The French team of Laurent Goffinet, Caroline Nicolas, Marie Demonte and Cedric Angot claimed the win in the third leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Europe Division 2 in Lisbon, Portugal last night. The hosts had to settle for joint-runner-up spot with Brazil, but as only Portugal and Italy were collecting points at this leg of the series, their second-place provided a good boost on the overall standing.
Of the ten nations in the first round, only eight qualified for the second round and it was the teams from Chile and Spain that were left on the sideline. Pathfinder Goffinet went clear for France in the first round with his 10 year old French bred Quick Star-son Qantar des Etisses and anchorman Cedric Angot did likewise with his nine year old Diamant de Semilly-stallion Rubis de Preuilly, but the French were sharing an eight-fault first-round total with Brazil and Italy when both Nicolas on Mozart de Beny (Timorrak de Isles x Starter) and Demonte on Rhune d'Euskadi (Dollar du Murier x Jus de Pomme) each had two fences down.
The Portuguese, British and Moroccan teams meanwhile were out in front with just a four fault score and looked set to battle it out between them as round two progressed. And Portugal's second round began with a clear from Mario Wilson Fernandes and Zurito do Belmonte (Gedeon d'l' Herbage x Granusso) to keep them well in the race. But when Joao Chuva on Virginia Dream (Lando y Cavalier), Luis Sabino Goncalves on Imperio Egipico Milton (Dollar du Murier x Capitol I) and Marina Frutuose de Melo on Coltaire Z (Carthago Z x Voltaire) all made single mistakes they lost their grip to finish on a 12-fault total.
The British added a massive 29 faults second time out to disappear from contention while the Moroccans also went into freefall with 32 more on their scorecard, but the Brazilians made the perfect start to the second round with another lovely clear from their young star Marlon Zanotelli riding Clintash (Clinton x Nikita II). And even though second-line rider, Stephan de Freitas Barcha, collected a colossal 34 faults they could drop that when Pedro Veniss and Rissoa D'AG Bois Margot (Quaprice Bois Margot x Artichaut) went clear and last-line rider Bernardo Alves on Starling 7 (Stakkato x Calvaro) left just one on the floor to put them on level pegging with the host country.
It was three second round clears that clinched it for the eventual winners. Angot was not obliged to return to the arena in round two as the his French team-mates had it already sealed the deal; Nicolas and Demonte redeeming themselves after their first-round errors with foot-perfect second efforts.
Goffinet's – double clear for the winning team – will by many be remembered for his time on the little stallion Flipper d'Elle, who was a much-admired member of the French team during the years when Jean-Maurice Bonneau, now Chef d'Equipe for Brazil, steered France to dominate the FEI Nations Cup circuit. "My last Nations Cup was eight year ago and now I am preparing a young horse and will break into the first team once again with him" Goffinet said confidently after the great results.
Source: Press release by FEI/Louise Parkes
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