Brits beat Germany to eventing Nations Cup title

  • Britain has won the 2015 FEI Nations Cup Eventing series following the last leg at Boekelo (8-11 October).

    The Brits finished fifth at the event, but their performance at the previous six legs gave them a seven-point lead over Germany in the overall series. Australia finished third.

    Nicola Wilson took individual honours on her non-team ride, Bulana, finishing on 47.1 — less than three penalties ahead of second-placed Blyth Tate on Xanthus III (49.2). Tina Cook and Billy The Red came a close third on 50.5.

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    Ireland posted their first ever win in the series at the Netherlands’ event. The USA came second and New Zealand secured their Rio 2016 Olympic qualification with third.

    Japan — the Kiwis’ only rival at this Asia-Pacific Olympic qualifier for a Rio team spot — finished in ninth.

    “We came here with the team we believed would be good enough to qualify and we have, so now we can fully focus on our Olympic preparation,” said Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance eventing coach Erik Duvander.

    Jonty Evans, riding Cooley Rorkes Drift, was the highest-placed individual rider for the Irish team in eighth on a score of 54.5.

    His teammates Joseph Murphy, riding Westwinds Hercules, and 19-year-old Cathal Daniels, riding Riogham Rua, finished 16th and 17th respectively. Padraig McCarthy riding Simon Porloe made up the team.

    Their final score of 174.9 left them more than 21 penalties ahead of the USA.

    Ireland’s team manager Nick Turner said he was “absolutely delighted” for his team.

    “Each [member] showed great resolve and a determination to win the final leg of the Nations Cup here in Boekelo,” he said.

    “The win is a result of great teamwork and focusing on delivering the best individual performances in each phase.

    “With areas that we can still improve on over the next 300 days in the build up to Rio, the goal of a podium finish at next years Olympic Games is looking very much within our sights.”

    Although Britain had four riders in the top 10, only two were team members.

    Team riders Dani Evans finished fifth on Smart Time and Izzy Taylor came seventh on Briarlands Birdsong.

    Nicola Wilson fell off her team horse — Kiltealy Brief — at fence 11 on Sue Benson’s influential cross-country course, and Emily Parker withdrew Diamond Sundance after the dressage.

    “On Saturday morning, Emily unfortunately had to withdraw her horse [due to a minor corn infection] which put us on the back foot,” said British Nations Cup team manager Philip Surl.

    “Then Nicola had an unlucky tip coming off at fence 11, so from a team perspective, that rather took the wind out of our sales but Izzy and Dani were just fantastic and really held their own.”

    This year, Great Britain was the only country to contest all seven legs of the eventing Nations Cup series.

    They won the Ballindenisk and Strzegom legs, came second on home ground at Houghton Hall, picked up third at Fontainebleau and fourth at Waregem.

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