By Louise Parkes
It was Danish delight at Uggerhalne (DEN) this evening when the host nation won the fourth leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Europe Division 2 league with an impressive performance including a sensational double-clear from Søren Møller Rohde. There’s nothing quite like a victory on home ground, and this was the first for ten years so there were big celebrations when France and Sweden had to settle for joint runner-up spot ahead of Belgium in fourth place.
“We have often had a stupid pole and then you slip down the rankings. There have to be some clear rounds, and today we got them - it was amazing!” Thomas Sandgaard
Success was sealed by second-round clears from Lars Bak Andersen (38) riding Carrasco, Søren Møller Rohde (43) with Velerne ASK and Thomas Sandgaard (42) partnering Amarone. Anchorman Thomas Velin (42) with Chopin van het Moleneind didn’t need to go again as the result was already secured.
The course designed by Lars Bak Andersen’s father, Bo Bak Andersen, really tested the less experienced horses and riders in the closing stages as nerves began to fray. Denmark was equal-third with France and Belgium going into the second round with eight faults on the board, while Sweden and Great Britain shared the lead with just four each. ”All of the distances were a little long, but later on the course, suddenly it's getting short. It was really well designed, Bo always does that” Sandgaard explained. However there were some superb performances from up-and-coming stars throughout the competition, and the talented French added just four faults to finish on a total of 12.
Philippe Le Jeune fielded yet another exciting young Belgian side, but adding eight to their scoreline their challenge faded, while the Swedish effort faltered when they had to count two single errors despite a brilliant double-clear from Alexander Zetterman (Cordalis).
It seemed the British might just hold on for the win if Keith Shore (Mystic Hurricane) could stay clear and discard Louise Saywell’s (Dassler) second-round 12 faults. But a foot in the influential open water, a pole off the last element of the Longines triple combination and a mistake at the final fence put paid to that, Matthew Sampson’s single mistake with the fabulous stallion Jaguar vd Berghoeve bringing their final tally to 16 despite the third double-clear of the day from William Funnell’s (Billy Buckingham).
2. France and Sweden - 12 faults
4. Belgium - 16 faults
5. Great Britain - 20 faults
6. Germany - 24 faults
7. Norway - 50 faults
Full result here http://results.hippodata.de/2017/1324/docs/final_result.pdf
Facts and Figures:
11 nations competed in this leg of the Europe Division 2 League but only 4 - Belgium, Denmark, Finland and Norway - were chasing points towards the FEI Nations Cup™ 2017 Final in Barcelona (ESP) in September.
8 teams qualified for the second round, but The Netherlands was eliminated when Bart van der Maat (Dalton) retired in both rounds and last-line rider, Zoi Snels (Elton John) withdrew from round two.
Finland, Ireland and Italy did not qualify for the second round.
8 clears from 43 starters in the first round, 9 clears from 30 starters in round 2, and 3 double-clear performances.
Soren Moeller Rohde works as chief rider at Stutteri Ask in Martofte, Denmark. The business is owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, former President and CEO of the Lego Group.
The next leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Europe Division 2 series will take place in Sopot, Poland on Friday 9 June. This will be the fifth round of the seven-leg qualifying league.
Lars Bak Andersen DEN: "It was incredibly close after the first round, we had two teams with four penalties and three teams with eight. We were a little behind in scores, but it wasn’t impossible and then I finished with a clear round, and Søren Møller does a second clear round, and then it starts to feel a bit like we could have a top three position. And when Sandgaard makes the third clear round we are definitely in the top two, then you add the mistakes from other riders and we win!”
Standings in FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Europe Division 2 after round 4 at Uggerhalne (DEN):
1. Belgium - 350
2. Great Britain - 255
3. Denmark - 155
4. Norway - 120
5. Poland - 95
6. Luxembourg - 90
7. Czech Republic - 70
8. Portugal - 65
Full Standings here http://results.hippodata.de/2017/1324/docs/fnc_standings_2017.pdf