20 Jun 2014
FRENCH PIP THE DUTCH FOR FURUSIYYA HONOURS IN THREE-ROUND THRILLER AT ROTTERDAM By Louise Parkes
eam France completed their points-gathering campaign in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2014 series today with a superb victory at the fifth leg of the Europe Division 1 League in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. But they had to fight hard for those maximum points which have now earned them a qualifying spot for the much-anticipated second annual Furusiyya Final which will take place in Barcelona, Spain in October.
Early on the track riders had to navigate around the small copse of trees that traditionally stand within the Rotterdam arena in order to get to fence three. But some didn’t get the flow of the turn quite right here while others tried to angle the fence in order to pick up some time on the run to the following water, and as a result the blue-and-white oxer regularly hit the floor.
Going to test them The track built by Spanish course designer, Santiago Varela, was always going to test them. This, after all, is the man who was widely praised for the quality of the courses he presented for the thrilling inaugural Furusiyya Final at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona last September, and he gave them a flavour of what they might expect when the Final returns to the Spanish venue in October this year with a course that required accuracy, speed and clear decision-making about stride distances.
As round two evolved however many of the leading nations wilted under pressure, and the Swiss completely lost their grip when adding 16 to their tally. The Brazilians also disappeared from the reckoning despite a brilliant double-clear from Yuri Mansur Guerios and First Devision and that allowed the British to move up the order when Joe Clee and Utamaro D’Ecaussaine also returned with a second clean sheet, Spencer Roe recovered from a shaky first round to go clear this time out with Wonder Why and newcomer, Jessie Drea, followed her opening clear with just a
First man into the ring, Ireland’s Denis Lynch, blotted an otherwise perfect run when his easy-jumping 10-year-old mare Coulisa The host nation pushed them all the way, forcing a jump-off spooked at the water and got her feet wet, and she wouldn’t be against the clock and keeping the packed stadium of spectators, the only one. including former Queen of The Netherlands, Princess Beatrix, on the edges of their seats. The dream of a long-awaited home And there was little time to recover before the following oxer victory was snatched away at the last moment however when at five which led on to a big 1.60m vertical at six before turning Gerco Schroder and Glock’s London couldn’t match Penelope right-handed to the double at fence seven. Another swing to the Leprevost’s clear in the jump-off with Flora de Mariposa. right brought them to the 1.50m oxer at eight and the water-tray oxer at nine before circling back to the brightly-coloured triple It was a tension-filled afternoon, with much riding on the result combination which took a significant toll.There were two strides in terms of qualification for five of the eight competing nations. between the first two vertical elements here and then one stride France, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands to the oxer on the way out before taking a dog-leg line to the were all in the hunt for points, and it was the last chance for both penultimate orange planks. This fence proved highly influential, France and Switzerland who have now used all four qualifying especially in the second round, while the final oxer also played opportunities. The French have been strong all season, coming its part. into today’s contest at the head of the Europe Division 1 series, but sixth place for Switzerland today may have left them On home ground vulnerable. Team manager Rob Ehrens was very much hoping for success this year, because in his 10-year tenure with the Dutch team they have There were surprises all the way, with Germany fielding a not won on home ground. And at the halfway point it seemed powerhouse of a team for their first points-gathering outing but that his dream might just come true when his side led the way on having to settle for third place ahead of Great Britain in fourth a zero score. But Switzerland, Germany, France and Brazil were and Brazil in fifth, while the Irish trailed the Swiss when slotting only a fence behind, carrying four faults each while the British into seventh and the USA filled eighth place. were on 12 and the Irish and Americans on 13.
SPORTING HORSE Issue 19