Brilliant British beat them all at La Baule

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Team Great Britain clinched victory at the second leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2015 Europe Division 1 League in La Baule, France today. In a cliff-hanger of a competition it fell to one of the most popular riders on the international circuit, Michael Whitaker, to seal the result. He endured a heart-stopping first effort with the stallion Cassionato, but when it comes to grit and determination the world-famous Whitaker family are never found lacking. And the 55-year-old was the hero of the day when bringing the spectacular grey home with just two time faults at his second attempt to claim pole position for his country.

British pathfinder, Joe Clee, showed his class when producing one of four double-clears with Utamaro D’Ecaussines, and with just four faults from Spencer Roe and Wonder Why and five from Guy Williams and Titus, British Chef d’Equipe Di Lampard had every reason to be pleased.

The host nation lined up a close second ahead of Ireland in third, while Spain and Belgium shared fourth spot, Brazil and Switzerland shared sixth and the defending Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping champions from The Netherlands finished last of the eight competing nations.

British Chef d’Equipe, Di Lampard, said she is “lucky to have so many good riders to choose from. It makes it difficult sometimes, but competition is good for everybody, it’s healthy and it helps me make my choices.” Youngest member of the winning side, 22-year-old Roe, said “it felt really good today. My first round was perfect, the second not as good but you also get to learn when you’re making mistakes, and it was my mistake, not my horse’s”, he insisted.

Clee joked about Whitaker’s trick-riding antics in the first round. “I think Michael was just showing off really, the rest of us were jumping pretty good so he just wanted to get some attention for himself!”

From a French perspective, this was a big day too. Chef d’Equipe, Philippe Guerdat said this evening, “Our first objective of the season was to get qualifying points for the Furusiyya Final in Barcelona. We’ve done that, and unless we have really bad results in the last two events, we’re pretty much certain to have secured our spot. Our second objective is to prepare for the FEI European Championships in Aachen” he explained.

The British weren’t chasing Furusiyya points today, but they will be when they arrive at Piazza di Siena in Rome, Italy next week. And there is just a possibility that the entire British side could consist of members of the Whitaker family nextt Friday, as five of them, including Michael, have been selected for the third leg of the Europe Division 1 League.

The next leg of the Europe Division 1 series will take place at Piazza di Siena in Rome, Italy on Friday 22 May.

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