Britain won the Longines FEI Nations Cup at the Stena Line Dublin Horse Show today (Friday 9 August), a brilliant result which secured qualification for the final at Barcelona in October.
Team GB went into this afternoon’s competition, the last in the series, sitting at the bottom of the division one rankings. Only the top seven teams out of 10 qualify for the Nations Cup final.
The pressure was on, but Britain’s quartet responded with aplomb, finishing on a score of one while their nearest rivals were on 12 faults. This is the 27th time Britain has won the Aga Khan Trophy.
“I was very confident with my team and they delivered, they were fantastic this afternoon,” said chef d’equipe Di Lampard. “We were here to win and qualify for Barcelona and they did so in style.”
In the first round, pathfinder Ben Maher had a single fence down with Jane Forbes Clark and Poden Farm’s nine-year-old Concona, but he followed up with just a time-fault in round two.
“She’s one of the youngest in the class, so I’m very happy. I rode a bit slow in the second round, but she jumped a fantastic clear,” said Ben.
Scott Brash put in a foot-perfect double clear with Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham’s Hello Jefferson.
“We are privileged to ride in Dublin in front of such an amazing crowd,” he said, also praising the ground, which held up brilliantly after heavy overnight rain.
Scott’s performance was matched by five-star Nations Cup debutante Emily Moffitt, with Poden Farm’s Winning Good.
“I’m so excited and happy — I couldn’t have asked for any more,” said Emily.
Holly Smith pulled off a first-round clear on her own and TJ Hall Limited’s Hearts Destiny and did not need to jump in the second barrage as Britain had already secured victory.
She said: “I’ve been confident all week — we had a great team and the horse is in fantastic form. It panned out as I thought it would and it’s not often that happens. ”
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One of Britain’s top eventers returned to the competition circuit yesterday (8 August)
The other teams who have qualified for Barcelona from Europe division one are Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, France, Belgium and Sweden.
Italy claimed second today on 12 faults, while the home side landed third on 16, helped by a double clear from Paul O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu.
Full report on the showing and showjumping from Dublin in Horse & Hound magazine next week (dated 15 August).