Britain through to team medal decider in nail-biting European Championships

  • The British team has made it through to tomorrow’s team final at the European Showjumping Championships, after a nail-biting thriller of a competition.

    All four combinations — Georgia Tame and Z7 Ascot, Emily Moffitt and Winning Good, Joe Stockdale and Equine America Cacharel and William Whitaker on Galtur — had jumped far better rounds than the score sheets might indicate. And after a tense afternoon in which it was all change in the team order, the Swiss came out on top, with Germany still in silver-medal position and Sweden in third place.

    Britain had been in 12th place going into this second competition of the championships but adding today’s 16-fault total to yesterday’s 17.18 gave them a total of 33.18, which was good enough for eighth place overnight.

    The top 10 teams go forward to tomorrow’s (3 September) medal decider, which gets under way at 12noon UK time.

    The top 25 combinations after tomorrow go through to contest the individual medals on Sunday; William is currently the highest placed British rider in 26th place.

    Great Britain’s showjumping performance manager Di Lampard told H&H she was very proud of every member of the young British team.

    “My goal was to get them through to Friday, and that’s been achieved,” she said. “I’m delighted that they’ll get another day of this wonderful experience.”

    Di said giving these up-and-coming combinations championship experience is the way to build strength in depth for British showjumping in future.

    “To think we’ve got three [championship] debutants here, it’s amazing,” she said. “Georgia hasn’t jumped a five-star before on that horse, and he’s a big stallion for her but she rode fantastic, and was unlucky. Joe’s 21, the youngest rider in the competition, and he’s only jumped two five-stars. Emily’s at her first championship, and William’s horse has only jumped two five-stars, and only one with him.

    “I hope this is a trampoline for their careers, and I could not be prouder of them all.”

    It was Switzerland’s day today though; Elian Baumann on Campari Z, Martin Fuchs on Leone Jei and Steve Guerdat on Albfuehren’s Maddox all jumped clear to give them a team total of 5.47.

    Steve came to the championships in a year that has not favoured him so far; he lost his top mare Bianca in June, and had had “a bit of a downer” since.

    “I thought today, if everything doesn’t feel as confident and smooth as normally, I have to at least fight and that’s one thing I have control over,” he said, “The spirit. To show the good spirit out there.

    “And because I’m not having the best run, I have to fight maybe more than normally. But this is sport and this is what I’m trying to do and my hope is that with luck on my side and that together we can fight through to the best possible results.”

    He added that although it is positive to be in the lead, there is still “a long way to go”.

    “Everything is still out there,” he said. “The teams are quite close, and we hope that the horses are jumping well to give it another try tomorrow.”

    Germany are less than a fence behind, with 8.77 penalties. Andre Thieme on DSP Chakaria, and Christian Kukuk on his Tokyo ride Mumbai, both jumped clear, while yesterday’s winners David Will and C Vier caught the second part of the final double — the downfall of so many today — to finish on four faults.

    Sweden are again less than a fence behind the Germans; Peder Fredricson on Catch Me Not S and Douglas Lindelow on Casquo Blue clocked up four faults apiece, while Rolf-Goran Bengtsson on Ermindo W jumped clear for a team total of 11.59 penalties.

    Belgium are in fourth place on 17.34 and Ireland pulled up from seventh to fifth place with a total of 20.73.

    In the individual European Showjumping Championships standings, reigning champion Martin Fuchs is in the lead on 1.31 penalties, with Christian Kukuk in second on 1.93 and Rolf-Goran Bengtsson in third on 1.96.

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