World of Showjumping
World of ShowjumpingWorld of Showjumping

Swiss team wins the “coolest Nations Cup there is” at CHIO Aachen

Friday, 30 June 2023
CHIO Aachen 2023

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The Swiss team won the prestigious Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup at the 2023-edition of CHIO Aachen, with both Steve Guerdat and Martin Fuchs jumping double clear rounds. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



“It is a dream come true. Winning the Nations Cup in Aachen is what all the fans of this sport dream of,” Swiss Chef d’Equipe Michel Sorg said after Steve Guerdat, Niklaus Schurtenberger, Edouard Schmitz and Martin Fuchs jumped home Switzerland’s first Nations Cup victory in Aachen since 2002. “I have had the chance to come here as a spectator many times, so to stand here today in the middle of the stadium with this amazing team is an honour and it has not quite sunk in yet,” Sorg added. 

“Everybody brought something to this team tonight; it was a team win – everyone had a counting score once and that’s the most important,” the sympathetic Swiss said after his riders’ performances.

Very tough and very big

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Steve Guerdat and Venard de Cerisy, double clear for Switzerland in the the Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup of Aachen. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

As always, the Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup was exciting to the very last fence was jumped, in large thanks to the many twists and turns the second round had to offer – and of course, with the main arena at Soers filled to the brim, the atmosphere was electric. 

While British pathfinders Ben Maher and Dallas Vegas Batilly (Cap Kennedy x l’Arc de Triomphe) had made Frank Rothenberger’s thirteen-fence track look deceptively easy when jumping a clear round as first in the ring, the poles soon started to fall in round one and continued to do so in round two – where the floodlights came on and also played its part in increasing the level of excitement. Faults spread out, but the last two lines – with a triple combination at 9abc followed by a Rolex plank at no. 10 and then a triple bar on seven long or eight short strides to a black Mercedes-Benz upright direction in-gate – made sure to keep the spectators at the edge of their seats. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Edouard Schmitz and Gamin van’t Naastveldhof, clear in round two for Switzerland. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“As always, the course for the Nations Cup was a very tough course,” Guerdat said. “We know that twelve fences in this very big ring is not always the most technical course, but it always asks a lot of jumping, especially in the second round where the light plays a big role – we can see some horses struggling a bit in the second round and some coming back even better. But with experience we know a little bit about these things, and the course was up to what it is in Aachen – very tough and very big, but with the quality of horses and riders you have here I think we saw some very good sport.”

As cool as ice

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Martin Fuchs and Commissar Pezi, anchors and double clear for the Swiss team. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

As the first round finished, it was tight on top with France, Switzerland and Sweden tied on a score of four, followed by USA, Belgium, Germany and Great Britain on eight. The Netherlands, however, was trailing behind – sitting last on 19 penalties. 

With two double clears from the Brits – first from Ben Maher and Dallas Vegas Batilly, and then later from anchor Scott Brash and Hello Jefferson (Cooper vd Heffinck x Irco Mena) – plus a clear from Harry Charles and Romeo 88 (Contact vd Heffinck x Orlando) on their second attempt at the course, Di Lampard’s men could discharge Tim Gredley’s five faults in round two – and finished on their eight penalties from round one. This was also the case for Belgium, after Koen Vereecke and Kasanova de La Pomme (Bamako de Muze x Malito de Reve), Gregory Wathelet and Ace of Hearts (Aliandro B x Ramanov ESH 17) as well as Nicola Philippaerts and Katanga vh Dingeshof (Cardento x Tornedo FCS) – also clear in round one – all delivered clears in round two, with Olivier Philippaerts’ four faults as their drop score. 

This certainly put the other teams under pressure, and Germany, USA, as well as Sweden, could not keep up with the flush of clear rounds from Belgium and Great Britain – eventually the hosts and the Americans finished on a score of twelve and the Swedes on 20. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ “Obviously, I am really, really happy to win here in Aachen with such a crowd, together with three friends, with my father as the team trainer, with an amazing Chef d’Equipe – Michel Sorg – so it’s a beautiful, beautiful night,” Martin Fuchs said after securing the victory for his team. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

However, the Swiss also felt the heat. After Steve Guerdat and Venard de Cerisy (Open Up de Semilly x Djalisco du Guet) had delivered a double clear to get their team off to the best possible start, their second man in the ring – Schurtenberger – had a massive score of 23 faults, leaving Edouard Schmitz and Martin Fuchs with no room for error. France had seen Simon Delestre finish on a score of four and Megane Moissonnier jump double clear with her wonderful Cordial (Casall x Chicago Z), meaning it was still very much a battle between Switzerland, France, Belgium and Great Britain – the three latter a pole away from the Swiss team. But when Schmitz bounced back after eight faults in the first round to deliverer a clear in the second aboard Gamin van’t Naastveldhof (Chacco Chacco x Toulon), and Dilasser had a fall at the very last fence, it was all down to Fuchs who had to jump clear with his 10-year-old Commissar Pezi (Commissario x Lord Pezi) to secure the win. One down, and there would be a jump-off between the teams on eight faults. 

But, as cool as ice, Fuchs piloted Commissar Pezi to another clear round punching the air in delight as it exploded at Soers while his teammates celebrated on the side-line. On eight faults, Great Britain rode themselves up to second and Belgium to third – only separated by the time. For France it fell apart, they dropped down the result list to finish seventh behind USA in fourth, Germany in fifth and Sweden in sixth. 

The coolest Nations Cup there is

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ "Before the last line I started to get a bit nervous, it was only two more fences to jump and if I would be clear we would win the coolest Nations Cup there is," Martin Fuchs said about his second round. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Fuchs was smiling from ear to ear after his double clear and credited his horse for giving him the confidence to get the job done for the Swiss team. “I had a really good feeling, Commissar Pezi jumped amazing already in the first round. He felt great warming up for the second round, and Steve was there giving me some confidence. We did not jump him much before the second round, he felt so good. When I entered the ring, I had a lot of confidence thanks to my horse, and I was just thinking ‘Ok, I give my best, I know you give yours – so let’s try to win this Nations Cup’. Before the last line I started to get a bit nervous, it was only two more fences to jump and if I would be clear we would win the coolest Nations Cup there is.”

Guerdat was also delighted with his faithful partner Venard de Cerisy – now 14-years-old. “Obviously I am very happy with Venard, he is in great shape after his holiday and this is his second double clear in a row in a Nations Cup – he was also double clear in St. Gallen, so I am very, very, pleased with him.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Chef d'Equipe Michel Sorg, Edouard Schmitz, Martin Fuchs, Steve Guerdat and Niklaus Schurtenberger. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Schmitz, second in Wednesday’s Turkish Airlines – Prize of Europe – was also wearing a big smile. “I am also very pleased with how Gamin has been jumping this week. He was very good yesterday, and had a very good second round today. I think sometimes it’s good for me to get a little kick in the butt, and that’s what I got after my first round,” he laughed. “I am very happy about the outcome; it was a great team performance and to get a win in my debut in Aachen means a lot to me.”

“Obviously, I am really, really happy to win here in Aachen with such a crowd, together with three friends, with my father as the team trainer, with an amazing Chef d’Equipe – Michel Sorg – so it’s a beautiful, beautiful night,” Fuchs concluded.


This photo has been added to your cart !

Your shopping cart »
This website is using cookies for statistics, site optimization and retargeting purposes. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website. Read more here.