It was an unbelievably hard fought for Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain CSIO5* at Hickstead this afternoon that was also played out in pouring rain making conditions all the more difficult.
Following two rounds of jumping it was Great Britain (GB), competing under the title sponsorship of Team NAF, and Ireland who held joint first place on equal points and were subsequently forced into a jump off for the overall win. It was Ireland however that took the eventual win with GB marginally behind them having both posted clears but having just seconds on the clock separating them.
Holly Smith was the rider selected to come forward for GB in the two-way jump off with the 9 year-old British Bred bay gelding Hearts Destiny. Holly, who always remains unfazed by any pressure thrown at her, really showcased this young horse’s tremendous scope and talent, especially when you consider that he is only in his first year of international competition, by setting a terrific standard for Ireland to follow by jumping clear in a time of 43.49 seconds. With the rain still teeming down it was Anthony Condon who was chosen to represent the Irish team with John Hales and his own SFS Aristio. Knowing what he had to beat Anthony put his foot down on the accelerator from the start and posted a foot-perfect clear to match Holly's whilst also managing to shave some time off to stop the clock in 41.29 seconds and claim the title.
GB’s Team Riders
For Great Britain, it hadn’t been the best of starts for the team when Scott Brash from Peeblesshire, Scotland with Hello Shelby, a 9 year-old bay gelding owned by Lady Kirkham and Lady Harris picked up an elimination at the water. Something about the Open Water definitely unsettled Hello Shelby as they had the misfortune to pick up another elimination when they came forward for the second round.
Holly Smith and Hearts Destiny, the 9 year-old British bred bay gelding owned T J Hall Limited, Graham Smith and Holly were second to come forward for the Brits. Putting in two superb rounds they were unfortunate to pick up 4 penalties in each when a touch at an oxer saw a pole fall on both occassions. Hearts Destiny, who a year ago was still jumping at a grass roots national level, really learnt from the experience when they came forward in the jump off to post the incredible clear that they did.
Amanda Derbyshire from Leyland, Lancashire with Luibanta BH, a 10 year-old bay mare owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC were unlucky to pick up 4 penalties in the first round when they touched the final fence. Their second round however saw them post a phenomenal clear to give Great Britain a much needed clear. Coached by Nick Skelton they looked superb this afternoon with their second round clear appearing effortless.
Anchor rider for the team William Whitaker from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire with Utamaro d’Ecaussines, a 14 year-old bay stallion owned by Ludwig & Yasmine Criel also produced two great rounds of jumping. In the first round they had looked set to post an incredible clear and they duly delivered. In their second round, it was just gutting for them when they touched the penultimate fence and as a result, picked up 4 penalties.
Talking afterwards, Chef d’Equipe and World Class Performance Manager commented “We opened up today with bad luck but the way the rest of the team just got stuck in was tremendous. They dug deep, produced some fantastic jumping and were incredibly strong. It was down to the wire and we were beaten from behind but I’m so proud of them, I really couldn’t have asked for more.”
1 Ireland (16)
2 Great Britain (16)
Scott Brash & Hello Shelby E/E
Holly Smith & Hearts Destiny 4/4/0
Amanda Derbyshire & Luibanta BH 4/0
William Whitaker & Utamaro d'Ecaussines 0/4
3 Brazil (20)
4 Sweden (24)
5 Belgium (25)
6 Italy (30)
7 Netherlands (RT)
British Showjumping would like to thank NAF, title sponsors of the Senior Nations Cup Teams along with the Children, Junior, Young Rider and Veteran teams.
NAF’s premium range of Five Star brands include Superflex, Superflex Senior, PROFEET, Optimum, Magic, Oestress and Respirator Boost with quality at the heart of everything they do. They are a UFAS (Universal Feed Assurance Scheme), GMP+ (International Feed Assurance Scheme) and BETA NOPS (Naturally Occuring Prohibited Substances) accredited company and this enables them to guarantee full traceability on all the natural ingredients they utilise in their formulations, which are also selected in compliance with the FEI guidelines for Clean Sport. For further information, visit www.naf-equine.eu/uk/index.jsp.
The GBR showjumping teams are supported by the British Equestrian Federation’s World Class Programme, funded by UK Sport through the National Lottery. The Programme focuses on identifying talent, developing potential and maximising medal-winning performances on the world stage.