Medals and Olympic qualification at stake in showjumping Europeans team final

Britain and Ireland are both through to the team jumping final where medals and Olympic qualification are on offer today (Friday, 23 August) at the Longines FEI European Showjumping Championships.

At the start of the week, 10 of the 15 nations in the team championship arrived hoping to take home one of the three tickets to Tokyo.

The top 10 teams following yesterday and Wednesday’s qualifying rounds will jump this afternoon and there are six countries left in the mix for the three Olympic spots.

These are overnight leaders Belgium, Britain, which is in provisional bronze, France (provisional fourth), Italy (lying in sixth), Ireland (currently eighth) and Denmark (lying 10th).

The draw is in reverse order, meaning defending European Champions Ireland have been drawn third to go and Britain is the eighth team on the start list. Germany, which is currently holding provisional silver and already has its Olympic qualification, will be the penultimate team to jump with overnight leaders Belgium last to go.

Cian O’Connor and PSG Final will be the first combination into the arena for Ireland in 13th, with Britain’s Ben Maher and Explosion W — overnight leaders of the individual contest — five riders later in 19th.

Shane Sweetnam (Alejandro) is next to go for Ireland and is set to jump just before 4.30pm. Holly Smith and Hearts Destiny, who produced a fantastic clear for Britain yesterday and are lying 11th individually, will start just after the half-way point at number 29 in the running order.

The third riders for the respective teams — championship debutant Peter Moloney (Chianti’s Champion) and Britain’s top finisher at the 2018 World Equestrian Games Amanda Derbyshire (Luibanta BH) — are 34th and 39th to go.

Ireland’s team anchor Darragh Kenny (Balou Du Reventon), who is the nation’s highest-placed individual so far in 12th, is number 43 on the start list; while London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Scott Brash (Hello M’Lady) is the third-last rider to jump.

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Individuals who are not competing on a team, or whose team has not made it through to today’s final, will be first to jump. Austria’s Max Kühner, in provisional ninth, will be the last individual rider to go before the start of the team contest.

Less than a fence separates the top nine riders and other individuals worth looking out for are Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and the superstar mare Albfuehren’s Bianca, who are 45th to jump. The pair made yesterday’s challenging track look easy and are sitting in provisional silver place behind Ben Maher.

French rider Alexis Deroubaix (Timon d’Aure) are holding the bronze spot at the moment and are sandwiched between defending individual champions Peder Fredricson and H&M All In and Scott Brash in the starting order at number 48.

Today’s team final kicks off at 3pm (2pm BST) and will be broadcast live on the BBC red button. Click here for the full running order.

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