MERCEDES BENZ PRIZE/NATIONS CUP AT AACHEN, PART OF THE SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE  

11 Jun 2003

France still lead the way… 
 
The French still head the leaderboard as the Samsung Super League series moves to the halfway stage in Aachen next week, but their lead has narrowed considerably as the Irish pile on the pressure after their superb victory in St Gallen 12 days ago. The league table has almost divided itself in two – with France, Ireland, Great Britain and Germany battling it out at the top while Sweden, Belgium, Italy and Holland struggle to survive at the bottom end. Aachen, of course, is the one they all want to win. The status of this equestrian fixture is second to none and victory here is as sweet as it gets. With a budget of 8.5m Euro it has been voted the World’s Best Outdoor Event by international riders for the last 15 years. The arena, one of the biggest in the world with a capacity for 40,000 spectators, encloses a spectacular range of obstacles including hedges, ditches and the famous lake so horses must be particularly brave, and experience counts for a great deal when riding those fences. And of course it is an event steeped in tradition. So many of the great names in show jumping are linked to this arena including Hans Gunther Winkler and the wonderful mare Halla, the legendary Raimondo d’Inzeo, Paul Schockemohle and Gerd Wiltfang to name just a few. It has witnessed many great occasions during it’s 50 years and next Friday’s Samsung Super League competition promises to be one of those. If you look at the statistics then the home side look like a good bet. Germany has won the Nations Cup trophy at Aachen 21 times, the last victory recorded in 1998. They now need to strengthen their position on the Super League leaderboard as, in fourth place at present, they are almost 14 points behind the French so they can be expected to field the strongest possible squad for this leg. The record-book shows that France and Ireland have both only triumphed at Aachen on three occasions, the Irish most recently in 1995 and the French back in 1990 while the British have five wins to their credit. The Swedes however, currently lying in fifth place, have not held the trophy aloft since the opening Nations Cup event was held back in 1929. Much to their delight, the Belgians topped the line-up for the very first time two year’s ago while the Italians, in seventh on the Super League table and ten-times Aachen Nations Cup winners, have to look all the way back to 1976 for their last victory. The Dutch recorded the third of their three successes in 1997 but they are in all kinds of trouble this season and are in desperate need of a good result to improve from the bottom of the order. Even at this very early stage of the normal Samsung Nations Cup series, with just three of the 17 legs completed, it is clear that the Swiss are determined to earn promotion to Super League status for next year. They currently lead the Samsung Nations Cup league table by a margin of just one point ahead the Spanish and, as it stands at present, the Dutch, Italians, Belgians and Swedes are threatened by relegation as they struggle to stay afloat at Super League level - but it is still all to play for with another five legs of the series remaining. Although the home side may go into the competition for the Mercedes Benz Prize/ Nations Cup at Aachen as favourites the French are always going to be a danger. For sheer consistency their performances so far this year have been very impressive while the Irish have suffered a set-back this week. Cian O’Connor’s top horse, Waterford Crystal, suffered an over-reach in St Gallen and has had to be withdrawn from the squad but the Irish selectors have a much stronger pool of riders to choose from than ever before and still have Trevor Coyle and World Champion Dermott Lennon up their sleeves. The British have been playing a good game at mid-field and are standing firm but for Sweden, Belgium, Italy and Holland the pressure is now intense. None of those four want to be in eighth position at the halfway stage of the series, so they will be hoping to spring a surprise in the electric atmosphere of the Aachen stadium next Friday afternoon. SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE LEADERBOARD After Round 3 at St Gallen: 1. France - 27 points 2. Ireland - 20.5 points 3. Great Britain - 15 points 4. Germany - 13.5 points 5. Sweden - 7 points 6. Belgium - 6 points 7. Italy - 5 points 8. Holland - 3.5 points. SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE AACHEN – TV BROADCAST DETAILS: Equidia - Fri 20 June 18.00 – 19.00 Repeats Sat 21 June 11.00 – 12.00 Sun 22 June 23.00 – 00.30 Eurosport - Wed 25 June 20.00 – 21.00 Repeats Fri 27 June 09.00 – 10.00 TV4 - Mon 23 June M-Net - Fri 11 July CNBC Sports CNBC Europe - Sat 5 July 13.00 – 14.00 CNBC Asia - Sat 5 July 15.00 – 16.00 ESPN Star Sports Star Asia - Wed 2 July 18.00 – 19.00 Fri 20 June 08.00 – 09.00 Sat 14 June 03.30 – 04.30 Star SE Asia - Wed 2 July 18.00 – 19.00 Thurs 3 July 05.00 – 06.00 Star India - Fri 4 July 17.00 – 18.00 Sat 6 July 06.30 – 07.30 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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