- News http://chio.nl News - Capica.nl RSS Generator <![CDATA[Rotterdam jumps into EC-year]]> http://chio.nl/en/news/rotterdam-jumps-into-ec-year?news_id=3549 2018-08-19

Exactly 1 year from today Rotterdam will jump into the FEI European Championships. From August 19th until 25th 2019 the city of Rotterdam will host three European Championships; FEI European Championships Jumping, Dressage & Para-Dressage. To celebrate this kick off moment, today, in cooperation with Sportbedrijf Rotterdam, at the youth event in Rotterdam Ahoy symbolically the first jumping fence was introduced. This obstacle is part of the activation program for the FEI European Championships in the forthcoming year.


Connected by Horsepower 

Managing Director of the European Championships Fred Rozendaal: “These combined EC, in fact three European Championships in one, has never been in The Netherlands in this format before. This is the very first time that the Netherlands will host a Para Dressage Championship. The event in 2019 will be the largest equestrian event ever at the venue in Rotterdam and apart from the World Equestrian Games in 1994, the largest in the Netherlands. The 2019 European Championships will be the first qualifier for the Olympics in 2020. You can imagine how proud we are! To ensure even more children and adults will get to know our beautiful sport we have developed a fantastic side events program which will demonstrate how equestrian sport bonds.”



The jumping fence which was launched today in Rotterdam Ahoy is part of a course that will be used on several occasions and at several places throughout the year in the city of Rotterdam. Edwin de Koning, project manager events at Sportbedrijf Rotterdam: “As Sportbedrijf Rotterdam we try to connect just as the EC-organisers. We will introduce this course in the coming year at existing Rotterdam events, during gym classes, at sports clubs and at iconic locations in the city.” 

This is only one of the many upcoming side events. Also the program 'Work like a Horse' will be expanded and there will be strong visibility of the FEI European Championships in the city and online. For all these activities there is great support from sponsors and partners.  


For more information about the FEI European Championships Jumping, Dressage & Para-Dressage: follow the social media of CHIO Rotterdam. In fourth quarter of this year a dedicated website for the FEI European Championships will be launched. 



<![CDATA[Awesome Austrians win Europe Division 2 Final in Budapest]]> http://chio.nl/en/news/awesome-austrians-win-europe-division-2-final-in-budapest?news_id=3546 2018-08-13 Team Austria earned promotion to Division 1 next season with a definitive victory at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Hungary in Budapest (HUN) this afternoon. And they’ll join today’s Hungarian hosts at the Longines 2018 World Final in Barcelona (ESP) in eight weeks time, as the top two teams in today’s Europe Division 2 decider are entitled to contest the lucrative annual clash of champions.
Three clears in the first round gave the Austrians the early edge and they didn’t flinch to finish on a zero scoreline. It was a superb weekend for anchorman Max Kuhner.

All the more creditable was the fact that his Nations Cup horse is just an eight-year-old, the lovely bay gelding securing one of those pivotal foot-perfect runs in the opening round. It was Christian Rhomberg who led the way for the winning side with an eight-fault result from Saphyr des Lacs, but when Julia Houtzager-Kayser and rising star Felix Koller made no mistake then Kuhner wrapped up the early advantage.

However the Hungarians were in hot pursuit as round two got underway, sharing a four-fault tally with Portugal and the Czech Republic while Norway was next in line carrying nine. The Norwegian side was almost a completely Gulliksen-family affair with son and daughter, Victoria and Johan-Sebastian, joining their father Geir along with Lisa Ulven. And they just missed the cut to the Barcelona Final when completing with 13 faults, only one point behind Hungary at the end of the day. Portugal finished fourth while Czech Republic had to settle for fifth ahead of Poland, Greece and the three-man Bulgarian team who brought up the rear.

The course designed by Germany’s Werner Deeg had some difficult lines as Houtzager-Kayser explained. “The water to the double at fences six and seven, and the line from the triple bar to the vertical and the oxer from eight to ten - none of that was easy!” she pointed out. However she was well-pleased when her 14-year-old stallion Sterrehof’s Cayetano Z racked up an impressive double-clear, the only other coming from the 11-year-old Captain Future 3 ridden by team-mate Koller. 
This young man, who has been based with the legendary Paul Schockemohle in Germany for the last six months, claimed individual Young Rider bronze at the Longines FEI European Championships in Fontainebleau (FRA) four weeks ago and looks to have a big future ahead of him.

The prospect of fielding a team at the Longines 2018 Final in a few weeks time and of competing in Europe Division one next year all seemed quite overwhelming this afternoon because Austria has a limited number of horses and riders at the top end of the sport. “Christian and Max will be competing at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon so we may have to find different horses for Barcelona, but this is so exciting - I can hardly believe it!” Koller said.

Result - Europe Division 2 Final, Budapest (HUN):
/ Sub sub title Result table
1. Austria             -    0
2. Hungary           -    12
3. Norway            -    13

<![CDATA[Mexicans live the dream in Dublin]]> http://chio.nl/en/news/mexicans-live-the-dream-in-dublin?news_id=3545 2018-08-10 They arrived as complete underdogs to take on many of the best nations in the world, but Team Mexico turned the sport on its head today when winning the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Ireland in Dublin (IRL). This last leg of the Europe Division 1 series was electrifying from beginning to end, and incredibly tense in the closing stages with the home crowd willing their own boys to win it.

But Eugenio Garza Perez and his veteran team-mates Federico Fernandez, Patricio Pasquel and Enrique Gonzalez  enjoyed the warmest reception, including a great big Mexican wave, from the 20,000 spectators when producing three second-round clears to pin Ireland, France and Italy into joint-runner-up spot. Mexico had never won at the Irish fixture before and it was 37 years since they last contested the coveted Aga Khan trophy at the historic Royal Dublin Society showgrounds. So along with their delighted Chef d’Equipe Stany van Paesschen they didn’t hold back on the celebrations afterwards.

It seemed the reigning European Champions from Ireland would have it all their own way when they cruised into the lead on a zero score at the halfway stage, with Italy snapping at their heels on four faults followed by USA, Mexico and France carrying eight apiece. The Swiss, British and Dutch were already down the line, eventually finishing sixth, seventh and eighth while USA slotted ahead of them in fifth despite being hampered by elimination for Jamie Barge (Luebbo) at the water in both rounds.

Mexican pathfinder Garza Perez (Victer Finn) showed a dramatic improvement from his 12-fault first-round effort when clear second time out, and when Pasquel (Babel) produced one of four double-clears of the day and Gonzalez (Chacna) wrapped it up by also being foot-perfect all the pressure was on the Italians and Irish. And both faltered, adding four faults to complete along with France on a total of 12 as Team Mexico made history and a whole lot of new Irish friends. There’s not expected to be much tequila left in Dublin tonight.

“It’s a dream come true. Since we got the invitation we have not stopped dreaming about this moment. We worked hard to be here and we enjoyed every second!” said Fernandez who posted two four-fault scores with Landpeter do Feroleto. This is a very unique horse-and-rider partnership, both are survivors. Federico was involved in a devastating air-crash that left many dead in 1987, and Peter, as the horse is known, also suffered serious injury in a lorry accident that nearly took his life. The pure joy of today’s success was written all over every Mexican face, and Federico was in tears at the post-competition press conference.

Garza Perez was happy too because he is trained by Irish showjumping legend Eddie Macken and was disappointed with his three mistakes in the first round. But he put it all right when clear at his second attempt. “I was anxious not to let Eddie down and I hope today was as good for him as it was for me. It’s really out of a dream, it’s incredible!”

Today’s result confirms Belgium as winners of the Europe Division 1 series with Ireland finishing a close second, just five points behind. Switzerland, France, Netherlands, Great Britain and Sweden fill the next five places on the leaderboard and all seven countries will compete at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona (ESP) in October. However Germany and Italy have missed the cut and the Spanish who have finished last at the end of the 2018 season will be relegated to Europe Division 2 next year.

Watch highlights here

Result - Dublin (IRL):
1. Mexico - 8 Faults
2. France, Italy, Ireland - 12 Faults
5. USA - 16 Faults

Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Europe Division 1 leaderboard:
1 Belgium 420
2 Ireland 415
3 Switzerland 385

<![CDATA[Irish pip British in brilliant battle at Hickstead]]> http://chio.nl/en/news/irish-pip-british-in-brilliant-battle-at-hickstead?news_id=3541 2018-07-29 Ireland won out in a two-way jump-off against old rivals Great Britain in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at Hickstead today. Wild winds, and the first heavy rain to hit the region for more than 50 days, ensured conditions were seriously challenging in this penultimate qualifier of the Europe Division 1 series. But Rodrigo Pessoa’s side of Trevor Breen, Richie Moloney, Michael Duffy and Anthony Condon battled through, and Condon clinched it in a third-round showdown against Holly Smith.

It was no day for the faint-hearted as the formidable Hickstead fences took their toll. The tall white gate at fence three was a real bogey, as was the 4-metre-wide open water which sealed the fate of the 2017 series champions from The Netherlands who retired in the closing stages. Only two weeks ago Johnny Pals and Chat Botte du Ruisseau Z were the Dutch heroes when pinning the Irish into runner-up spot at Falsterbo (SWE) in a four-way jump-off against the clock. But today the lovely 10-year-old stallion found the Hickstead water very scary in both rounds, and, down to a three-man side following the withdrawal of Willem Greve’s Zypria S, the pair’s second-round tally of 23 faults was so expensive that Chef d’Equipe, Rob Ehrens, decided his team should call it a day.

But the British were also reduced to just three counting scores when former world no. 1 and 2012 Olympic gold medallist Scott Brash was eliminated at the open water both times out with Hello Shelby. Team manager Di Lampard has tremendous talent at her disposal however, and Smith (Heart’s Destiny), Amanda Derbyshire (Luibanta BH) and William Whitaker (Utamaro D’Ecaussines) showed true grit to force the jump-off against the boys in green.

Smith set the target with a lovely clear round from her big, quality, nine-year-old bay who broke the beam in 43.39 seconds. Condon, who has been based in England for the last 14 years, knew what he had to do when it came to his turn.

Steering his 12-year-old stallion SFS Aristio, which is owned by John and Pat Hales and their daughter Lisa whose names will always be intrinsically linked with the super-stallion Arko and rider Nick Skelton, he broke the beam more than two seconds sooner. As he raced through the finish his fellow-countrymen Duffy (EFS Top Contender), Breen (Bombay) and Moloney (Freestyle de Muze), and the entire Irish contingent, exploded with delight.

Ireland has now rocketed up to third on the Europe Division 1 leaderboard and, with 335 points, the reigning European champions look well-qualified for the Longines 2018 Final in Barcelona (ESP) in October. Brazil finished third today, Sweden fourth and the Belgians, long-time Europe Division 1 leaders, had to settle for fifth ahead of Italy who lined up sixth of the seven competing nations.

And the Irish have another big day to look forward to when the Europe Division 1 series concludes on home ground in Dublin (IRL) in 12 days time where Britain and Italy will be desperate to move out of the danger-zone at the bottom of the league table, as only seven of the 10 competing nations will make the cut to the Barcelona Final.

Result - Hickstead (GBR):
1. Ireland - 16 faults and 0/41.29 in jump-off
2. Great Britain - 16 faults and 0/43.39 in jump-off
3. Brazil - 20 faults

Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series, Europe Division 1 leaderboard:
1 Belgium 420
2 Switzerland 340
3 Ireland 335



<![CDATA[Back-to-back win for brilliant Belgians puts them top of Division 1]]> http://chio.nl/en/news/back-to-back-win-for-brilliant-belgians-puts-them-top-of-division-1?news_id=3532 2018-06-24 On a day of doubles Team Belgium posted a back-to-back win in Europe Division 1 when coming out on top in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of The Netherlands in Rotterdam this afternoon. There were seven double-clears in the gripping competition over a really testing course set by Ireland’s Alan Wade. And the man who clinched it for the Belgian side, 22-year-old Jos Verlooy riding Igor, had already scooped the honours in Friday’s Longines Grand Prix with his other top horse Caracas.

However perhaps the most important double of all was the fact that this was only the second time in the 70-year history of CSIO Rotterdam for a Belgian side to take the Nations Cup honours. Their only previous victory was back in 1950, and they did it in great style today, under pressure in front of a packed stadium and under the watchful eye of Dutch royal family member, and former Queen, Princess Beatrix when posting a zero scoreline.

The Belgians are the form team right now, and they know it. “Our horses and riders are very strong this year - we are working towards the WEG (FEI World Equestrian Games) in September and I think we can produce a great result there!” said Verlooy. And his Chef d’Equipe Peter Weinberg was thinking even further down the line, to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2018 Final in Barcelona (ESP) in October.

Alan Wade will be course designer at the WEG and the world’s best are very happy to get experience over his tracks. As always it was built to maximum height and he tested riders more than horses, demanding straightness, balance, control and complete concentration from start to finish.

Belgium and Germany shared the lead on a zero score at the end of the first round, with Switzerland and USA close behind each carrying just four faults and the hosts and Great Britain next in line with eight apiece. Sweden couldn’t recover from a 15-fault first-round effort, but although the French completed with 16 they, like the British, showed evidence of the development of a very exciting string of newcomers.

Mistakes from Marcus Ehning (Comme Il Faut) and Markus Beerbaum (Cool Hand Luke) undermined German chances, but a double-clear from pathfinder Nicola Philippaerts (24) with H&M Chilli Willi got the Belgians off to a great start in the second round. Niels Bruynseels’ (34) lovely mare Cas de Liberte was one of several horses to misinterpret the triple bar at fence three in round one, and they went on to collect an uncharacteristic 13 faults. But second time out they were pure perfection, so when Verlooy also left the course fully intact it was game over and Belgium’s second win in a week following success in Sopot (POL) last Sunday. Pieter Devos (32) who had stepped in to rescue the situation with a brilliant first-round clear from Espoir didn’t have to jump again.

Verlooy was thrilled to have been the one to seal this historic success and was quick to thank his long-time trainer and current world no. 1 rider, Dutchman Harrie Smolders. “Harrie told me - don’t think about the result, think about jumping every fence correctly and only look at the result when you are over the finish line - stay focused on what you are doing all the way!” Verlooy explained.

Belgium has now overtaken Switzerland on the Europe Division 1 leaderboard with Germany in third, France in fourth, Spain in fifth and Sweden in sixth place. Italy, Ireland, Great Britain and Netherlands are sitting at the bottom of the table but they all have three more chances to dramatically improve their positions at the remaining Europe Division 1 legs in Falsterbo and Hickstead.

 Watch highlights here

<![CDATA[Dutch dressage team wins on home turf]]> http://chio.nl/en/news/dutch-dressage-team-wins-on-home-turf?news_id=3521 2018-06-23 The Dutch dressage team have won today’s FEI Nations Cup. Team captain Rien van der Schaft’s equipe already had a good start on Thursday by taking first position in the Grand Prix. In the scenic atmosphere of the Kralingse Bos, they continued down the same road, though the Swedish team ensured a thrilling competition by competing head-to-head with the Dutch right until their final rider Tinne Vilhelmson’s performance. The Swedes came up second. The American team were third. Edward Gal and Glock’s Zonik N.O.P. were the stars of the Dutch team by taking the win in the Grand Prix Freestyle in striking fashion. Swedish rider Therese Nilshagen and Dante Weltino Old were victorious in the Grand Prix Special.

Dutch team captain Rien van der Schaft had plenty of cause to celebrate tonight in Rotterdam. ‘’There were so many highlights in Edward’s test. That’s fantastic to see, and I’d almost consider it his trademark. Hans Peter performed very well too. These guys prove that they can bring their best when the moment demands it. They really give it their all. As team captain, that makes me very happy. It feels really good when your riders are able to deliver something extra, like they have done tonight. Hats off to all four riders. Besides Apache, who is by no means old, they all have really young horses, which promises a lot for the future.''  

Van der Schaft is also pleased with the Nations Cup format. ‘'This Nations Cup concept is a good thing for dressage as a sport. It ensures that you don’t just win if one rider has a score over 80%. You really need the whole team to do well. That ensures excitement in the competition right until the last moment.’' The FEI Nations Cup rankings are calculated with place points. In Thursday’s Grand Prix, the three best results per country counted towards the end result. The same applied tonight for the Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle combined. Tonight, The Netherlands beat Swedes by one point.

The riders

Edward Gal and his beautiful horse Glock’s Zonik N.O.P. already won Thursday’s Grand Prix and tonight did the same in the Freestyle. ‘'Zonik felt really good. In the warm-up area he reacted very strongly to Patrik Kittel’s mare and in the ring he was a bit nervous, but he carried on wonderfully. I was glad we got to ride in this stadium today, because he has to get used to an atmosphere like this. We made an error in the pirouette that cost us, but I’m very pleased. There were some really good parts’’, says Gal, who received a score of 80.075%. With this victory, Gal finishes a fantastic week at CHIO Rotterdam. He won all four categories he competed in, two with Glock’s Zonik N.O.P. and two with Glock’s Voice.

Hans Peter Minderhoud pushed to the limit in the Grand Prix Special with Glock’s Dream Boy. His efforts paid off, as he rode a terrific test. ‘’It's the best test I’ve ridden so far with this horse. Dream Boy doesn’t get spooky in this entourage and he never complains, but just does his thing. I’m really happy with it’’, he says right after his test.  

Emmelie Scholtens rode here elegant stallion Apache to a fourth place in the Grand Prix Special and was pleased with that result. ‘’For me it was the first time riding here in the big arena. I forgot a part of the passage and that’s frustrating, but I’m very happy with Apache and can only be proud.’'

Madeleine Witte-Vrees did not ride the Grand Prix she had in mind with Cennin, and she wasn’t satisfied with her performance in the Freestyle either. ‘'There were too many errors. For us, this wasn’t good, we’ve already scored higher than 80%, then this just isn’t good enough’’, the rider says.

Explaining the music

Packed stands had plenty of quality dressage action to enjoy this evening. After every test, Laurens van Lieren provided his expert commentary and for the Freestyle he was assisted by famous Dutch bariton Ernst Daniel Smid who gave his insights on the musical part of the test. This certainly provided spectators with a lesser knowledge of music with new insights.

<![CDATA[Jos Verlooy wins Longines Grand Prix at CHIO Rotterdam’s 70th edition
]]> http://chio.nl/en/news/jos-verlooy-wins-longines-grand-prix-at-chio-rotterdams-70th-edition?news_id=3508 2018-06-22 A thrilling jump-off led Jos Verlooy (BEL) and his 13-year-old stallion Caracas to victory in the Longines Grand Prix. It is the first time in the seventy year history of the event that Belgium has taken a win in this category. Reigning European Champion and last year’s winner of the Longines Grand Prix Peder Fredricson (SWE) came in second with H&M Christian K and Swiss Janika Sprunger placed third with Bacardi VDL.

Out of the fifty combinations to compete, eleven rode the course built by course designer Alan Wade without any errors to secure a place in the jump-off. Five combinations received a time penalty, leaving them just short of the jump-off. Sadly for the home crowd, among those five were Dutch riders Michel Hendrix, Willem Greve and Gerco Schröder.

Obstacle three, a vertical, proved to be deciding in tonight’s jump-off, as only four combinations managed to leave it intact. Jos Verlooy followed his trainer Harrie Smolders’ advice and that worked out well for him. After Verlooy’s run with Caracas, five combinations attempted to better his quick, faultless run but proved unsuccessful.


Our compliments to course designer Alan Wade, who along with Louis Konickx created a tough but fair course for the Longines Grand Prix. Alan Wade will also design the course for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon (USA).

<![CDATA[Great Britain to start first in FEI Nations Cup Jumping, home team The Netherlands fifth to start]]> http://chio.nl/en/news/great-britain-to-start-first-in-fei-nations-cup-jumping,-home-team-the-netherlands-fifth-to-start?news_id=3499 2018-06-22 Team Great Britain will kick off Sunday’s FEI Nations Cup Jumping, this afternoon’s draw revealed. Home team The Netherlands will start in fifth position.

Sunday’s starting order:
1. Great Britain
2. Sweden
3. United States
4. Germany
5. The Netherlands
6. France
7. Belgium
8. Switzerland   

British team captain Diane Lampard remained optimistic about her team occupying the first starting position: ‘’The gentlemen from the other teams put the lady first today. Hopefully they’ll continue to do the same on Sunday.’'

<![CDATA[Strong opening performance for Dutch team at CHIO Rotterdam]]> http://chio.nl/en/news/strong-opening-performance-for-dutch-team-at-chio-rotterdam?news_id=3491 2018-06-21 The Dutch team have made a strong start at CHIO Rotterdam. After the Grand Prix, the first part of the FEI Nations Cup, team captain Rien van der Schaft’s riders are in first place at the moment. In the individual standings, Edward Gal (NED) and his top horse Glock’s Zonik proved the best in today’s test. Therese Nilshagen (SWE) came in second place with Dante Weltino Old and her compatriot Patrik Kittel finished third with Well Done de la Roche CMF. The Swedish team are in second place at the moment, leading the United States in third place.  

Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) started the competition for the Dutch team this morning with Glock’s Dream Boy and rode a strong test worthy of 73%. Second Dutch rider Emmelie Scholtens rode her beautiful Apache to a score of 74.261%. Edward Gal and Glock’s Zonik N.O.P. started third and produced a fine and very solid test. Their score of 76.975% proved enough to take the win. For the Netherlands, Madeleine Witte-Vrees and Cennin appeared last in the ring. Unfortunately, too many errors in the test led to a rather disappointing score of 70.522%.   

Edward Gal was very pleased with Glock’s Zonik today. ‘'Last year I rode Glock’s Zonik here for the first time in an international Grand Prix and I see we haven’t just improved a great deal but that there is room to keep on improving’’, said the winner. ‘'And the judges like to see Glock’s Zonik perform, that’s nice too!''

Therese Nilshagen also hopes to keep improving with her 11-year-old gelding Dante Weltine Old. ‘'If we do, we could compete here next year at the European Championships’’, says the Swedish rider. Patrik Kittel also likes coming to Rotterdam: ‘'It's not easy to be the last to start and my mare is still young. Still, she performed very well today.''

Rien van der Schaft is satisfied with his team’s performance. ‘'This is a good start’’, he said. ‘'Three out of four have performed really well. It was what I had hoped and expected. If you can win here with a score like Edward’s then that’s a terrific achievement of course. Only Madeleine Witte-Vrees didn’t perform as well. Her horse Cennin all of a sudden was spooky and tense, something he normally never is. In training everything seemed to be going really well, so this of course is a setback, but I’m sure they’ll get past this and then we’ll give it our all again.''

National team competition

For the national team competition in Rotterdam, the team result is made up of the scores of the three best combinations for each country. After this first part of the competition, The Netherlands are in the lead in the FEI Nations Cup, followed closely by Sweden. On Saturday, the FEI Nations Cup will continue. Twee riders per country will compete in the Grand Prix  Special and two will ride a Freestyle test. Again, the scores of the three best combinations for each rider will make up the combined team score.

<![CDATA[Team Belgium reigns supreme in hard-fought battle at Sopot]]> http://chio.nl/en/news/team-belgium-reigns-supreme-in-hard-fought-battle-at-sopot?news_id=3478 2018-06-17 Team Belgium won the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Poland today, but it was no walk in the park. This fourth leg of the Western European League attracted teams from eight countries to the Hippodrome Arena in the popular seaside town of Sopot, and with six of those chasing down qualifying points for the Longines Final in Barcelona (ESP) in October it was always going to be a right royal battle.

Taking the early lead, Peter Weinberg’s side held on to reign supreme ahead of France in runner-up spot and the USA in third. Belgian anchorman, Niels Bruynseels, didn’t have to bring out his brilliant mare, Cas de Liberte, a second time but as he pointed out that wasn’t because it was an easy afternoon’s work. "The course was tough - big and technical - and the time was quite tight, but we came here well prepared, with a strong team, strong riders and a good tactic, and everyone did a super job!"

Olaf Petersen Jr’s 12-fence course was certainly challenging. “The water (fence 5) was wide, there was a huge triple bar to a vertical (fences 9 and 10) and the last double (11) was very difficult” Bruynseels pointed out. The distance to the big final water-tray oxer also caught out several of the big names in the first round, including French stalwart Kevin Staut (For Joy van’t Zorgvliet HDC) and American legend Margie Goldstein-Engle (Royce).

But it was Staut’s second-round clear that pulled his side back into the frame on a day when Mathieu Billot and Shiva d’Amaury, heroes of the French victory in St Gallen (SUI) two weeks ago, will want to forget. Olivier Robert didn’t have to jump in either round at the Swiss fixture because his team-mates were so impressive. But today he helped France secure second spot with the only double-clear of the entire competition from his 14-year-old gelding Eros.

Footperfect runs from Olivier Philippaerts and H&M Ikker and Jerome Guery with Garfield de Tijl des Templiers meant that the four faults collected by Pieter Devos and Claire Z was the Belgian drop-score first time out and Bruynseels single time penalty was all they would carry into round two. Philippaerts double-faulted second time out, but Devos was clear and by the time Guery came home with just four on the board it was all over. Their 13-fault total could not be bettered.

Lying second on four faults at the halfway stage the Swedes disappeared from the reckoning, and a final tally of 16 moved the French into runner-up position while 21 faults secured third place for Team USA on a high-scoring afternoon.

The Belgians now head to CHIO Rotterdam in The Netherlands next Sunday (24 June) for the fifth round of the eight-leg Western European series lying just 10 points behind the league leaders from Switzerland and 20 points ahead of France, and with the tension increasing with every outing.


Result - Sopot (POL):
1. Belgium - 13 faults
2. France - 16 faults
3. USA - 21 faults

Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series leaderboard, Europe Division 1 Standings:
1 Switzerland 270
2 Belgium 260
3 France 240