The British team repeated their feat of last year by winning the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing at Ballindenisk (IRL) at the weekend. Ireland, the host nation, finished second ahead of the France, third, who have already recorded a win, in the first competition of the season at Fontainebleau (FRA) last month.
Great Britain led from France after the Dressage and had all four riders go clear in the Jumping phase. The Irish matched this feat and so overtook the French, who added eight faults at this stage when Luc Chateau (Propriano de L’Ebat) and Francois Lemiere (Ogustin du Terroir) hit a rail apiece.
Britain’s only moment of frailty came when Izzy Taylor, a regular FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing competitor, and the individual leader after the first two phases, incurred 20 Cross Country penalties when KBIS Starchaser became distracted by another horse and glanced off a narrow fence.
As she was the team pathfinder, this put pressure on the rest of the quartet, which included two first-time FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing riders in Louise Harwood (Whitsun) and Georgie Strang (Cooley Business Time). However, Strang and Nicky Roncoroni (Stonedge), who were second and third to go for the team, both came home clear and inside the optimum time and Harwood only added two time penalties to the overall team score.
“Izzy usually finishes best of the team and everyone gets very used to her just going out and doing the business, so this was a good experience for the others,” said team manager Philip Surl. “They all had to step up to the mark and the competition went to the wire with Louise as anchor.
“Having put in such solid Dressage and Jumping performances, it would have been a pity to lose it on the Cross Country, so it was a pleasing result and good to get a win in at this early stage of the season.”
A British rider, Emilie Chandler (Gino Royale), took individual honours, with Ireland’s Sarah Ennis (Horseware Stellor Rebound) second and Nicky Roncoroni third.
Britain will be hoping to maintain momentum, as the next FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing meeting is on their home soil, at Houghton International, where last year they were beaten by New Zealand and Germany.
1 Great Britain, 143.4
Nicky Roncoroni/Stonedge, 43.3; Louise Harwood/Whitson, 47.8; Georgie Strang/Cooley Business Time, 52.3; (Izzy Taylor/KBIS Starchaser, 70.1)
2 Ireland, 152.3
Sarah Ennis/Horseware Stellor Rebound, 43.2; Joseph Murphy/Westwinds Hercules, 54.3; Sam Watson/Horseware Lukeswell, 54.8; (Aoife Clark/Arco BB, 62.3)
3 France, 159.3
Luc Chateau/Propiano de L’Ebat, 49.1; Francois Lemiere/Ogustin du Terroir, 54.2; Gilles Bordes/Orion de Cavalhac; (Christophe Guillemet/Mach de la Barre, 84.8)
FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing 2015 Leaderboard after 2 out 8 events
1= France 19 points
1= Great Britain 19
3 = Australia 9
3 = Ireland 9
5 Netherlands 7