Belgium was the best in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Europe Division 2 in Odense on Friday evening, tightening the grip on the competition as it moved along. With a double clear round from pathfinder Gilles Dunon on Fou de Toi v. Keihoe (Toulon x Melkior du Montois), as well as great rounds from Catherine van Roosbroeck on Gautcho Da Quinta (Cicero x Upsilon vd Heffick), Wilm Vermeir on Garrincha Hedoniste (Quite Capitol x Thunder van de Zuuthoeve) and Jerome Guery on Papillon Z (Perhaps x Cassini I) – the Belgians had control of the class more or less from start to finish.
The first round was characterized by a lot of faults, with six of the thirteen teams ending on a 20+ penalty score. The track was big enough, especially for the riders and horses with less experience – and the uneven ground in the grass ring did not make it easier for the four legged athletes. Proceeding on to round two were eight teams, with Belgium and Great Britain leading the way on a one penalty score and Ukraine breathing them in the neck on four penalties.
The top two teams after round one were the ones to battle it out for the win though. Unfortunately Britain's Harriett Nuttall could not repeat her first clear round on A Touch Imperious (Touchdown x Cavalier Royale), and had to see one pole fall in round two – and suddenly Belgium had an advantage after Dunon had gone double clear. For Great Britain it did not get any better when Chloe Winchester – who had a time penalty in the first round on Avoca Valkyrie (Touchdown x Frankfort Boy) – notched up nine faults the second time around. With Catherine van Roosbroeck finishing on four faults, Belgium slowly seemed to take more and more control.
Emma O’Dwyer impressed again though, and rode yet another clear round for the British team on HHS Figero (Guidam x Cavalier Royale) – putting them back in contest for the top of the podium. And the chances for the Brits improved when Vermeir had eight faults, which later were to be discharged for the Belgians.
It’s always hard to be the anchor rider, but Jerome Guery was determined to improve his first round that included an uncharacteristic stop on the Furusiyya oxer from Papillon Z. This time around it went a lot better and Guery secured a clear round that made it possible to take off Vermeir’s eight faults on the final account, and the Belgian team were left on a five penalty score – with each and every one contributing to the success.
Great Britain needed a clear round to keep up with the Belgians, but Julie Andrews had four faults on Ayrton IV (Cantus x Burggraaf) and this time around the Brits had to settle for second place in Odense with a total of nine faults – last year they went off with the win at the Danish event.
Ukraine fell down the ranks though when only Rene Tebbel on the Clinton-stallion Suspens Floreval managed to produce a second clear round. Tebbel, who has been on tremendous form lately, notched up one of three double clear rounds in the Nations Cup but that did not help his team this time around.
Italy on the other hand took the opportunity, and climbed up to the third step on the podium after a great team effort. The three first team members - Emanuele Massimiliano Bianchi on Vadetta v. Mettenhof (Oram x Ahorn), Luigi Polesello on Panama Tame (Carthago x French Cancan) and Filippo Bologni on Fixdesign Chopin (Quantum x Corofino I) – all left the fences intact in round two, but notched up a time penalty each. Polesello and Bologni were also without faults on the fences in the first round, with Polesello finishing on one time penalty and Bologni being clear. In the end the Italian’s boys efforts brought them on the podium, with Giampiero Garofalo joining them as Italy’s fourth rider.
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