By Kate Green
Clark Montgomery (USA) flew back from Britain to his home country to lead a strong American quartet to victory in the fifth leg of the 2016 FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing, held for the first time outside Europe, at the Land Rover Great Meadows International at The Plains, Virginia.
Riding the Irish-bred Loughan Glen, the horse he is hoping to partner at the Rio Olympic Games next month, Montgomery finished the clear individual winner and led the US team to a convincing victory over Canada.
“It means a lot to win at Great Meadow this weekend,” Montgomery said after the historic victory. “I have been based in England for a while so to get to come home in the US and compete in front of the home crowd, means a huge amount to me.”
His team mates Boyd Martin, Phillip Dutton and Lauren Kieffer finished sixth, seventh and ninth to set an unbeatable target and secure their country’s first victory in the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing series.
This was the first time the USA has hosted FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing, with Great Meadows International putting on an excellent event as the series made its debut outside Europe. Mike Etherington-Smith’s Cross Country course rode extremely well, with 27 of the 40 starters finishing clear of jumping faults, but the clock was a deciding factor with just four combinations making the optimum time.
Colleen Loach was best of the second-placed Canadian team, finishing 14th on Qorry Blue D’Argouges. Her three team mates also went clear across the country, but were hampered by their Dressage marks to finish 38.3 adrift of the winning US squad.
Three British riders travelled across the Atlantic to join forces with US-based Briton Justine Dutton to make up a full four-person British team. Jodie Amos and Wise Crack finished best of the visiting British, in third place individually, adding no further penalties to their Dressage score of 49.0.
Ben Way (GBR) riding Willows Tipster finished 26th after finishing only two seconds over the optimum Cross Country time, but Justine Dutton had two refusals out on course and Ros Canter was eliminated for a rider fall.
Despite their mixed fortunes, the British team finished third overall, earning enough points to give them a clear lead over Germany at the halfway mark in the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing series.
The action returns to Europe this weekend, and the competition is expected to be strong in Aachen (GER) 14-17 July.
1 USA, 138.3
Clark Montgomery/Loughan Glen, 37.5; Philip Dutton/Fernhill Fugitive, 50.4; Boyd Martin/Welcome Shadow, 50.4 (Lauren Kieffer/Meadowbrook’s Scarlett, 55.0)
2 Canada, 177.6
Colleen Loach/Qorry Blue D’Argouges, 57.1; Jessica Phoenix/Bentleys Best, 58.1; Selena O’Hanlon/Foxwood High, 62.4 (Waylon Roberts/Kelecyn Cognac, 70.2)
3 Great Britain 254.3
Jodie Amos/Wise Crack, 49.0; Ben Way/Willows Tipster, 69.5; Justine Dutton/Huck Finn, 135.8 (Ros Canter/Zenshera, EL XC)
Full results on www.greatmeadowinternational.com
FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing standings (after 5 out of 9 events)
1 Great Britain 405 points
2 Germany 270
3 France 250
4 Ireland 170
5 Australia 160
6 USA 150
7 Netherlands 145
8 Italy 140
9 Belgium 120
10 Sweden 110
Notes to Editors:
The FEI’s team Eventing series, the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing, is open to all nations fielding one team composed of 3 or 4 riders at each leg, and runs under FEI Eventing rules at CICO and CCIO 3* level with riders accumulating points under a dedicated system detailed here.
Visit the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing series hub here for rules, results and Organiser details.
FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing 2016 calendar
1 Fontainebleau (FRA) 23-25 March
2 Ballindenisk (IRE) 22-24 April
3 Houghton Hall (GBR) 26-29 May
4 Strzegom (POL) 24-26 June
5 The Plains (USA) 8-10 July
6 Aachen (GER) 14-17 July
7 Vairano (ITA) 16-18 September
8 Waregem (BEL) 22-25 September
9 Boekelo (NED) 6-9 October