IRISH ACES DO IT AGAIN!  

19 Jun 2003

The Mercedes Benz Prize/Nations Cup at Aachen, part of the Samsung Super League 
 
The Irish put in another stunning performance to record their second Samsung Super League victory and their third Nations Cup win in a row when topping the line-up at Aachen today. In a thrilling clash in which the result was only decided by the final rider into the ring the boys in green held firm to pip a much-improved Belgian squad for the honours, while the league leaders from France had to settle for fifth spot this time. The tension ahead of this leg of the series was already at a high pitch following the decision taken by the Aachen organisers to restrict the number of teams through to the second round to just eight. With the USA using a wild-card, and therefore battling for points towards the normal Nations Cup series, it was possible that one of the Super League teams could lose out and this was exactly what happened when the Swedes concluded Round 1 in ninth position and therefore had to settle for just 0.5 Super League points. There was a considerable amount of disagreement about this issue which must now be resolved ahead of next year’s series, but for the eight teams through to Round 2 it was still all to play for. The Belgian’s pulled off a real surprise when Dirk Demeersman (Clinton), Stanny van Paesschen (O de Pomme) and Jos Lansink (AK Caridor Z) produced three clears to take the early lead. Belgian results had been disappointing throughout the series so far but it was looking very good for them at the halfway stage. The French were in second spot following foot-perfect rounds from Michel Hecart (Quilano de Kalvarie) and Michel Robert (Galet d’Auzay) and counting just the five faults picked up by Eric Levallois (Diamant de Semilly Ecolit) while the Irish were one position further behind. None of the four Irish riders managed to come home without penalties as, instead, they played the percentage game with the clock - Peter Charles (Pershing) and Kevin Babington (Carling King) picking up just one time-fault each while Billy Twomey’s five faults with Luidam left them on a total of seven. There has been huge controversy in the British equestrian press over the past week following the purchase by Lord Harris of the British team horse It’s Magic Max for Irish rider Peter Charles and the British have certainly not been enjoying a good run of luck from any angle lately. Team member Michael Whitaker withdrew from the show following a fatal accident to his horse, Landfurst, on Thursday and the squad struggled hard to stay in the frame today but things did not go their way and they finished bottom of the pile at the end of the competition. Germany and the USA were on level-pegging and still well in touch at the halfway stage with 8 faults each but the real battle was fought between the top three teams, with every rider’s tour of Frank Rothenberger’s 12-fence track opening up any amount of possibilities. Robert Splaine and his Irish Sport Horse stallion, Coolcorron Cool Diamond, had two fences down first time out but led the way in round 2 with an excellent clear and when Billy Twomey also left the course intact the Irish were adding just four more faults picked up by Peter Charles at the final element of the combination which was the last fence on the course. A single mistake from both Levallois and Hecart and five faults for Reynald Angot left the French vulnerable and things began to fall apart for the Belgians when Demeersman came home with 8 faults on the board and van Paesschen collected 13, although Jos Lansink somewhat restored the equilibrium when putting in a second clear. Final Irish runner, Kevin Babington, hit the oxer at fence six and added a time fault so now the Irish tally was finalised at 11 faults but they were already ahead of the French who slipped further down the order when Michel Robert returned from his second effort with another five to add to the French total. Now only the Belgians could stop the Irish from following up their victory in St Gallen with yet another success and, last into the ring, Ludo Philippaerts and Parco looked like they were going to do just that until hitting the same fence as Peter Charles, the final element of the tricky treble which proved the bogey of the afternoon, and also falling foul of the very tight time limit. The Irish were more than pleased with the result. "I knew it would be hard and we didn’t really expect to win so I’m very, very happy" Chef d’Equipe Tommy Wade said afterwards. The Irish had only been victorious in Aachen on three previous occasions, recording their last win in 1995. "We’ve got a lot of good riders and horses out there now – enough to field two top teams at any competition in the world" he added and this was borne out by the fact that neither Trevor Coyle nor World Champion Dermott Lennon were included in his squad. The Irish also topped the line-up at Hamina in Finland last Sunday in the Samsung Nations Cup series so with St Gallen, Hamina and now the Mercedes Benz Prize Nations Cup at Aachen under their belts they are really on a roll. The Belgians, in second place today, have had a real boost to their confidence and the USA, who shared third spot with the host squad from Germany when completing on 16 faults, had plenty to celebrate too. Their anchor-man, Chris Kappler steered Royal Kaliber to one of just two double-clears throughout the competition, the other recorded by Jos Lansink, and American Chef d’Equipe, Frank Chapot, said "we made a good choice when selecting Chris to come here – we are looking toward the Pan-American Games right now and he is a definite candidate for that". With 18 faults the French lined up in fifth ahead of the Dutch in sixth with a total of 33 faults while Italy finished the day with a total of 37. The leaderboard has changed dramatically over the past few weeks with the Irish advancing ominously on the French and, going into the next round, the French hold only a half-point of an advantage. Germany lies third, but a full 12 points in arrears while Great Britain is in fourth ahead of Belgium, Sweden, Italy and, finally, the Dutch. The Irish now however look like the ones to beat. The thing that has always given them that extra edge is their ability to pull together when the pressure is on, and as Robert Splaine said today "this was a real gutsy performance – one of the most solid team efforts I have ever had the pleasure of being involved in. Everybody was helping everyone else and the competition was well-analysed, well thought out and well executed". They want to top the Samsung leaderboard and they saved their horses all week at Aachen to ensure they had the best possible chance in today’s competition. The French are in real danger of being knocked off their pedestal when the series moves on to Hickstead on July 25. RESULTS: 1. Ireland - 11 faults: Robert Splaine/Coolcorron Cool Diamond 8+0, Peter Charles/Pershing 1+4, Billy Twomey/Luidam 5+0, Kevin Babington/Carling King 1+5. 2. Belgium - 13 faults: Dirk Demeersman/Clinton 0+8, Stanny van Paesschen/O de Pomme 0+13, Jos Lansink/AK Caridor Z 0+0, Ludo Philippaerts/Parco Ret+5. Equal 3. USA - 16 faults: Peter Wylde/Fein Cera 4+4, Laura Kraut/Anthem 4+12, Lauren Hough/Windy City 4+4, Chris Kappler/Royal Kaliber 0+0. Germany – 16 faults: Marcus Ehning/For Pleasure 0+4, Christian Ahlmann/Coester 8+0, Otto Becker/Dobel’s Cento 4+4, Ludger Beerbaum/Gladdys S 4+4. 5. France – 18 faults: Eric Levallois/Diamant de Semilly Ecolit 5+4, Michel Hecart/Quilano de Kalvarie 0+4, Reynald Angot/Tlaloc M 12+5, Michel Robert/Galet d’Auzay 0+5. 6. Holland - 33 faults: Gertjan Bruggink/Joel 8+0, Jan Tops/Roofs 8+12, Albert Zoer/Lowina 5+16, Wim Schroeder/Eurocommerce Berlin 4+4. 7. Italy - 37 faults: Massimo Grossato/Loro Piana Elkintot 5+4, Vincenzo Chimirri/Askoll Rosa 4+12, Juan Carlos Garcia/Candyfloss 13+21, Bruno Chimirri/Landknecht 4+8. 8. Great Britain - 48 faults: Richard Davenport/Grand Marnier 4+20, Damien Charles/St Honores Liquido 12+21, Scott Smith/Cabri d’Elle 4+8, Robert Smith/Marius Claudius 12+0. SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE LEADERBOARD 1. France - 31 points 2. Ireland - 30.5 points 3. Germany - 18.5 points 4. Great Britain- 16 points 5. Belgium - 13 points 6. Sweden - 7.5 points 7. Italy - 7 points 8. Holland - 6.5 points Keep up to date with the latest news from Aachen CHIO at website www.chioaachen.de . For further information you can contact Press Officer, Katharina Hoffmann, at Tel:             0049 24191710      , Fax: 0049 241917199, or E-mail: info@chioaachen.de. SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE NATIONAL PRIDE, INTERNATIONAL PASSION! You can access all the latest Samsung Super League news and information on website www.samsungsuperleague.com and don’t forget that Biographies on all Riders competing in the series are available at http://bios.horsesport.org . Want to know more? You can check the full rules for the Samsung Super League Series on the FEI website, section reference – rules http://www.horsesport.org/fei/reference_03/ref_03_02.html. For more information: FEI Communications Muriel Faienza m.faienza@horsesport.org or consult FEI website www.horsesport.org .
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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