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Italy chasing a hat-trick in Friday’s Nations Cup Intesa Sanpaolo

Friday, 24 May 2019
CSIO5* Rome 2019

Photo © CSIO Roma / M. Villanti Photo © CSIO Roma / M. Villanti


Press release from CSIO Rome Piazza di Siena



With three home-side wins on the first day, Italian hearts are full of hope for their third consecutive victory in Friday’s Intesa Sanpaolo Nations Cup in which there is €250,000 up for grabs along with the honour and glory of winning one of the most prestigious and historic team events on the international circuit.

The order-of-go has been decided and first into the ring will be Team Sweden followed by Belgium, Germany, Italy, Israel, Switzerland, Ireland, Netherlands and France.

But before that gets underway, at 14.30 local time, there will be more fast action in the Land Rover Speed at 11.00.

Italian whitewash in MAG JLT Two-Phase

Photo © FISE / M. Grassia Photo © FISE / M. Grassia

Emilio Bicocchi headed up an amazing one-two-three for Italian riders in the MAG JLT Two-Phase as the first day of CSIO Rome Piazza di Siena 2019 drew to a close. It seemed that Ireland’s Mark McAuley and the super-fast 10-year-old Valentino Tuiliere were unbeatable as their time of 25.61 seconds, set when third into the ring, looked impossible to catch right into the closing stages.

But the Italians can never be under-estimated, especially on their home turf, and an extraordinary burst of speed from Guido Franchi and his stallion Quixote DC who were 57th of the 69 starters into the ring and who crossed the line in 24.95 seconds, saw the Irishman lose his grip on the lead. And it was loosened even further by Emilio Bicocchi who wears the uniform of the Italian airforce, and who flew around the course with the mare Evita SG Z in 24.73 to pip his fellow-countryman by a margin of just 0.22 seconds.

That proved to be the winning time, and Bicocchi was more than delighted with his young mare. “She’s only 10 years old and I’ve only been riding her for the last six months but she’s very tough - she’s a real warrior!” Bicocchi said. He is tempted now to ride her in Sunday’s €400,000 Rolex Grand Prix. “I’m not sure - I will compete her in another small class first and then decide” he explained.

Rounding up the perfect day for the host nation, that grand old man of Italian showjumping, Luca Maria Moneta’s 18-year-old gelding Connery, slotted into third place when posting a time of 25.22 seconds when fourth-last to go, demoting Ireland’s McAuley to fourth place. “Connery is a legend!” said the popular Moneta, and he’s absolutely right about that.

Paini posts Italy’s second win

Photo © Simone Ferraro / CONI Photo © Simone Ferraro / CONI

Paolo Paini (49) made it a back-to-back double of victories for Italy when coming out on top in the first competition to take place in the hallowed grass arena at CSIO Rome Piazza di Siena 2019. Riding the nine-year-old mare Chaccolie he scorched around the track in the ENI Speed but he had a nervous moment when, last to go, Jorne Sprehe (36), and her 13-year-old mare Luna came very close to clinching it for Germany.

It was America’s Jessica Springsteen (27) who set the early target in a time of 60.53 seconds when 12th to go of the 59 starters, and she was still out in front when Paini came into the ring with just 13 left to run. He steered his way home in 59.18, and that seemed impossible to beat, although as Sprehe set off it was clear she was going to give him a run for his money.

Jorne’s cousins Kristina, Tanja and Jan have all competed in equestrian sport at international level and Kristina was part of the German squad that claimed Dressage team silver at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, so this is a family with a highly competitive edge. Jorne looked set to catch Paini today, but the clock stopped on 59.79 to leave her lying a close second while Springsteen moved down into third.

“My horse is very young and now I have qualified for the Grand Prix on Sunday so I am very happy!” Paini said. 

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