Germany fielded a top class team on Saturday at the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead, and the stellar cast posted a team score of just four faults to win the British leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup of Great Britain.
The team of Ludger Beerbaum (Chiara 222), Marcus Ehning (Plot Blue), Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Bella Donna 66) and Hans-Dieter Dreher (Magnus Romeo) have a wealth of experience between them and they duly produced clear round after clear round. Such was their dominance that Beerbaum didn’t have to ride in the second round.
“We always like to come to Hickstead – the main ring has been completely renewed [following development works in 2011], which we really appreciate,” Beerbaum said. “To come here and win the Nations Cup is very prestigious.”
Marcus Ehning, a World and Olympic gold medallist, commented: “The course was very fair, it was perfect for us – the right team definitely won!”
It was a disappointing day for the British who, a year after their spectacular team glory on home turf at the London 2012 Olympic Games, had to settle for fifth place along with Ukraine when both sides racked up 17 faults apiece.
Hickstead first-timer Scott Brash (GBR) posted two superb clears on Ursula XII, while fellow London 2012 team mate Peter Charles and Murka’s Odie De Frevent finished on just four faults. William Funnell finished on five faults in round one and eight in round two; while Ben Maher (making his Hickstead FEI Nations Cup debut) and his Olympic horse Tripple X III had a very uncharacteristic couple of rounds with eight and 13 faults respectively.
It wasn’t a great day for the Dutch either, who slotted into seventh when putting 20 faults on the board, while Switzerland lined up last of the eight competing nations with 32 faults.
This was Germany’s 13th victory in the 84-year history of the Edward Prince of Wales trophy for the Nations Cup of Great Britain. But it was Hickstead-based Irishman, Shane Breen, who earned the Furusiyya Rider of the Day award which was decided by London 2012 Olympic Games course designer Bob Ellis.
Breen was happy with Ireland’s fourth-place finish. “It’s been a great day and we are delighted,” he said. “It’s been a great competition and Germany were worthy winners – they were very good and very strong on the day. The conditions were super and the course was very well built,” he said.
“I’m very much looking forward to Dublin next week now. I hopefully have Balloon to ride in the Nations Cup, and Dublin counts as points for us – so a bit of added pressure!”
1. Germany 4 faults: Plot Blue (Marcus Ehning) 0/0, Bella Donna (Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum) 4/0, Magnus Romeo (Hans-Dieter Dreher) 0/4, Chiara (Ludger Beerbaum) 0/DNS.
2. USA 12 faults: Cristallo (Richard Spooner) 16/8, Cylana (Reed Kessler) 0/8, Rothchild (McLain Ward) 4/0, Cortes ‘C’ (Beezie Madden) 0/0.
2. France 12 faults: Nayana (Penelope Leprevost) 0/4, Myself de Breve (Marie Hecart) 0/4, Obiwan de Pilere Jo (Marc Dilasser) 4/12, Estoy Aqui de Muze HDC (Kevin Staut) 4/0.
4. Ireland 13 faults: Cos I Can (Shane Breen) 0/0, Annestown (Capt Michael Kelly) 0/4, Nicos de la Cense (Niall Talbot) 12/4, Diaghilev (Billy Twomey) 0/0.
5. Great Britain 17 faults: Billy Congo (William Funnell) 5/8, Murka’s Odie de Frevent (Peter Charles) 4/0, Ursula (Scott Brash) 0/0, Tripple X (Ben Maher) 8/13.
5. Ukraine 17 faults: Vivant (Cassio Rivetti) 0/4, Nobylis (Oleg Krasyuk) 1/12, Verdi (Ulrich Kirchhoff) 4/4, Pour Le Poussage (Katharina Offel) 4/4.
7. Netherlands 20 faults: Tobalio (Albert Voorn) 8/8, Wait and See (Michel Hendrix) 8/12, Very Nice (Timothy Hendrix) 4/8, VDL Bubalu (Jur Vrieling) 0/4.
8. Switzerland 32 faults: Landthago (Werner Muff) 8/8, Celesto (Nadja Peter-Steiner) 4/8, Windsor (Niklaus Rutschi) 8/4, LB Eagle Eye (Christina Liebherr) 8/0.