Second victory in seven days, and first Italian win on Swiss soil in 58 years
by Louise Parkes
The Italian showjumping renaissance continued today when Roberto Arioldi’s side followed up their historic home victory a week ago with another stunning performance to win the fourth leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Europe Division 1 league at St Gallen, Switzerland. The result has promoted them to second place, behind France, on the series leaderboard ahead of the next leg in Rotterdam (NED) in three weeks’ time.
Not long ago Italy was struggling to put together a team capable of remaining competitive at the sharp end of the sport, but how that has changed. In another remarkable moment this afternoon they claimed the Swiss Nations Cup title for the first time since 1959, and with only one member of last week’s winning side.
“we never had two good teams like this before and that was always a problem, but now we are very strong, we have many good riders and horses so I’m not surprised we won again. Our Chef d’Equipe, Roberto Arioldi, is doing a great job - he’s always positive, and that helps us a lot!" Lorenzo de Luca ITA
At the end of round one it seemed France had it all sewn up with their zero scoreline giving them an eight-fault advantage over Switzerland in second place while Belgium and Italy were close behind in third with nine faults each. However the second round brought a sensational upheaval, the French plummeting to sixth when adding 25 faults despite a brilliant double-clear from anchorman Roger Yves Bost (Sangria du Coty).
Belgium added eight, but fault-free runs from Luca Marziani (Tokyo du Soleil) and Paolo Paini (Ottava Meraviglia) kept Italy in the game despite a single pole down for Emilio Bicocchi (Sassicaia Ares). And when Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs (Clooney) fell victim to the vertical after the open water, and Paul Estermann (Lord Pepsi) made two mistakes, then the result was hanging in the balance when Lorenzo de Luca set off. A third Italian clear would clinch it, and the rider who was the only one of last week’s winning side in action today did it in style.
Steve Guerdat confirmed runner-up spot for Switzerland with his second double-clear in a row with the fabulous mare Bianca, while Germany, lying seventh at the halfway stage, improved to third spot when finishing on their first-round total of 13.
1. Italy - 9 faults
2. Switzerland - 12 faults
3. Germany - 13 faults
4. Belgium - 17 faults
5. Sweden - 24 faults
6. France - 25 faults
7. Ireland - 28 faults
8. Brazil - 41 faults
Full result here http://www.longinestiming.com/#!/equestrian/2017/1323/html/en/longinestiming/index.html
Facts and Figures:
Three horse-and-rider combinations jumped double-clear, and they were all anchor riders for their teams - Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (Bianca), Sweden’s Angelie von Essen (Newton Abbot) and Roger Yves Bost (Sangria du Coty) for France.
None of the winning Italian team jumped clear in the first round, Paolo Paini producing their best score when collecting just a single time penalty with Ottava Meravigilia Di Ca San G.
France led the way after the first round following clears from Marc Dilasser (Cliffton Belesbat), Bernard Briand Chevalier (Qadilla du Heup) and Roger Yves Bost (Sangria du Coty). In round two their pathfinder Cedric Angot collected 12 faults, Dilasser posted 16 and Briand Chevalier picked up 13 faults.
Course designer was Switzerland’s Gerard Lachat.
The triple combination at fence six proved influential in both rounds as did the vertical following the open water and the skinny planks followed by the double at fences nine and ten.
Lorenzo de Luca ITA - when asked how he feels about his stallion’s (Armitages Boy) habit of bucking during his jumping rounds: “I like it! He does it because he is happy and it’s a good thing when a 15-year-old horse is enjoying doing his job so much!”
Steve Guerdat SUI - when asked about his mare, Bianca, who jumped double-clear for the second week in a row: “she’s one of the best jumpers in sport, she’s absolutely amazing and I always thought she was. Last year everything was the first time for her and this year she just gets better and better. She doesn’t have much experience on grass but she has so much quality, and the feeling she gives you is unreal!”
1. France - 302.5
2. Italy - 270
3. Sweden - 257.5
4. Germany - 230
5. Spain - 175
6. Switzerland - 160
7. Ireland - 155
8. Netherlands -135
Full Standings here http://inside.fei.org/fei/events/fei-nations-cup-series/jumping/current