The Dutch showed precisely why they are the reigning World and defending Nations Cup champions when soaring to victory in the latest leg of the global competition, in Falsterbo, Sweden on Friday.
It took just three of the four members of Rob Ehrens’ side to clinch the sixth leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Europe Division 1 League when Harrie Smolders, Maikel van der Vleuten and Leopold Van Asten all jumped double-clear, leaving anchorman Gerco Schroder with nothing to do for the entire afternoon but to watch from the sidelines.
There were five nations chasing qualifying points for the Furusiyya 2015 Final in Barcelona in September and it seemed that the Germans, who were also in the hunt, might force the eventual winners into a third-round jump-off. But in the end they had to settle for joint-runner-up spot along with their hosts from Sweden, while Switzerland slotted into fourth ahead of Spain in fifth and USA in sixth place.
The extraordinary run of Di Lampard’s British side ground to halt, when the country that has enjoyed three victories so far this season lined up seventh despite a fantastic double-clear from anchorman Michael Whitaker. Poland finished last, hampered by a fall for anchor partnership Piotr Morsztyn and Osadkowski van Halen at the pentultimate oxer in the opening round.
Dutch Chef d’Equipe Rob Ehrens said “Gerco didn’t touch a rail today but he still deserves the win because he has been a key member of the team for so many past events. We struggled a bit at the beginning of the season because of small things. We had to replace combinations etc., so the victory today is a matter of working really well together. Everybody is on same line and has the same goal – winning – and when everybody works together it achieves great results. We have all the riders, owners and sponsors behind us, and the crowd were fantastic today, this is a brilliant place to win!” he added.
The result sees the Swedes and Dutch move up behind France at the top of the Europe Division 1 leaderboard, but for many of the other teams there is still plenty more work to be done. Despite their great season to date the British were on a points-gaining mission at only two of their three winning venues and will be hoping to improve their seventh-place position over the remaining two legs of the series at Hickstead in two weeks’ time and Dublin a week later. Each country has four qualifying opportunities during the season, and with only one more left to go, Team Germany, now lying fifth, will be feeling some of the heat at Hickstead.
The next leg of the series is round 5 of Europe Division 2 in Budapest, Hungary on Friday, July 17.
- Netherlands 0 faults: Emerald (Harrie Smolders) 0/0, VDL Groep Verdi TN NOP (Maikel van der Vleuten) 0/0, VDL Groep Zidane (Leopold van Asten) 0/0, Glock’s Cognac Champblanc (Gerco Schroder) DNS/DNS.
- Sweden 4 faults: H&M All In (Peder Fredricson) 0/0, Casello (Douglas Lindelow) 0/5, Bonzai H (Helena Persson) 5/0, Cantinero (Henrik von Eckermann) 4/0.
- Germany 4 faults: Comme Il Faut 5 (Marcus Ehning) 0/4, Goja 27 (Janne Friederike Meyer) 0/0, Brooklyn 17 (Mario Stevens) 0/0, Lacan 2 (Patrick Stuhlmeyer) 4/4.
- Switzerland 12 faults: Quorida de Treho (Romain Duguet) 4/0, Giovanni van het Scheefkastell (Pius Schwizer) 0/4, Bonne Chance CW (Janika Sprunger) 0/4, Clooney 51 (Martin Fuchs) 4/DNS.
- Spain 14 faults: Enriques of the Lowlands (Manuel Fernandez Saro (8/0, Belcanto Z (Alberto Marquez Galobardes) 4/Ret, Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot (Eduardo Alvarez Aznar) 0/9, G & C Quitador Rochelais (Sergio Alvarez Moya) 1/0.
- USA 22 faults: Czardas (Kirsten Coe) 15/5, Flaming Star (Charlie Jacobs) 0/0, Evening Star (Heather Caristo-Williams) 8/8, VDL Wizard (Callan Solem) 1/8.
- Great Britain 28 faults: Billy Congo (William Funnell) Elim/DNS, Bintang ll (Laura Renwick) 4/8, Ashkari (Yazmin Pinchen) 12/4, Calcourt Falklund (Michael Whitaker) 0/0.
- Poland 58 faults: Abigej (Marek Lewicki) 4/12, Zoweja (Krzysztof Ludwiczak) 17/9, Emperio van ’T Roosakker (Zuzanna Gowin) 4/12, Osadkowski van Halen (Piotr Morsztyn) Elim/DNS.
Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup 2015 Europe Division 1 Standings (after Round 6):
- France – 310
- Netherlands – 295
- Sweden – 295
- Belgium – 250
- Germany – 225
- Ireland – 205
- Great Britain – 200
- Spain – 195
- Switzerland – 160
- Italy – 155