Britain are now fourth on the 2011 FEI Nations Cup series leaderboard after finishing joint second in the fifth leg of the 2011 FEI Nations Cup series held under floodlights in Aachen, Germany last night.

The competition was won by the Netherlands on 12 faults on a cold and wet night in Germany, with Britain, Ireland and Germany sharing second place with 16pens each.

Germany had looked set to win on home ground until two late fences down for anchorman Ludger Beerbaum and Gotha snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

British pathfinder Guy Williams riding Titus II finished with just one pole on the floor in both rounds. Nick Skelton riding Carlo 273 was twice the discard score with eight, while both Scott Brash (Intertoy Z) and Michael Whitaker (Amai) had a clear round and one down to finish with four faults.

A delighted Scott Brash said: “This is the second time I’ve ridden in Aachen. The first time I had 25 faults in the first round and then four, this time I was clear and four, so I’m getting closer to jumping a double-clear!”

Last to go, France looked like challenging the eventual winners in a two-way showdown, but a double-error from Michel Robert and Kellemoi de Pepita put paid to that.

The result has reinforced the Dutch hold at the top of the series leaderboard, but for Belgium, the USA and Denmark, things are now getting critical. With just three legs left to go, the Americans remain in second-last spot with only the struggling Danes behind them and the Belgians 2.5 points ahead.

The Belgians failed to complete the competition as their recent run of form seriously unravelled. And France are only a single point ahead of the Belgians going into the next leg at Hickstead in two weeks time.

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Aachen Nations Cup result

1. Netherlands 12 faults: VDL Groep Utascha SFN (Eric van der Vleuten) 4/0, VDL Bubalu (Jur Vrieling) 8/17, Eurocommerce New Orleans (Gerco Schroder) 4/4, BMC Van Grunsven Simon (Jeroen Dubbeldam) 0/0.

=2. Ireland 16 faults: Carmena Z (Shane Breen) 8/0, Amaretto D’Arco (Shane Sweetnam) 0/4, All Inclusive (Denis Lynch) 4/0, Tinka’s Serenade (Billy Twomey) 8/5.

=2. Great Britain 16 faults: Titus (Guy Williams) 8/0, Carlo (Nick Skelton) 8/8, Intertoy Z (Scott Brash) 0/4, GIG Amai (Michael Whitaker) 0/4.

=2. Germany 16 faults: Taloubet Z (Christian Ahlmann) 4/8, Cellagon Lambrasco (Janne-Friederike Meyer) 0/4, Corradina (Carsten-Otto Nagel)0/0, Gotha (Ludger Beerbaum) 4/8.

5. France 20 faults: Mylord Carthago HN (Penelope Leprevost) 0/8, Lord de Theize (Olivier Guillon) 0/4, Silvana de Hus (Kevin Staut) 4/4, Kellemoi de Pepita (Michel Robert) 4/8.

6. USA 32 faults: Antares F (McLain Ward) 4/16, Indigo (Margie Engle) 12/16, Cedric (Laura Kraut) 4/4, Coral Reef Via Volo (Beezie Madden) 4/0.

7. Denmark 85 faults: Uno’s Safier (Andreas Schou) 8/16, Cartani 4 (Charlotte Lund) Elim/DNS, Luganer (Rikke Haastrup Pedersen) 16/21, Alcamo Vogt (Torben Frandsen) 12/12.

8. Belgium 1052.00 faults: Vigo D’Arsouilles STX (Philippe Le Jeune) 4/8, Challenge V. Begijnakker (Rik Hemeryck) 11/Elim, As Cold as Ice Z (Judy-Ann Melchior) 21/12, Cavalor Valentina Van T’Heike (Jos Lansink) 17/Ret.

Don’t miss H&H’s full report on all the action from Aachen, on sale Thursday 21 July