By Louise Parkes
Andre Thieme (42) snatched victory for Team Germany in a thrilling three-way jump-off at today’s opening qualifier of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Europe Division 1 at Lummen (BEL).
The 2016 FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping champions were level with both France and host nation Belgium on just four faults after the first two rounds, and one rider from each side went into a third-round race against the clock.
"My Conthendrix has done so many Nations Cups for Germany and he is so consistent, such a fighter - I think he likes me and I really love him. We are just a great team together."
Belgium’s Pieter de Vos (31) was first to take on the jump-off track, but left the door wide open when a misunderstanding saw his Olympic ride, Dream of India Greenfield, stop at the first element of the double.
Thieme made no mistake when next to go, scorching home in 39.75 seconds to really put it up to Rio Olympic French team gold medallist Penelope Leprevost (36) who was last into the arena.
Despite a tremendous clear round from her feisty 12-year-old mare Ratina d’La Rousserie, she was just over a second slower when breaking the beam putting Team France into the runner-up spot.
There were five teams chasing qualifying points for the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Final today and Germany took the maximum 100 points ahead of France (90) and fourth-placed Italy (70). German Chef d’Equipe, Otto Becker, was delighted with his four-man crew that also included Maurice Tebbel (23) riding Chacco’s Son, Holger Wulschner (53) with BSC Skipper and Mario Stevens (34) partnering with Baloubet - “they were brilliant!” he said.
FEI President Ingmar de Vos, who attended today’s event, said: "This was a great first qualifier for Division 1, and it shows again how wonderful the concept of Nations Cup Jumping is! Having a jump-off between three nations was so exciting - it shows how passionate the riders are to defend their country, and their nation’s pride!!”
Facts & Figures:
Lummen in Belgium staged the first qualifier for FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Europe Division 1 today.
5 teams competed for points towards the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final 2017: Germany, France, Italy, Sweden and Spain.
1 rider from Germany, France and Belgium jumped off against the clock to decide today's result. Team Germany won through when Andre Thieme and Conthendrix were quickest against the clock in the third-round jump-off.
Today’s course designer was Belgium’s Eugene Mathy.
Up next: FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Europe Division 2 first qualifier in Linz (AUT) and the second qualifier of the North America, Central America and Caribbean league will be staged in Coapexpan (MEX) next week.
Team Result - Lummen:
1. Team Germany (0 faults) - jump-off round won in 39.75 seconds
2. Team France (0 faults) - jump-off round won in 40.47 seconds
3. Team Belgium (4 faults) - jump-off round won in 51.76 seconds
Full results: www.longinestiming.com
Full FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping standings here.
About FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping
The FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping is the world's most prestigious team Jumping series.
Celebrating 108 years of team competition in 2017, the series will see a record number of 50 nations compete to win their ticket to the Final.
The Final will take place in the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain, at the Real Club de Polo on 29 September to 1 October 2017.
Only the best 18 nations will win their ticket to the Final by qualifying at 19 events in 19 countries.