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The Netherlands beat the seemingly invincible German team to take the Aachen Nations Cup yesterday, while Britain finished ninth and last after losing two team members.

Wayne Channon’s Europeans ride, Lorenzo CH, was withdrawn with a fever, while Fiona Bigwood’s Mr G de Lully, who was second best of the British at the Europeans, took fright in the arena and was retired.

Lorenzo CH developed a slight temperature earlier in the week and did not recover in time for the competition.

“Obviously I’m incredibly disappointed, but this is just one show,” said Channon. “It’s more important for me that the horse is ok. He is fine even today but he could not be ridden here because he has to have a few weeks of rest.”

Channon is scheduled to travel to Britain for the national championships in three weeks time.

“I will only have a week to prepare him but all being well we will still be coming to the Nationals,” he added.

The pressure was on Britain’s remaining rider Fiona Bigwood with Mr G de Lully. The pair started well but in the second extended trot the horse took off across the diagonal. Bigwood proceeded to produce good collected work but her marks were brought down when the horse intermittently took off — resulting in ones and twos from the judges. Bigwood chose to retire. Their score had dropped too low to finish with anything in the sixties, and Bigwood was concerned by her horse’s uncharacteristic behavior.

“He started off so well and it’s really not like him to react like that,” she said. “There’s a small gap in the arena where you can see over to the jumping stadium where a prize-giving was going on. I think that might be what upset him,” she explained. “He wasn’t being naughty though, he really was genuinely scared.”

For the first time since Russia beat Germany in Munich back in 1972, the German team was forced into second place, this time by the Dutch team, who had come so close to gold at the Europeans. The competition was tight once again, with the Netherlands finishing less than half a percent ahead of Germany.

Individually Anky van Grunsven and Keltec Salinero took the lead with 74.5%, followed by Jan Brink of Sweden with Bjorsells Briar 899. Van Grunsven made mistakes in the one-time changes and the horse was restless in both halts, earning fours and fives. Brink looked a serious threat, producing a fluent and accurate test with just one blip in the first canter pirouette when the horse changed his hind legs.

The anticipation of the crowd nearly reached breaking point as the scoreboard stopped working five movements before the end of the test and Brink’s final score, 73.38%, was not announced for 10 more minutes.

Aachen Nations Cup results

1. The Netherlands (K Beckers; L van Lieren; A van Grunsven; E Gal) 214.958%
2. Germany (E Schulten-Baumer; A Kathrin Linsenhoff; M Schaudt; H Schmidt) 214.624%
3. USA (S Peters; G Williams; G Seidel; L Morse) 210.166
9. Great Britain (R Davison; E Hindle; W Channon (DNS); F Bigwood (RET))

For more information and to see live streaming from the event, visit www.chioaachen.de