With a totally clean sheet, Switzerland won the first leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Europe Division 1 in Lummen. With the three first riders - Pius Schwizer on Toulago, Romain Duguet on Quorida de Treho and Paul Estermann on Castlefield Eclipse - all double clear, Switzerland's fourth rider Steve Guerdat didn't even have to enter the ring on Nasa.
It was a typical Nations Cup track set by mastermind Uliano Vezzani - and it included a triple combination, a combination and an open water. After the first round Switzerland, France and the Netherlands were all in the lead joined on a zero penalty score. Sweden and Belgium shared the fourth place with a total of eight penalties, while Ireland followed as rank six with twelve penalties, Spain in seventh with fifteen penalties and Great Britain in rank eight on sixteen penalties.
Switzerland's Pius Schwizer and Toulago (Toulon x Carthago) delivered yet another clear in the second round, while the first riders from the Netherlands and France - Bert Bles with Lord Sandro Ddh (Lordanos x Sandros) and Kevin Staut with Reveur de Hurtebise HDC (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Capricieux des Six Censes) got four faults each. With the first riders in the second round done, Switzerland was still in the lead ahead of France and the Netherlands that tied as rank two.
Netherland's second rider Robert Vos and Interline H (Indoctro x Elmshorn), who ended the first round with four faults, got some problems in the turn to the triple combination leaving them with twelve penalties - a score that was later discharged for the Dutch team. France's second rider Aymeric De Ponnat with the lovely Armitages Boy (Armitage x Feo) repeated his clear from the first round though, as did Switzerland's Romain Duguet on Quorida de Treho (Kannan x Tolblac des Forets) - keeping both the Swiss team as well as the French in the contest for the podium. The Dutch team on the other hand started to struggle.
After the third riders had been in the ring, Belgium and Ireland were climbing and shared the third place while the Netherlands was pushed down to fifth position. With Paul Estermann being clear againg for Switzerland, their last rider Steve Guerdat could watch the entire competition ringside without having to jump one fence.
With a clear rounds from Ireland's Billy Twomey on Diaghilev (Vangelis S x Handstreich) and Belgium's Gregory Wathelet on Sea Coast Forlap DC (Querlybet Hero x Heartbreaker) Ireland and Belgium climbed up the ranks and ended on a tied third place.
The last rider from France - Penelope Leprevost with Dame Blanche van Arenberg (Clinton x Codexco) could have given the crowds a jump-off with a clear round as it would have discharged Kevin Staut's four faults - but one pole fell towards the very end of the course and France had to settle for second place.
Double clear rounds were delivered not only from the Swiss team but also from France's Aymeric de Ponnat on Armitages Boy, Belgium's Gregory Wathelet on Sea Coast Forlap Dc and both Eduardo Alvarez Aznar with Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot (L’Arc de Triomphe) and Sergio Alvarez Moya with Zipper (Apple Juice x Concorde) for the Spanish team.
1. Switzerland - 0 faults
2. France - 4 faults
3. Belgium and Ireland - 12 faults
5. Netherlands - 16 faults
6. Spain - 19 faults
7. Sweden - 21 faults
8. Great Britain - 33 faults
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