Britain won the FEI Nations Cup at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show this afternoon after a jump-off with the host nation.

Britain were third equal with Belgium and Germany after the first round, but brilliant second-round clears from Nick Skelton (Carlo 273, pictured), Michael Whitaker (GIG Amai) and Robert Smith (Talan) put the team equal with Ireland, who had been second at the halfway stage.

Nick Skelton jumped-off for Britain, going clear in a fast time of 39.98sec. Ireland put Billy Twomey in to jump-off on Tinka’s Serenade, but when the chestnut hit the second fence, a red and green upright, Britain had secured the Aga Khan Trophy.

“All Nations Cup wins feel good, but today was very special for me,” said Nick, who was one of three riders in the contest to manage two clears, as well as his faultless jump-off performance. “To have a jump-off with Ireland in their own country was very exciting and it was a good competition, which the public enjoyed.

“I didn’t think we’d win — I thought we were too far behind after round one. I went and had a Bulmers [cider] during the second round.”

Scott Brash was Britain’s fourth team member, riding Intertoy Z, and improved from 12 faults in the first round to four in the second.

France, the leaders after one round, finished third equal with Belgium.

This result secures Britain’s place in the top league of the Nations Cup for 2012. Denmark finished last today and are sure to be relegated to the promotional league next year, while the USA, Belgium and France must fight it out to avoid the other relegation place at the final leg of the series in Rotterdam on 26 August.

Full report on showjumping and showing from Dublin in H&H next week, out 11 August.