Great Britain is set to field an impressive team for this weekend’s Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, Spain (1-3 October). The squad of five showjumpers features John Whitaker and his nephew Jack Whitaker, two members of the Tokyo Olympic squad in Harry Charles and Holly Smith, and best-placed British contender from the European Showjumping Championships, Emily Moffitt.
The FEI Longines Nations Cup Jumping Final consists of a three-day tournament at the Real Club De Polo’s Olympic arena and marks the finale to a somewhat depleted 2021 Nations Cup season. It will also determine which of the 10 teams in Europe division one (of which Great Britain is one) is relegated to the EEF Series (formerly division two) in 2022.
A total of 15 teams are taking part in the Nations Cup Final with host nation Spain fielding a team alongside Canada, Brazil and USA, Uzbekistan from the Eurasian League and all 10 teams from Europe division one – Great Britain, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Italy.
Among the riders competing for their countries are the new European champion Andre Thieme of Germany, Sweden’s Olympic team gold-medallists Henrik von Eckermann and Malin Baryard-Johnsson, Swiss European champions Steve Guerdat, Bryan Balsiger, Elian Baumann and Martin Fuchs, and the Olympic individual bronze medallist Maikel van der Vleuten of the Netherlands.
For Great Britain under the title sponsor banner of Team NAF, Harry Charles rides his Olympic partner, the 12-year-old stallion Romeo 88, owned by Ann Thompson. Emily Moffitt brings her top horse Winning Good, a 12-year-old gelding owned by Poden Farms. Holly Smith has the choice of either her Olympic ride, Ian Dowie’s Denver, or TJ Hall Limited’s Fruselli. Jack Whitaker has been selected with either the 11-year-old mare Scenletha or the 12-year-old Valmy De La Lande, both of which are owned by his father Michael Whitaker. Meanwhile John Whitaker brings his London GCT runner-up Unick Du Francport, a 13-year-old gelding he co-owns with his wife Clare.
Chef d’equipe for the Great Britain team is Di Lampard, the world class performance manager for showjumping.
Defending champions Ireland’s five-man squad consists of Darragh Kenny, Denis Lynch, Michael Duffy, Michael G Duffy and Eoin McMahon. Their chef d’equipe is Michael Blake.
The first round qualifier takes place on Friday evening (1 October), the consolation prize, the Longines Challenge Cup, is contested on Saturday night (2 October) and the Nations Cup Final kicks off on Sunday afternoon (3 October) at 3pm local time. This is the eighth time Barcelona has hosted the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final. Three five-star individual classes will also take place over the three days.
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