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The Netherlands repeats the winning recipe in St. Gallen

Friday, 01 June 2012

The winning Dutch team in St. Gallen: Jeroen, Gerco, Marc and Leon with Rob Ehrens! Photo by Just like last year it was the Dutch team that took home the win in the Top League Nations Cup in St. Gallen, Switzerland. With only one penalty point down to runners-up Switzerland and Great Britain, the race for the victory became a close one – but in the end it was Rob Ehrens’ orange crew that could climb to the top of the podium for a second year in a row. This was the first Dutch win of the season, although they ended second in the opening leg in La Baule.

After the first round it was Germany – the winning nation from Rome – that was in the lead with a score of only one penalty. Christian Ahlmann on Codex One (Contendro I x Glueckspilz), Rene Tebbel on Light On (Lordanos x Landadel) and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum on Bella Donna (Baldini II x Calido I) left all poles intact and could discharge Marcus Ehning’s eight penalties – but were left with Ahlmann’s one time fault. The Dutch team was behind on a six penalty score, after Leon Thijssen’s four faults and Marc Houtzager and Jeroen Dubbeldam’s one penalty apiece had to count when Gerco Schröder’s nine penalties were discharged. Switzerland was in third after clear rounds from both Werner Muff on Kiamon (Kolibri x Ramiro’s Match) and Clarissa Crotta on West Side V. Meerpothoeve (Baloubet du Rouet x Apollonios), a spot they shared with Great Britain whose sole clear in the first round came from the comeback rider on the team – Tim Stockdale on Fresh Direct Kalico Bay (Limmerick x Cruising).

Werner Muff on Kiamon rode one of the three double clears of the day in St. Gallen. Photo by second round saw the climb of the Netherlands, and the fall of the Germans. Leon Thijssen produced a great clear on the bouncy stallion Tyson (Numero Uno x Voltaire), as did Jeroen Dubbeldam on BMC Utascha (Lux Z x Indoctro) – that was also a part of the winning team here last year, then with Eric van der Vleuten in the saddle. Jeroen’s stay at home last weekend obviously paid off, as Utascha jumped great and really galloped around the ring. Gerco Schröder rode fabulous as last to go on the Dutch team – and kept calm to cross the finish line on only one time penalty on the beautiful white stallion Eurocommerce New Orleans (Colbert x Carthago). These three rounds meant that Marc Houtzager’s unfortunate four faults from one down at fence ten did not count, and the Dutch team was left on only one time penalty in round two – which in the end was enough to take the win on a total of seven penalties.

Switzerland had a fantastic second round – just like in Rome! Clear rounds from all of the first three riders on the team contributed to a great day on home soil. Werner Muff, Janika Sprunger on the well jumping Baloubet du Rouet-son Palloubet d’Halong and Clarissa Crotta all rode clears – which meant that Pius Schwizer and Carlina (Carvallo x Landgraf) could opt not to ride. Pius went in though, jumped the first fence and retired. Werner Muff’s Kiamon jumped amazing; and looked like a real rubber ball around the track, while Clarissa Crotta was really determined to make it today. The total of eight penalties over the two rounds left Switzerland – who came back in the Top League this season – with yet another second place, just like last weekend at Piazza di Siena.

Clarissa Crotta rode two fantastic clear rounds on home soil on West Side V. Meerputhoeve. Photo by veterans on the British team must have put a smile on Rob Hoekstra’s face. In round two Nick Skelton on the amazing Carlo (Contender x Cascavelle) that never stops to impress, Tim Stockdale – who had one of the three double clears of the day – and John Whitaker on the promising Maximillian (Carnute x Siouz de Baugy) all rode clear rounds so that Michael Whitaker’s twelve faults could be discharged. Finally a good result for the British team, who could climb to the podium for the first time in this Top League season. An altogether experience of more than 200 years on the team really paid off!

Germany dropped down to fourth though. Christian Ahlmann and Codex One yet again left all the fences intact and proved that they are a force to be reckoned with as team selection is concerned, and Marcus Ehning was clear on Plot Blue – but unfortunately both Tebbel and Michaels-Beerbaum were left on eight faults. Ireland and France continued to struggle and ended in sixth and seventh respectively after finishing on 28 and 35 penalties. The highlight on the Irish team was the sole clear from Jessica Kürten in round two on the lovely stallion Voss (Voltaire x Animo). Although the Fredricson-brothers produced two clear rounds for Sweden in round one, things really didn’t work out for Linda Heed and it really fell apart for the team in round two. The Swedes ended last.

Click here for full results.

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