The Ukrainian team came out on top in Rome and the Dutch recorded their third victory at Copenhagen on Friday in the latest rounds of the inaugural Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping series.
It was Ukraine’s debut in Europe Division 1 at the Piazza di Siena in Rome, and following a thrilling three-way jump-off the team entered the history books of equestrian sport.
Cassio Rivetti, Oleg Krasyuk, Ulrich Kirchhoff and Katharina Offel were flying the flag of the Ukraine for the very first time at this top level of the sport. And they demonstrated their formidable combined strength when taking on the giants and taming them all, although Rivetti’s jump-off round was a nail-biter as he racked up three time faults during the slow clear that clinched it.
Crack sides from Germany and France had to settle for second and third places while the host nation made a brilliant recovery from an edgy first round effort to finish fourth ahead of Great Britain and Sweden in joint-fifth. The Swiss team, so impressive when runners-up at La Baule (FRA) last week, had to settle for seventh while the Spanish team finished eighth when collecting 44 faults.
And the Dutch, who were winners at the opening leg at Al Ain, UAE in February, also topped the first round of the Europe Division 1 league just a week ago in La Baule, France. On Friday another new combination of horses and riders took the lead from the outset and added only four faults to their first-round zero score to head the line-up at the Danish venue where six nations – Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland and Sweden – were all hunting for qualifying points ahead of the series Final which will take place in Barcelona, Spain in September.
France finished second with the host nation in third, while the British slotted into fourth ahead of Sweden and Poland in joint-fifth place. Both Belgium and Switzerland added 16 faults second time out, but this was still good enough to take seventh and eighth places respectively as only eight of the 13 countries went through to the second round.
The home crowd was completely taken aback when the first man into the ring, their own Emanuele Gaudiano, was eliminated for two refusals at the third fence with Cocoshynsky in the first round. However, amidst all the drama, the track created by Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani provided fantastic sport that played out until the very last fence was jumped.
The Ukraine’s Kirchhoff pointed out that there is great camaraderie between the four riders who have, over the last few weeks, moved their horses to his base near Milan (ITA) where he trains them along with Heinrich Willem Johannsman. Kraysuk was understandably thrilled to have produced a double-clear on his debut at this top level of the sport and with a horse he has only been riding for a few weeks. His 12 year old gelding, Nobylis, made it all look effortless. “He jumped fantastic, I have only had him since Arezzo and I have a super feeling with him. This is a very good start for me – a top team, a good sponsor, it’s just right!” said the man who claimed the Furusiyya Round the Day award.
Chef d’Equipe, Najib Chami, who hails from Lebanon and shares his time between there and his other home in Rome, and who has been managing the Ukrainian team only since the beginning of the year, seems to have powerful force at his disposal. “Yes, I believe that together we are a force to be reckoned with,” he said.
On a personal note Kirchhoff, who took individual and team gold for Germany at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA in 1996, pointed out, “I have not competed in Nations Cup for two and a half years and I only started in January with this team. But we made a plan to go the big shows including Arezzo and Mannheim and now here in the Rome Nations Cup. It’s working out pretty well!” the former German rider pointed out.
There was nobody arguing with that, and after two legs of the Europe Division 1 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2013 series Ukraine lies third on the leaderboard, with Great Britain in second and France in the lead. Each of the eight Division 1 teams can select only four of the eight Division 1 events at which to collect points however, so it is still wide open going to the next top league round at St Gallen, Switzerland next Friday.
London 2012 Olympic Games course designer, Great Britain’s Bob Ellis, really put it up to them at this Europe Division 2 event with a course that asked them to turn and re-balance, and to measure their distances carefully. And as if that wasn’t quite enough, he set them an enormous question just three fences from home, with the open water followed by the triple combination of vertical, to oxer, to vertical before tackling the offset final oxer at fence 12.
Time and again horses coped well with the early part of the track only for it all to fall apart here. Jur Vrieling wasn’t only competing on the Dutch team, he was also acting as team manager for the day, and the much-experienced 44-year-old said of the course – “when I walked it I thought it was difficult enough, it’s the first time in my life that I had a triple combination after the water and I was really a bit surprised by it! But it ended up very well for us. It makes the victory even nicer after a difficult task – because you can say that it was quite something for the horses to jump! It (the course) was very nicely built, but it was tough enough,” he said.
“I think all three of the other riders had a really good round. When you start the first round well then it’s just about keeping your head and staying positive – it went really well for us,” he said. And talking about his own horse, Zirocco Blue, he added “he’s a breeding stallion, breeding a lot in Holland and he is a really fantastic horse, and for sure one for the future. I think you can say the same for Willem Greve’s Carambole – these are two exceptional horses”.
Greve agreed – “my horse is a nine-year-old stallion I produced myself since he was four. I took a lot of time with him, and gave him a lot of time to develop himself. I was very pleased with the way he jumped today. I think he jumped the first round beautifully and the second round even better! We took a bit of the pressure off Jur who was the last rider of our team, and he did it brilliantly. We all had a share in this win, so that makes it feel really good, and we have a really good team atmosphere so we are very happy!” said the 30-year-old rider.
Tepper has been enjoying an ever-upward curve in recent months with KM Wish. “I have her for two years now and she’s really good with lots of scope and she’s fast. A month ago we won a Grand Prix in Poland, then we were on the Nations Cup team that was second in Drammen and we were second in the Grand Prix there. I think she was getting tired when we had those fences down in the second round,” she said.
Schuttert has been riding the 12-year-old Up to Date since the horse was five years old. “I rode two Young Riders Europeans with him. In the first round today I had one down, I came in a bit big into the combination (the double at fence three) but afterwards it came good in the second round where I had a clear”.
Asked if it is difficult to build a course in the Copenhagen arena because of the trees and the shadows they create, Course designer, Bob Ellis said: “you’ve got the gradients as well which take its toll with the course but no, it’s not difficult. What is difficult is that you’ve got 13 teams through all sorts of levels, to be fair to everybody, you’ve got some very good teams and some lesser teams. It wasn’t a monster of a course, there were a couple of big verticals and not terrific spreads but it was difficult enough in the last line, very difficult,” he said.
The Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2013 series now moves on to St Gallen in Switzerland next week for the third leg of the Europe Division 1 series.
1. Netherlands 4 faults: Up to Date (Hendrik-Jan Schuttert) 4/0, KM Wish (Suzanne Tepper) 0/12, Carambole (Willem Greve) 0/4 , Zirocco Blue VDL (J Vrieling) 0/0.
2. France 12 faults: Number One d’Iso Un Prince (Nicolas Delmotte) 4/0, Looping d’Elle (Aymeric Azzolino) 0/4, Amadeus Z (Francois Xavier Boudant) 4/8, Quorioso Pre Noir (Timothee Anciaume) 4/0.
3. Denmark 16 faults: Allerdings (Andreas Schou) 4/4, Kamila (Kim Kristensen) 12/12, Chopin van het Moleneind (Thomas Velin) 0/4, Amarone (Thomas Sandgaard) 0/4.
4. Great Britain 20 faults: Octavio (David McPherson) 8/4, Salome (Tim Davies) 12/8 , Touchable (Jesse Drea) 4/0, Uppercut (Geoff Billington) 0/4.
5. Sweden 21 faults: Udermus (Douglas Lindelow) 8/8, Tital (Emma Emanuelsson) 0/4, Newton Nickel (Angelie von Essen) 5/Elim, Clarimo (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) 4/0.
5. Poland 21 faults: Bischof (Andrzej Lemanski) 0/4, El Camp (Lukasz Koza) 12/8, Wavantos vd Renvillehoeve (Lukasz Wasilewski) 4/4, Centino du Ry (Igor Kawiak)4/5.
7. Belgium 28 faults: Cortez (Nicola Philippaerts) 0/8, Equipharma Dax van Dabdijhoev (Pieter Devos) 8/12, Calumet (Catherine van Roosbroeck) 8/4, Upper Star (Jerome Guery) 4/4.
8. Switzerland 29 faults: Even to Heaven (Roland Grimm) 8/8, Alessa Z (Emilie Stampfli) 8/12, Oceane de la Taille CH (Evelyne Busmann) 4/0, Rubin Vlll (Fabio Crotta) 1/8.
9. Ireland 16 faults IN FIRST ROUND: Cruise on Clover (Thomas Ryan) 4, Value T (Anthony Condon) 8, Corona (Alex Duffy) 4, Par Trois (Mark McAuley) 8.
10. Norway 20 faults IN FIRST ROUND: Dimaro vd Looise Heide (Dag Ove Kingsrod) 16, Tiffany (Camilla Storemark) Elim, CC Top (Ole Kristoffer Meland) 0, Quartel du Mazes (Tony Andre Hansen) 4.
11. Finland 25 faults IN FIRST ROUND: Coolidge (Niclas Aromaa) 16, Agropoint Cassius (Kaarlo Kovacs) 5, Celestine (Satu Liukkonen) 12, Carolus Z (Henri Kovacs) 8.
12. Germany 28 faults IN FIRST ROUND: Conthendrix (Andreme Thieme) 12, Balance (Andreas Kreuzer) 16, Westbridge (Nisse Luneburg) 0, JK Horsetrucks Commanchi (Jorg Naeve) 20.
13. Italy 32 faults IN FIRST ROUND: Varon O’Hessein (Roberto Previtali) 12, Calida (Federico Ciriesi) 12, Zyquita sr (Giampiero Garofalo) 12, Onnyl des Seruois (Antonia Maria Garofalo) 8.
1. Ukraine 3 time faults in 50.61 seconds in third-round jump-off: Temple Road (Cassio Rivetti) 0/4/3 50.61, Nobylis (Oleg Krasyuk) 0/0, Verdi (Ulrich Kirchhoff) 4/4, Pour Le Poussage (Katharina Offel) 4/0.
2. Germany 4 faults in 40.84 seconds in third-round jump-off: Cornet D’Amour (Daniel Deusser) 0/0, Monte Bellini (Philipp Weishaupt) 4/8, Corradina (Carsten-Otto Nagel) 4/0, Chaman (Ludger Beerbaum) 0/4.
3. France faults: Silvana HDC (Kevin Staut) , Nippon d’Elle (Roger-Yves Bost) , Classic Bois Margot (Simon Delestre) , Orient Express HDC (Patrice Delaveau)
4. Italy 17 faults: Cocoshynsky (Emanuele Gaudiano) Elim/8, Cassandra (Francesco Franco) 12/1, Baretto (Roberto Turchetto) 4/0, Bonzai van de Warande (Juan Carlos Garcia) 0/0.
5. Great Britain 28 faults: Big Star (Nick Skelton) 0/0, Hello Sanctos (Scott Brash) 8/4, Hello Sailor (Tina Fletcher) 0/16, Cella (Ben Maher) 8/17.
5, Sweden 28 faults: Lunatic (Jens Fredricson) 8/0, Spike Jones (Sandra Carlsson) 8/8, H&M Cash In (Peder Fredricson) 4/8, Gotha FRH (Henrik von Eckermann) 8/0.
7. Switzerland 37 faults: LB Callas Sitte Z (Christine Liebherr) 4/8, Albfuehren’s Paille (Alexandra Fricker) 8/8, Upanisad Di San Patrignano (Jane Richard Philips) 8/20, Picsou du Chene (Pius Schwizer) 4/5.
8. Spain 44 faults: Nuage Bleu (Pilar Cordon) 13/16, Prunella D’Ariel (Paola Amilibia Puig) 12/16, Quinai des Chayottes (Julio Arias) 8/4, Zipper (Sergio Alvarez Moya) 4/0.