 26/9.
5. Brazil 17 faults: Ad Uutje (Doda de Miranda) 8/8, First Devision (Yuri Mansur Guerios) 0/0, Quintol (Eduardo Menezes) 0/9, Status (Rodrigo Pessoa) 4/5.
6. Switzerland 20 faults: Castlefield Eclipse (Paul Estermann) 0/11, Pablo de Virton (Jane Richard Philips) 4/4, Quorida de Treho (Romain Duguet) 4/8, Toulago (Pius Schwizer) 0/4.
7. Ireland 26 faults: Coulisa (Denis Lynch) 4/16, Antello Z (Cameron Hanley) 5/5, Quidam’s Cherie (Cian O’Connor) 4/4, Loughview Lou-Lou (Dermott Lennon) 8/4.
8. USA 27 faults: Barron (Lucy Davis) 4/4, Vindicat W (Jessica Springsteen) 8/12, Nougat du Vallet (Katherine Dinan) 1/6, Ohlala (Lauren Hough) 8/4.