Italy proves unbeatable on home ground at the Endurance European Championships, claiming team and individual gold

Fausto Fiorucci raised the Italian flag at the weekend, as the new European Champion. It was a double celebration for the home crowd as the Italian team of Fiorucci, Roberto Busi and Alessandro Baldicchi also walked away with team gold.

Fausto, 50, a dentist from Gubbio, near Perugia, and one of the most popular riderson the international circuit, secured the victory with his long-time partner Faris Jabar.

Describing Faris as a “great friend”, Fiorucci said: “After the World Championship in Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed wanted to buy Faris Jabar, but I said no, I lovethis horse.”

The 12-year-old Crabbet-bred grey completed at an average speed of 19.16kph with a total ride time of 8hr 21min 4sec.

The fast pace belied a tough and at times soul-destroying course. The going was unremitting, with little break for the horses from the jarring conditions. Of 82 starters from 27 countries, there were 41 completions, with lameness the major factor for retirements.

The British contingent failed to defend its European silver medal, but achieved a highly-creditable fourth place, despite the lack of match fitness for both horses and riders due to FMD. The team was in contention for bronze until the last loop, when the Germans swooped to take third place behind Portugal.

First home for Britain, Beccy Broughton rode Charlotte Holloway’s chestnut stallion Murmansk into seventh place in the European competition and 13th overall. Jane James (Rowengay Garnet) and Liz Platts (Zilzal) crossed the line together to finish 35th and 36th respectively.

Sadly, Liz Booth (Youscha) and Nicky Sherry (Bella Joya), riding as individuals, both withdrew at vetgate one after problems in the early stages.

Click here to read the results.

Read the full five-page report, including the open European Championship, in this week’s (4 October) Horse & Hound magazine, or click here to subscribe.