Samsung Super League Final 

18 Sep 2005

Hey, hey, hey it's the USA, but it's bye by to Belgium 
 
On an afternoon when nerves were tested to the limit, the USA scooped the 2005 Samsung Super League title while Belgium was relegated. The Dutch team reigned supreme on the day, and the fighting Irish survived despite a series of major setbacks.

It was a suitably tense and thrilling finale to a fantastic season of sport and American Chef d'Equipe George Morris was widely celebrated for his management of a campaign that has placed the US at the head of international team jumping. The plan was made, and beautifully executed, and the Americans took the title with real style.

Germany finished second in the league, but a full nine points behind the winners, while the British finished third ahead of the Swiss, with Holland in fifth, France sixth, the Irish in seventh and Belgium at the bottom of the table. Sweden now looks set to return to the Super League family having fallen out of the series after the opening 2003 season but that will not be confirmed until after the last Samsung Nations Cup clash in Buenos Aires, Argentina in November.

The Dutch were taking no chances when sending out a full-strength side to secure their place amongst the top eight show jumping nations in the world and it paid off. European silver medallists Jeroen Dubbeldam and BMC Nassau played an important part but it was Gerco Schroder's double-clear with Eurocommerce Milano that made all the difference when, in the closing stages, the pressure really began to take its toll.

There were only four double-clear performances in total - the others coming from America's Jeffrey Welles, Switzerland's Christina Liebherr and the host nation's pathfinder, Rutherford Latham.

Switzerland and Holland shared the lead at the halfway stage with just four faults on the board. Markus Fuchs (La Toya) and Christina Liebherr (No Mercy) were fault-free first time out so the Swiss were carrying just the mistake made by Lesley McNaught (Riot Gun) when Pius Schwizer's double-error with Unique was discarded.

Dubbeldam caught the back bar of the oxer three from home in round one and Leon Thijssen's Nairobi made it all the way to the second element of the penultimate double before collecting four faults there, but the Dutch matched the Swiss at the top of the order when Harrie Smolders (Oliver) and Gerco Schroder left all the timber intact.

The Irish and Americans were sharing third spot at this stage carrying eight faults each while the British lay fifth with 12 faults, the Belgians and Germans were sixth with 16 and Spain and France were bringing up the rear with 20 faults each.

The course set by Spanish designer Avelino Rodriguez presented the perfect challenge with the combination at fence six proving most influential. It was this obstacle that decided Belgium's fate when Kristof Cleeren's Andiamo ("let's go" in Italian) did not live up to his name and threw in the towel there in both rounds. Spain's Alvaro Munoz Escassi also made an unscheduled stop at this point in round two and retired with Majestic.

The Dutch stood firm as the second round progressed, Dubbeldam was
clear, Smolders collected four, and when Schroder left them all up
Thijssen's mistakes at the middle of the combination and at the final vertical were of no consequence. The Swiss lost their grip however when single errors by Fuchs and Schwizer had to be counted after McNaught collected 12 in an uneasy second effort and the Irish were looking very vulnerable when Capt Shane Carey had four fences down. There was huge pressure on the final Irish runner, Billy Twomey, who knew that everything depended on him if his country was to have any hope of Super League survival but he came up trumps with the mare Anastasia, his effort greeted by the Irish contingent with as much enthusiasm as if they had won.

The US riders however never faltered, second-round clears from Welles and from Laura Kraut (Anthem) ensuring that only one of the four-fault results from Lauren Hough (Casadora) and McLain Ward (Oasis) had to be added to their tally but 16 faults from Robert Whitaker and Nicolette, who had been very impressive first time out, did nothing for British chances.

Dirk Demeersman (Clinton) picked up eight more faults, Mark Van Djick's Verelst Goliath put a foot in the water, Cleeren contributed nothing when retiring and Belgium dropped right out of it when the 12 faults picked up by Ludo Philippaerts and Parco had to be counted.

The Germans added only four more to their first-round tally of 16 when both Pia Luise Aufrecht (Hofgut Liederbach's Ingmar) and Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst (Diamonds Daylight) came home with nothing to add but the French plunged to obscurity with an additional 20.

At the end of the day the Dutch were just that bit better than the rest and Chef d'Equipe Rob Ehrens was in buoyant mood. "It's sometimes been a struggle this year, but we made a good battle" he said. "We did not always have our best horses but we had good riders and we stayed calm when things were not going well". When a journalist wondered if he had been "afraid" for his country at the beginning of today's competition with relegation a real possibility if things did not go well Mr Ehrens said vehemently "Afraid? Never! Dutch people are never afraid and we did really well today!".

There was no fear on the faces of the American riders either. They have ridden with immense confidence all season and are deserving winners of the 2005 title. Chef d'Equipe George Morris said "I am proud of my riders this summer, and proud of American equitation for which I have been a champion for almost 50 years. This is a very special day".

"We won mainly because we don't like George to be angry!" said Laura Kraut with a big smile. "George does a great job as Chef and I am really proud to have won for him. We didn't expect to win until we won in Aachen but then we decided it was a bummer that there were double-point available at the final. But it has all worked out and we're really excited".

"I helped to make the league exciting by almost killing myself at Hickstead!" McLain Ward said. "This is huge for us - its a huge commitment for our owners, our staff and for ourselves and we are a long way from home, but we learned at Aachen that George is a psychic - he knew we could do it!" he added.

The 2005 Samsung Super League had all the ingredients of a great series. The Belgians have sadly lost out in the relegation battle, the Irish have been to hell and back but have survived and the Americans have shown what winning is really about - their team spirit has been nothing short of inspirational.

Meanwhile Samsung Electronics has confirmed its commitment to the Super League series for a further three years and a signing ceremony between FEI President HRH the Infanta Dona Pilar de Borbon and Mr Hay K. Yang, President and CEO of Samsung Europe takes place tonight.

For pictures of the signing ceremony contact Jose Salvat (Tinkle Consultants on behalf of Samsung) at Tel:             +34 606 384 004       or email jsalvat@tinkle.es.


RESULTS:
1. The Netherlands - 8 faults: BMC Nassau/Jeroen Dubbeldam 4/4, Oliver/Harrie Smolders 4/0, Nairobi/Leon Thijssen 0/4, Eurocommerce Milano/Gerco Schroder 0/0.
Equal 2. USA - 12 faults: Armani/Jeffery Welles 0/0, Casadora/Lauren Hough 4/4, Oasis/McLain Ward 4/4, Anthem/Laura Kraut 4/0.
Equal 2. Switzerland - 12 faults: La Toya/Markus Fuchs 0/4, LB No Mercy/Christina Liebherr 0/0, Riot Gun/Lesley McNaught 4/12, Unique/Pius Schwizer 8/4.
Equal 4. Germany - 20 faults: Diamonds Daylight/Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst 8/0, Hofgut Liederbach's Ingmar/Pia-Luise Aufrecht 16/0, Argelith Stakkato/Eva Bitter 0/4, Aboyeur/Heinrich Hermann Engemann 8/8.
Ireland - 20 faults: World Cruise/Shane Breen 0/4, Irish Independent Echo Beach/Cian O'Connor 16/8, Killossery/Capt Shane Carey 4/16, Anastasia/ Billy Twomey 4/0.
6. Great Britain - 24 faults: Mozart des Hayettes/Michael Whitaker 5/0, AK Locarno/Ellen Whitaker 4/8, Omelli/Tim Gredley 4/4, Nicolette/Robert Whitaker 4/16.
7. Spain - 28 faults: Guarana Champeix/Rutherford Latham 0/0, La Reve du Nabab/Sergio Alvarez 8/4, Danceur de Caveire/Cristino Torres 12/4, Majestic/Alvaro Munoz Escassi 16/Ret.
Equal 8. France - 40 faults: First de Launay/Florian Angot 0/8, Obelix/Herve Godignon 12/8, Crocus Graverie/Gilles Bertran de Balanda 12/4, Cigale du Taillis/Eugenie Angot 8/8.
Equal 8. Belgium - 40 faults: Clinton/Dirk Demeersman 8/8, Verelst Goliath/Marc Van Djick 4/4, Andiamo Z/Kristof Cleeren Elim/Ret, Parco/Ludo Philippaerts 4/12.

SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE LEADERBOARD - AFTER FINAL IN BARCELONA:

1. USA - 55.0
2. Germany - 46.0
3. Great Britain - 41.0
4. Switzerland - 40.0
5. The Netherlands - 38.5
6. France - 29.0
7. Ireland - 22.0
8. Belgium - 20.5.

SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE - NATIONAL PRIDE, INTERNATIONAL PASSION!

For further information on the final leg of the 2005 Samsung Super League in Barcelona contact Show Director Hanspeter Vogelsanger or Press Officer Isabel Suter - contact isuter@rcpolo.com, tel:             +3493203 1008      , fax +3493205 5516, website www.csiobarcelona.com.

SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE 2005 CALENDAR OF EVENTS:

ROUND 1 - La Baule (Fra) 5-8 May; ROUND 2 - Rome (Ita) 26-29 May; ROUND 3 - St Gallen (Sui) 02-05 June; ROUND 4 - Rotterdam (Ned) 16-19 June; ROUND 5 - Hickstead (GBR) 28-31 July; ROUND 6 - Dublin (Irl) 03-07 August; ROUND 7 - Aachen (Ger) 23-28 August; ROUND 8 and FINAL - Barcelona (Esp) 15-18 September.

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, www.horsesport.org - section jumping/rules.

The Samsung Super league consists of the eight most prestigious horse shows at which the world's eight best national teams compare their merit. The Super League is connected to the Samsung Nations Cup series through a promotion/relegation system at the end of each season.

Samsung Electronics, one of the world's largest electronics companies, is committed to supporting international sporting events thereby returning corporate profits to the public and working towards a more harmonious and equitable society.

For more information:
Contact FEI Communications, Muriel Faienza, m.faienza@horsesport.org or
consult FEI website www.horsesport.org.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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