Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ - Competition Report  

23 Jul 2009

Germany pips France in Hickstead Thriller 




Hickstead (GBR), 24 July 2009

Germany pipped France at Hickstead today when, for the fourth time during this thrilling 2009 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ season, the result was decided in a two-way jump-off against the clock.  And Germany has discovered a new star in 28 year old Janne-Frederike Meyer, who not only completed the single double-clear of the competition but then went one better and clinched a back-to-back victory for her country at the British venue with a third foot-perfect run from the super-careful Cellagon Lambrasco.

On a high-scoring afternoon in which weather conditions played a major role, Ireland finished a comfortable third ahead of Sweden, but it was a difficult day for the Americans who racked up 52 faults to finish equal-fifth with Belgium, while the British saw their worst fears realised.  Hampered by the loss of Tim Gredley when a recurring injury for his horse, Omelli, kept him out of the second round the host side had to settle for seventh ahead of the Dutch in eighth.  The spectre of relegation is now hanging over them, while a last-place finish has ensured the departure of the Italians who, once again, sat it out during the second round, this time in the company of the Swiss.


The Swiss got off to the worst possible start when Christina Liebherr's Robin Hood, who previously showed a dislike for water in Aachen, was eliminated at the wide stretch of wet stuff at fence four, and with a total of 49 at the end of the first round her team were sidelines along with the Italians, carrying 63..

The Germans and French were already out in front with eight faults each as the remaining teams went into into round two, while the Irish were next best with 20 followed by Sweden with 25, the British and Americans with 28, the Belgians with 32 and the Dutch with 41.  Heavy overnight rain had left the going holding in spots, and many horses struggled as a result.  By the time the Olympic gold medal winning partnership of Laura Kraut and Cedric recorded a totally uncharacteristic 19 faults a lot of grumbling could be heard.  But the American Chef d'Equipe, George Morris, was having none of it.  "Hickstead is wonderful and there's nothing wrong with having to jump on wet ground, its a sign of the way this sport is going that riders can't cope with unfavourable conditions" he said critically, although his own rider's misfortune was due more to the fright that Cedric had given himself when making a mistake in the ring the previous day.


As round two progressed the fences continued to fall and the Dutch failed to improve from eighth spot while the British effort really collapsed as, in Gredley's absence, they collected another 31 to add to their tally. The Belgians added 20 more and despite only a single error from Beezie Madden and Danny Boy the Americans racked up a further 24, but a fabulous clear, one of just three in the second round, steadied the Swedes after 16 from Helena Lundback (Madick) and 12 from Lotta Schultz (Calibra).  The Irish were also boosted by a fabulous round from Cameron Hanley and South Wind who braved the worst of the torrential rain - "my horse was great today because even if I couldn't see the fences he was still going to jump them!" the Irishman said, but the real showdown would be between the French and Germans.

A clear from Andreas Knippling and Neolisto Van het Meirenho would have settled it as round two concluded following Meyer's sensational second fault-free effort, a much-improved eight fault result for newcomer Rebecca Golasch with Lassen Peak but a massive 25 from Max Kuhner whose stallion, Acantus, was on his first tour of duty since injury while travelling to the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in April.  "I think maybe this was a bit too much for him on his first time back" the man from Munich admitted afterwards.  Knippling lowered two elements of the penultimate treble however and, with 24 faults apiece, the scene was set for yet another two-way challenge to decide the result.


French team manager, Laurent Elias, chose Roger-Yves Bost and Ideal de la Loge to go back in the ring but, despite a relatively careful tour of the track, the Hickstead planks hit the floor so Meyer was chasing a target of better than four faults in a time of 47.96 seconds.  Her big-jumping little gelding never looked like touching a thing however, and a copybook round sealed it.

"Lambrasco is very small, but he grows very big when he comes down to a big oxer and I'm so happy to have horse like him!" she said.  "I have him since he was seven years old but I never expected he would jump so high - when I got him first he was so small and so fat - but he always, always wanted to go clear.  I wasn't sure if I could win it but I had a good feeling going back into the ring and I really didn't feel under big pressure".  German Chef d'Equipe, Sonke Sonkssen, said his team's performance was "like a wonderful dream - its unbelievable" and Rebecca Golasch said that while she was very nervous in the first round "this was my first super league" and she felt much better second time out. 

The standings now show France still in the lead with the USA not far behind followed by Germany and Switzerland and The Netherlands tied in fourth place ahead of Ireland.  Sweden lies seventh with Belgium in eighth place but only three points separate them from the British in ninth and at the last leg of the series in Dublin in two weeks time these will be the teams under most pressure.  It seems almost incredible that Great Britain could be facing the second division in 2010, but the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ series demands consistently good performances and recent poor results have left the once-mighty show jumping nation looking very vulnerable indeed. 



1.    Germany 24 faults, 0/52.12 in Jump-Off - Cellagon Lambrasco (Janne-Frederike Meyer) 0/0, Lassen Peak (Rebecca Golasch) 32/8, Acantus GK (Max Kuhner) 4/25, Neloisto Van Het Meirenho (Andreas Knippling) 4/8.

2.    France 24 faults, 4/47.96 in Jump-Off - Jubilee D'Ouilly (Penelope Leprevost) 0/4, Ideal de la Loge (Roger-Yves Bost) 4/4, Lord de Theize (Olivier Guillion) 8/8, Kraque Boom (Kevin Staut) 4/Ret.

3.    Ireland 40 faults - South Wind (Cameron Hanley) 8/0, Amaretto Darco (Shane Sweetnam) 8/16, Rancorrado (Cian O'Connor) 4/4, KEC Maximum Joe (Billy Twomey) 18/Ret.

4.    Sweden 45 faults - Madick (Helena Lundback) 12/16, Careful (Jannike West) 39/8, Callibra (Lotta Schultz) 8/12, Ninja la Silla (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) 5/0.

Equal 5.     USA 52 faults - Urbanus (Charlie Jayne) 12/12, Ublesco (Cara Raether) 12/12, Cedric (Laura Kraut) 19/8, Danny Boy (Beezie Madden) 4/4.

Equal 5.     Belgium 52 faults - Queros de Bioagrico (ederik Catebeke) 12/8, Lancaster V (Kim Thiry) Ret/13, Utopia VK Donkhoeve (Pieter Devos) 8/4, Withney Van de Dwerse Hagen (Patrik Spits) 12/8.

7.    Great Britain 59 faults - Raging Bull Vangelis (Robert Smith) 12/13, Omelli (Tim Gredley) 12/NS, Robin Hood (Ben Maher) 4/9, Murkas Pom D'Ami (Peter Charles) 24/9.

8.    The Netherlands 62 faults - Exquis Oliver Q (Harry Smolders) 4/4, VDL Orame (Jur Vrieling) 21/13,  Van Schijndel's Rascin (Piet Raijmakers Jr.) 16/4, Olaf (Leon Thijssen) 24/Ret.

9.    Switzerland 49 faults in first round - LB Robin Hood (Christina Liebherr) Elim, Cerano Von Hof CH (Dehlia Oeuvray Smits) 8, Wiske Van'T Smedshof (Gregoire Oberson) 12, Jalia de Gaverie (Jane Richard) 29.

10.    Italy 63 faults in first round - Nanta (Jonella Ligresti) 22, Italic des Salines (Emanuele Gaudiano) Elim, Secret (Francesco Franco) 21, Jeckerson Olea (Emilio Bicocchi) 20.


This was Germany's second successive Nations Cup victory at the Royal International at Hickstead and their 10th win in the history of the Nations Cup of Great Britain.

Roger-Yves Bost (Ideal de la Loge) from France jumped off against Germany's Janne-Friederike Meyer (Cellagon Lambrasco)

Just one double-clear round, produced by Germany's Janne-Friederike Meyer who also jumped clear to win in the third round jump-off

Only five clears during the first two rounds of competition

Two eliminations - Switzerland's Christina Liebherr and Robin Hood and Italy's Emanuele Gaudiano and Italic des Salines, both in first round

4 riders retired during competition

The British team competed with just three riders in the second round after a recurring injury kept Tim Gredley and Omelli out of competition

The bogey fence of the competition was the white gate at fence six


Janne-Frederike Meyer who clinched victory for Germany "I'm so happy and so proud of my horse, he just wanted to jump clear.  I want to say thank you to him and to my team!"

Max Kuhner, German team member - "I'm not a full-time rider, I run a leasing company and I ride after work, I don't have so many horses but I have a great team of people who help me, including my girlfriend"

Andreas Knippling, German team member - "I was on the winning team here last year and it is just as good to win a second time.  It wasn't easy for a lot of horses here today.  They are like people and some don't mind bad weather but others do. 

David Holmes, FEI Executive Director of Sport - "This was a challenging day today for the show organisers because of the weather but I'lkie to congratulate them on doing a great job in difficult conditions".

MEYDAN FEI NATIONS CUP™ - Standings after seventh leg in Hickstead (GBR):

1.        France        -    43.5
2.        USA            -    39.5
3.        Germany        -    36
Equal 4.    Switzerland     -    28.5
Equal 4.    Netherlands    -    28.5
6.        Ireland        -    27.5
7.        Sween        -    23
8.        Belgium        -    20
9.        Great Britain    -    15.5
10.        Italy            -    4


A Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ event is organised as a five-star Nations Cup, i.e. a competition in which official teams representing nations compare their merit. At each event the teams gain points according to their placing. At the end of the season the team with the highest points wins the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ and the two teams with the lowest points are relegated to the FEI Nations Cup series (Promotional League). The two best placed teams of that series following the Promotional League Final join the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ for the following year.

The World’s Best Ten Teams: Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, , Ireland, USA, Switzerland, Sweden, and Italy

The World’s Best Eight Venues

La Baule (FRA); Friday 15 May;
Rome (ITA); Friday 29 May;
St. Gallen (SUI); Friday 5 June;
Rotterdam (NED); Friday 19 June;
Aachen (GER); Thursday 2 July;
Falsterbo (SWE); Friday 17 July;
Hickstead (GBR); Friday 24 July;
Dublin (IRL); Friday 7 August;

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