Britain’s showjumpers hauled themselves up from eighth place to fifth in the Mercedes-Benz FEI Nations Cup in Aachen, Germany last night.
Nick Skelton had a fence down in each round on Carlo. Michael Whitaker was the only Brit to jump a clear, in the first round on Gig Amai, but he collected one time-fault, and then had a rail and two time-faults in the second round.
Scott Brash redeemed a 12-fault first round with just four faults in the second on Intertoy Z, but Guy Williams had an evening to forget. Having recently reclaimed the ride on Titus II from Edwina Tops-Alexander, he hit four fences in the first round. He started the second well, but things fell apart down the final line, two uprights on a dog-leg to a big one-stride double, and he had three out of four parts down.
But the Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium had worse second rounds than Britain, and the team moved up from last to fifth in the final reckoning.
The French team (Eugenie Angot, Roger Yves Bost, Penelope Leprevost and Olivier Guilon) won on a final score of 10. Penelope and Mylord Carthago were one of four combinations to jump clear. The others were Paul Estermann of fourth-placed Switzerland on the Irish-bred Castlefield Eclipse, and two members of the German team, who finished second.
Marcus Ehning (Plot Blue 2) and Christian Ahlmann (Codex One) were faultless in front of the huge home crowd, who bellowed their approval whenever one of their riders jumped clear. Janne-Friederike Meyer had four faults in the first round on Cellagon Lambrasco, and the fourth German team member, Marco Kutscher, had an uncharacteristic 16 faults in each round on Cornet Obolensky.
The Irish team took third place, courtesy of two excellent second-round clears from Billy Twomey (Je T’Aime Flamenco) and Cian O’Connor (Blue Loyd 12).
Britain’s dressage riders finished seventh of seven in the Nations Cup, but were only eight marks off third, so tight were the scores.
Nikki Crisp, Hannah Biggs and Emma Hindle all performed well, with Nikki scoring 69.574 on Pasoa, Hannah 67.149 and Emma 69.851 on Diamond Hit. Their team total was 206.574, while the Netherlands took third on 214.192. Sandwiched in between were Sweden (fourth), Spain (fifth) and Australia (sixth).
The Germans, however, stormed to victory with a total of 233.554. Kristina Sprehe led the way on Desperados 11, scoring 79.702, just in front of Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW on 78.426.
Denmark was second, with their best-scoring rider, Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein on Digby, managing 74.936.