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Highlights from the Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup at CHIO Aachen 2024, part two

Wednesday, 10 July 2024
CHIO Aachen 2024

Last Thursday's CSIO5* 1.60m €1 million Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup at CHIO Aachen 2024 saw ten world-class teams head into a battle over Frank Rothenberger's 12-fence track, with only eight spots on offer for the second round. 

After the first round, five of the ten teams at start were sitting on a score of zero: Sweden – who really impressed with all their four horse-and-rider combinations delivering convincing clear rounds – Ireland, Mexico, Great Britain and the Netherlands. France, Belgium and Germany were sitting 6th, 7th and 8th with four faults each, while the USA and last year’s winners Switzerland were 9th and 10th on a score of eight faults, which left them out of round two. But, none of the other returning seven teams could do anything about Ireland, who claimed the victory on a score of zero. 

"This has been my full bucket list, actually," the Irish chef d'equipe Michael Blake said after his quartet of Denis Lynch on Vistogrand, Bertram Allen on Pacino Amiro, Shane Sweetnam on James Kann Cruz and Cian O'Connor on Fancy de Kergane had been in a league of their own – securing the victory before the last rotation of riders had even begun. "This is such a great bunch of lads. It is brilliant to be here and I am so lucky to work with this team," Blake said. 

And with this photo special, we look back at the action in round two of last Thursday's Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup at the Soers. 

All photos © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. No reproduction of any of the content in this article will be accepted without a written permission, all rights reserved © World of If copyright violations occur, a penalty fee will apply.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. The loudest of them all: The Soers can accommodate for over 40,000 spectators, but it was this Mexican fanbase that made the most noise for their team.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Ludger Beerbaum was there for the German team and his riders from Riesenbeck.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Luck was not on their side on Thursday... Andre Thieme and DSP Chakaria picked up four penalties in both rounds, but came back strong to win Sunday's Rolex Grand Prix.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Fighting back: Koen Vereecke and Kasanova de La Pomme improved in the second round to deliver a much needed clear for Peter Weinberg's squad.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Francois Xavier Boudant and Brazyl du Mezel proved that they are a consistent couple, delivering the only double clear of the evening for Henk Nooren's French side.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Double clear for the Brits: The current world number two Ben Maher and his 11-year-old Dallas Vegas Batilly.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Team Maher had all the reasons to smile.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Big smiles on the Irish team as Denis Lynch and Vistogrand leave the ring with a clear round in the pocket.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. There to support: Denis' wife Julia and his daughter Sarah.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Leading the way for the Swedes: Henrik von Eckermann and Iliana. After a convincing four clears in round one, it started to go downhill for Henrik Ankacrona's team as the floodlights came on at the Soers.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Jana Wargers and Limbridge waiting for their turn with the Ashford Farm team.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Ashford Farm's Enda Carroll celebrates a double clear from Jana and Limbridge.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Abdel Said consults with Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum after a clear round for Team Belgium.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Harry Charles and Casquo Blue ended up being the drop-score for the British team that finished third, after recording an unusual twelve faults.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Andres Azcarraga delivered the first double clear for the Mexican team with Contendros 2...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. ...keeping pressure on Ireland.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ But Ireland answered right back, with another clear from Bertram Allen and Pacino Amiro.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. The future looks bright for these two! Kendra Claricia Brinkop and the only 9-year-old Tabasco de Toxandria delivered a double clear for the Germans.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. It started well, but... Jos Lansink's Dutch team finished last of the eight teams in round two as all the four horse-and-rider combinations picked up penalties.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Robert Whitaker and Vermento flying the British flag.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. "We will never forget this moment in our lives," Federico Fernandez said on behalf of the whole Mexican team that finished second.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. As the third of the Irish riders in the ring at Soers, Shane Sweetnam cut the competition short with a double clear round aboard the incredible James Kann Cruz to secure the victory for Ireland before the anchors had even begun entering the ring. "This is what dreams are made of," Sweetnam said.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. As the night went on, the Swedish score grew...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. As the Belgian anchor pair, Nicola Philippaerts and Katanga V.H Dingeshof did what they could, delivering the only double clear of the team that finished fourth in the end.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Serious faces as Team Belgium watches on...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. All well under pressure: Scott Brash and Hello Jefferson were the British anchor pair, securing the third place finish for Di Lampard's team with their stylish double clear round.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Teamwork makes the dream work...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Ready to seal the deal...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. An over-joyed Mexican team after a double clear from Eugenio Garza Perez and Contago secured them the runner-up spot.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Eugenio Garza Perez certainly seems to like it in Aachen!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Fighting for the Swedes: Petronella Andersson and the 10-year-old Opaline de W&S were the only pair from Henrik Ankarcrona's quartet that managed to deliver another clear in round two. However, it did not help much as the Swedes fell down to 5th.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. ...when the math does not work in your favour...It was a lot to keep track of as the competition unfolded.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Hugs all around for the Brits that ended third, and for the Mexicans that finished second.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. A big smile from Ben!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Cuddles for Cian O'Connor's Fancy de Kergane, who did not even have to return for round two!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. It takes a village!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Shane Sweetnam had good reason to smile!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. The Irish lads celebrating their win.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Not their first rodeo... Denis Lynch had his hands full with Vistogrand celebrating during the lap of honour.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Dankeschön! The Irish chef d'equipe Michael Blake made sure to give back to the amazing crowds in Aachen.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Catch it if you can! Thank you CHIO Aachen, it was another wonderful week!

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