At the Samsung Nations Cup Super League final at the Real Club de Polo, Barcelona, the Germans produced a dazzling performance to finish on a zero score.
To put the icing on the cake, the first three German riders jumped immaculate clears in each round. The fourth rider, Ludger Beerbaum, didn’t even have to enter the arena, despite bringing Gladdys S, one of his top two horses, for the occasion.
Germany did not field either World Cup holder Marcus Ehning or Otto Becker from the victorious European Championship team. Christian Ahlmann coped very well with the pressure of being the new European champion. The other team members were Lars Nieberg (Adlantus As FRH) and new German national champion Marco Kutscher (Montender).
Britain was drawn first and Michael Whitaker, who led off on Abrisca, had four faults in each round. After faulting once in round one, Scott Smith and Cabri D’Elle came back with a superb clear second time, while Richard Davenport and Luc added to their first-round clear with one down second time around.
Robert Smith’s ride, Marius Claudius, made one mistake in round one, but then collected the discard score of eight.
British team manager Derek Ricketts said: “Abrisca seems very promising. Cabri D’Elle appears to have almost regained the form he produced at Aachen last year and Richard and Luc, who is very careful and scopey, look good team members. I was pleased with the way they went and Luc has proved that he can perform at the highest level. I was very disappointed with Marius Claudius, though.”
But Robert said: “All horses make mistakes and they learn from them. Claude is still only nine years old, so he can’t turn in two clear rounds every time — yet.”
The final scores provided some surprises. Spain, who is not a member of the Super League but competed as host nation, finished runner-up. Belgium and Italy shared third place, while Britain was joint fifth with Sweden.