Britain’s brilliant world showjumping bronze as super Swedes take the win

  • Sweden took the Agria FEI World Showjumping Championships team title with a rider to spare — and Britain secured a brilliant bronze and Olympic qualification on a rollercoaster of an evening.

    The Olympic champions held the lead they established on day one of the competition to win gold on 7.79 penalties, almost three fences in hand over silver medallists the Netherlands on 19.31.

    Britain added a total of eight faults to their overnight score to finish on 22.66, just ahead of Ireland on 23.15, who also qualified for the Paris Olympics.

    “The whole week has been fantastic for us,” said Swedish chef d’equipe Henrik Ankarcrona. “A championship is always like a rollercoaster but the horses jumped well.

    “It’s been an amazing year since Tokyo. We made a plan to come here and we knew we had a good chance; we wanted to be on the top of the podium and were quite clear on that. We knew we had the capability and the horsepower and skill to do it, but it’s one thing to say it, and a completely different thing to pull it off. Thank you to these four riders, and our fifth Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and all the teams; they’re just amazing.”

    The first in for Sweden today were world number one Henrik von Eckerman, and King Edward, who are yet to knock a rail at this championship and are now in gold-medal position going into Sunday’s (14 August) individual final. Malin Baryard-Johnsson and H&M Indiana clipped one rail today but third in Jens Fredricson and Markan Cosmopolit jumped their third superb clear of the week. This secured the win, which meant the 12 faults clocked up by the normally ultra-consistent Peder Fredricson and H&M All In did not matter.

    In a competition with more ups and downs than a mountain range, Britain were sixth in the morning, and dropped to eighth and out of the Olympic qualification places at one point. Ben Maher and Faltic HB clipped the first fence and Joe Stockdale and Equine America Cacharel the second part of the double, in otherwise class rounds. Harry Charles and Romeo 88 then came in and pulled off a fantastic clear.

    Scott Brash and Hello Jefferson had two down — Scott said his horse had become tense owing to issues in the warm-up — but Britain had done enough to secure their place on the podium.

    “We’ve been really looking forward to this for the past year,” said performance manager Di Lampard.

    “It was the plan to go away with a medal; we were expecting a medal and came here with the ambition to get one, and Paris qualification, so I’m absolutely delighted with how this team fought.”

    Ben added: “It’s been fun this week. We have a very strong team, with two young riders , and we all fought all the way till the end. I’m very happy to be on the podium.”

    The French, who had been in silver-medal position overnight, slipped to sixth after long-term individual leaders Julien Epaillard and Caracole De La Roque had eight faults, Gregory Cottard and Bibici nine, Simon Delestre and Cayman Jolly Jumper four and Kevin Staut and Scuderia 1918 Viking D’La Rousserie 12, to put them in sixth place on 26.44.

    The top 25 combinations go through to Sunday’s World Showjumping Championships individual final; Henrik von Eckermann leads on 0.58 penalties, with teammate Jens Fredricson in silver on 2.71 and Belgian Jerome Guery on Quel Homme De Hus in third.

    Both Ben and Scott qualify for the final, in eighth and 13th place, and two and a half and five faults off the medals, respectively.

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