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Thursday, October 23, 2014


Great Britain Significant in St Gallen

Monday 06 June 2011

Great Britain Significant in St Gallen

Great Britain Significant in St Gallen
 
This afternoon saw Great Britain compete in the enormous grass arena at St. Gallen, Switzerland against eight other nations in this, the third leg of the 2011 FEI Nations Cup.  With Switzerland having been relegated last year the competition draw vast crowds with those wanting to support their team who, as host nation, were invited to compete alongside the eight teams that make up the 2011 top level league.
 
Going into the competition sitting midway on the league table, World Class Showjumping Performance Manager, Rob Hoekstra took a strong team with him in the form of Tim Stockdale, Robert Smith, Scott Brash and Nick Skelton. 
 
Drawn ninth to go the team had the benefit of being able to watch the other nations go first giving them a feel for both the toughness of the course in terms of the technicalities and the time allowed.
 
Round 1
It was Tim Stockdale from Northampton with the horse he secured the King George V title last year, Fresh Direct Kalico Bay who is owned by Colin Garrett that took the role of pathfinder for team.   However, an unfortunate pole down at the start of the course meant a finish of 4 faults for the combination in an otherwise faultless round by the super talented ten year old bay gelding which only a year ago was still to step up to this level.
 
Warwickshire’s Robert Smith were second to go for Great Britain with the eleven year old bay stallion Talan, a horse he jointly owns with Di and Pennie Cornish.  Having made their debut in the series at La Baule in May, Talan looked the confident and scopey horse as ever.  Giving each of the fences plenty of clearance the combination was up against the clock and the knowledge as they approached the last that they may possibly incur some time penalties.  Whether it was this that resulted in a rolling of the front pole of the oxer giving them a finish score of four penalties and a time fault or not who knows.  But the disappointment for Robert was all too evident as he punched the air in frustration accompanied by audible groans from the crowd.
 
Scotland’s young World Class supported rider Scott Brash with the horse he partnered at the World Equestrian Games, Intertoy Z which is owned by his father, Stanley were next to go.  Having made their first appearance at this level last year in La Baule, they then went on to be a mainstay in the teams through the season.  Producing not only a foot perfect clear round, but a round that made it look easy,  the combination came through the finish on a zero penalty score knowing they had done enough to secure Great Britain into a strong position.
 
Anchorman, Nick Skelton from Warwickshire with Beverley Widdowson’s flamboyant and eye-catching ten year old grey stallion Carlo proved themselves to be the class act that everyone knows them for.  However, an unfortunate push to last resulted in the front pole being rolled in the same way as it had for Robert earlier leaving them on a score of four penalties and Great Britain in joint fourth on the leaderboard at the end of the first half.
 
With only the top three of the four scores being counted for each team’s total, Great Britain joined France on a total of eight faults in joint fourth position as they took a short break before the start of the second round.  Just one fence separating these two teams between the USA and host Nation Switzerland who were three faults behind the Netherlands who were in the fortunate position of having accrued just the one time fault to give them pole position at this stage.
 
Round 2
With the second round taking its toll on the teams as they re-entered the arena it was a totally different competition to the one of only an hour previously with poles falling and the world highest ranked rider Kevin Staut being eliminated.
 
A fate, that unfortunately fell in line with Tim Stockdale as having jumped clear to almost the end of the course, Kalico Bay leant towards to the collecting ring thinking he had finished as they came round to the double.  Pushing Kalico Bay forward, a split moment decision was made to continue resulting in the pole coming down on the first element and a stop at the second.  Coming back to the double for the second time they cleared it perfectly, but with the last fence falling they finished on 12 faults and three time faults.  
 
Robert Smith changed the balance from the near on carnage that some competitors had seen in the arena just before him by coming out and producing an absolutely brilliant clear. Talan, making it look like he was jumping for fun by making it look easy and as if there was never a question they would perform with anything less than a faultless round.  Putting Britain straight back in the running, there was now a lot to play for and the gravity of what was achievable must have put quite a weight on young Scott’s shoulders who was due to go next.
 
Showing maturity beyond his years and know for his cool and collected demeanour Scott Brash proved exactly the talent he is and the bright hope he is for the future of our sport.  Producing a faultless round for Great Britain the relief on Rob Hoekstra’s face was all too evident as Scott came through the finish on a zero penalty score.   Carrying two clears the final position for Great Britain would rely on anchorman Nick Skelton and with everything to play for the field was open for a straight fight between the Netherlands, Switzerland, USA and Great Britain for the crucial key league points on offer at this half way mark of the series.
 
Nick Skelton, undoubtedly one of the most established and experienced riders in the world is never a man to be fazed by such a task.  This, along with his belief in Carlo as being one of the most talented horses he’s partnered saw Nick enter the arena with the set look of determination that he’s well known for.  Never one to under perform, Nick didn’t disappoint as he made his way round the course at his brilliant best producing an absolutely amazing round within the time ensuring Britain’s position of joint second place with Switzerland in the competition just when we needed it.
 
With the League Table seeing change with the Nations topping it, Great Britain moved up to fourth place on a score of 16, just two points behind Belgium with the Netherlands having won in both Rome and St Gallen taking pole position on 23.5 points relegating Ireland to second place on 19.
 
Rob Hoekstra, World Class Showjumping Performance Manager and Chef d’Equipe commented afterwards “We had a fantastic come back in the second round with the three clear round especially with Scott jumping one of the very few double clears of the competition.  We were extremely unlucky in the first round having had the last fence down twice and were close to having a win.  I’m sure it’s going to happen for us with the horses that we have coming through and I’d like to think it’s not far away.  
“We have a bit of a break now until Falsterbo and Ireland and we are focusing on not only the horses that have been out to date but also those that are a bit later coming out for the season bearing in mind that we not only have the Nations Cups to focus on but also the European Championships in Madrid during September.   It was a particularly strong competition today and we should feel very positive about the position of our sport with the depth of horses we have call upon able to jump at this level”.
 
With everything to play for the 2011 FEI Nations Cup continues will see the eight contending nations continue their battle across Europe culminating in Rotterdam in August with the next leg being contested in Falsterbo, Sweden on the 8th July.   For further results from St Gallen and a start list for the competitors hoping to secure the lion share of the prize fund available in the €300,000Grand Prix on Sunday please visit www.csio.ch .
 
The British Show Jumping Teams are strongly supported by the UK Sport lottery funded BEF World Class programme.
 
Action from the event can be watched online via FEI TV which can be found at www.feitv.org .   Horse & Country TV and Eurosport also broadcast footage post event, please visit the British Showjumping website and click on ‘what’s on TV’ for transmission times.
 
 
St Gallen 2011 FEI Nations Cup Results
1st        Netherlands (1 fault)
2nd        Switzerland (8 faults)
2nd        Great Britain     (8 faults)
4th        USA (16 faults)
5th        France (20 faults)
6th        Belgium (22 faults)
7th        Ireland (35 faults)
8th        Denmark (45 faults)
 
 
 
FEI Nations Cup 2011
Standings after Round 3 in St Gallen (SUI)
1.    Netherlands – 23.5
2.    Ireland – 19.00
3.    Belgium – 18.0
4.    Great Britain – 16.0
5.    USA – 11.5
6.    Germany - 11.0
6.    France – 11.0
8.    Denmark – 4.00

The FEI Nations Cup™
is a five-star competition in which official teams representing nations compare their merit. At each event the teams gain points according to their placing. At the end of the 2011 season the team with the highest points wins the FEI Nations Cup™ and the two teams with the lowest points will be relegated to the FEI Nations Cup Promotional League. The highest placed team from the 2011 FEI Nations Cup Promotional League Final and the highest placed Team on the FEI European Nations Cup Promotional League standings immediately prior to the 2011 FEI Nations Cup Promotional League Final will join the FEI Nations Cup™ Top League for 2012.

FEI Nations Cup™ 2011 Calendar:
Falsterbo (SWE), Friday 8 July
Aachen (GER), Thursday 14 July
Hickstead (GBR), Friday 29 July
Dublin (IRL); Friday 5 August.
Rotterdam (NED), Friday 26 August.
 

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