Belgium, with Damien Plume on Issini van Gerhoeven (Cassini I x Corrado I), Fabienne Daigneux-Lange on Venue D'Fees des Hazalles (President x Alcatras), Gaetan Decroix on Quel Homme de Hus (Quidam de Revel x Candillo) and Jerome Guery on Garfield de Tiji des Templiers (Quasimodo Z x Goldspring de Lauzelle) – secured the win in the CSIO3* Nations Cup in Rabat during the Morocco Royal Tour. Second place went to Italy while Switzerland, Morocco and Saudi Arabia followed in third.
After the first round of the Nations Cup, five teams found themselves on a zero score; Qatar, the Syrian Arab Republic, Belgium, Switzerland and home country Morocco. They were followed by two teams on four penalties; France and Italy – and then Saudi Arabia on eight faults.
All these teams qualified for the second round, while Algeria and Ireland had to finish after round one.
Things changed during round two though, and after their first two riders Saudi Arabia and Italy had delivered only clears. Morocco and Belgium on the other hand, had one rider on four faults and one clear round each – while Switzerland had one on zero and one on eight. France, Qatar and the Syrian Arab Republic didn't get off to a good start with 4-8, 9-4 and 8-10 penalties respectively. Especially for the Syrian this was a hard start, as they only had three riders in the team – all counting.
The bad luck continued for Qatar with the two next riders both getting problems in the triple combination leaving one with 15 faults and the other eliminated, putting them on a total of 28 faults. Syria had to add another four faults to their score, ending on 22 faults while France finished on 16 faults even though Alix Ragot delivered a clear round.
In the third round Saudi Arabia and Morocco got four faults each, while Italy delivered yet another clear round ensuring that there was no need of their fourth rider Juan Carlos Garcia entering the ring. Clears came also from Switzerland and Belgium.
This kept the pressure on for the anchor riders. Abdullah Al Sharbatly gave Saudi Arabia a clear, leaving the team on eight faults knowing they couldn't end better than second with Italy on four. Home hero Abdelkebir Ouaddar had to see a pole fall pushing hosts Morocco down to tie with Saudi Arabia, and with Switzerland's last rider getting 20 faults they had to count their earlier eight faults leaving them on the same score as Saudi Arabia and Morocco.
When Belgium's last rider Jerome Guery entered the ring he needed to clear the track to take home the win. Guery did not crack under the pressure, and delivered for Belgium securing the win in a brilliant way.
As many as nine riders delivered double clears during the Nations Cup: Khaled Abdulrahman Almobty for Saudi Arabia, Luca Marziani and Francesco Turturiello for Italy, Abdeslam Bennani Smires for Morocco, Nadja Peter Steiner and Pius Schwizer for Switzerland and as many as three riders – Fabienne Daigneux-Lange, Gaetan Decroix and Jerome Guery – for the winning team Belgium.
Text and picture © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping
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