IRISH EYES WERE SMILING IN ST. GALLEN 

1 Jun 2003

Ireland wins over Switzerland after a breathtaking jump-off 
 
Irish eyes were smiling in St Gallen today as the boys in green stormed to victory in the third leg of the Samsung Super League series and moved ever-closer to the league leaders from France who, this time around, had to settle for third place. The Swiss, competing on their home ground but unable to claim Super League points as they failed to qualify for the series, were runners-up after a third-round jump-off between Marcus Fuchs and Ireland’s Robert Splaine while the British slotted into fourth spot behind the French, and the Italians produced a much-improved performance to finish fifth. Legendary course-designer, Paul Weier, who has been connected with the horse show at St Gallen for more than 30 years, celebrated his retirement with a track that was big, technical and difficult, and the line from the water at fence five to the following oxer at fence six proved the bogey of the day. All four German riders faulted here at their first attempt, but three clears from the Irish gave them the advantage after round one as last year’s Samsung Leading Horse and Rider combination of Cian O’Connor and Waterford Crystal provided the discount score when collecting five faults. The Swiss were lying second at this stage, obliged to carry the four faults picked up by Steve Guerdat and Innovation when, despite clears from Beat Maendli (LB Pozitano) and Willi Melliger (Gold du Talus), Tinka’s Boy slammed on the brakes at the double, fence four, for Markus Fuchs. It was a day full of surprises as the French could only produce one clear, from Gilles Bertrand de Balanda (Crocus Graverie), first time out while Michel Hecart’s Quilano de Kalvarie, so impressive at La Baule, stopped at the Samsung oxer at fence eight leaving his side to count the two four-fault performances from Eric Levallois (Diamond de Semilly Ecolit) and Reynald Angot (Tlaloc M). In round two, a toe in the water for pathfinders Robert Splaine and Coolcorran Cool Diamond left the Irish looking more vulnerable and, as in all Nations Cup classes, the competition could have swung in any direction at this stage. O’Connor however rallied with a clear and that meant that only one of the eight-fault results from both Kevin Babington (Carling King) and Billy Twomey (Luidam) were counted, leaving Ireland on a total of 12 over the two rounds. The Swiss drew level when Maendli and Guerdat each made one mistake while Willi Melliger recorded the only double-clear performance of the whole competition but Marcus Fuchs found himself in trouble again and retired with Tinka’s Boy. By now it was clear that only Ireland could claim the maximum Samsung Super League points as France had to settle for a finishing total of 16 ahead of the British with 19 faults on the board but the biggest shock of the day was yet to come. The Swiss opted to send Fuchs back into the ring to take on Ireland’s Robert Splaine in a head-to-head to decide the final placings. Tinka’s Boy had clearly not been on form all day and returned home with two fences on the floor in a fast time of 44.81 seconds and when Splaine and his Irish-bred stallion Coolcorran Cool Diamond collected just two time faults it was all over. From County Cork in the deep south of Ireland, Splaine has produced this Irish Draught stallion to great effect this season and he was absolutely delighted with the result. "I was not the selectors first choice going into La Baule but the horse jumped a great double-clear there and now, today, he has shown again just how good he is" he said of Coolcorran Cool Diamond. The stallion is bred along traditional Irish lines, something that has become somewhat unfashionable at top show jumping level in recent years, but, along with Carling King, he has shown that the Irish horses are as good as they come. "I put in my preparation for this season on the Spanish circuit and the horse is fitter and better than ever. He really only got his first chance to show what he could do at La Baule – I went there to prove a point and I did it the best way possible – I always knew he was a good one, I just had to show everyone else!" Robert said and he is now a serious contender for the Irish squad for the defence of the European team title later this summer. The Irish were inconsistent last season and looked short of horse-power at the beginning of this year but the emergence of a new group of horses and riders has strengthened their position and things are now looking a lot more optimistic. However they are still trailing the French on the Samsung Super League leaderboard going into the next round in Aachen in just under three weeks time. RESULTS: 1. Ireland – 12 faults (Jump Off, 2 faults in 55.40 seconds): Robert Splaine/Coolcorran Cool Diamond 0+4, Cian O’Connor/Waterford Crystal 5+0, Billy Twomey/Luidam 0+8, Kevin Babington/Carling King 0+8. 2. Switzerland - 12 faults (Jump Off, 8 faults in 44.61 seconds): Beat Maendli/LB Pozitano 0+4, Willi Melliger/Gold du Talus 0+0, Steve Guerdat/Innovation 4+4, Markus Fuchs/Tinka’s Boy Elim+Ret. 3. France - 16 faults: Eric Levallois/Diamant de Semilly Ecolit 4+4, Raynald Angot/Tlaloc M 4+0, Michel Hecart/Quilano de Kalvarie 7+5, Gilles Bertrand de Balanda/Crocus Graverie 0+4. 4. Great Britain - 19 faults: Di Lampard/Abbervail Dream 5+12, Nick Skelton/Arko 8+1, Keith Shore/It’s Magic Max 0+5, Tim Stockdale/Fresh Direct Parcival 4+4. 5. Italy – 21 faults: Roberto Arioldi/Loro Piana Dime de la Cour 4+4, Bruno Chimirri/Landknecht 4+4, Enrico Maria Frana/Dohitzun Guernica 5+0, Vincenzo Chimirri/Askoll defi Platiere 8+4. 6. Germany - 24 faults: Franke Sloothaak/Joli Coeur 4+4, Markus Merschformann/Camirez B 4+4, Toni Hassmann/Goldika 8+4, Otto Becker/Dobel’s Cento 4+4. 7. Belgium - 32 faults: Philippe Le Jeune/Nabab de Reve 12+8, Stanny Van Paesschen/O de Pomme 4+0, Stefan Corten/Perhaps v. Berkenbroeck 16+20, Ludo Philippaerts/Parco 0+8. 7. Sweden - 32 faults: Malin Baryard/H&M Butterfly Flip 8+0, Helena Persson/Classic H 8+0, Royne Zetterman/Richmond Park 20+8, Helena Lundback/Mynta 8+Ret. 9. Holland - 72 faults: Gert Jan Bruggingk/Joel 8+9, Angelique Hoorn/Hascal 17+Ret, Marc Houtzager/HBC Jacomar 0+4, Jeroen Dubbeldam/de Sjiem 11+Ret. SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE LEADERBOARD – AFTER THIRD ROUND IN ST GALLEN 1. France - 27 2. Ireland - 20.5 3. Great Britain- 15 4. Germany - 13.5 5. Sweden - 7 6. Belgium - 6 7. Italy - 5 8. Holland - 3.5. You will find the full results of the Samsung Super League competition at St Gallen at website: www.csio.ch. You can access all the latest Samsung Super League news and information on our new 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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