Great Britain triumphed in tremendous style in Saturday night’s Longines FEI Nations Cup Challenge Cup, the consolation round of the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, Spain.
The British quartet of Holly Smith (Denver), Emily Moffitt (Winning Good), Harry Charles (Romeo 88) and John Whitaker (Unick Du Francport) topped the leader board with a team total of four. Such was their advantage in Saturday’s five-team decider that anchorman John was not required to jump.
“My horse jumped good in the warm-up!” he said.
Having just missed the cut for Sunday’s Nations Cup Final in Friday’s qualifier, the British squad came out fighting and both Harry and Emily (pictured below) jumped clear, with Holly just picking up four faults at a midway oxer with her Olympic partner Denver.
Harry, 22, also claimed a whopping 50,000 euro bonus as the only rider to jump a double clear over the two rounds on Friday and Saturday, also claiming it to be a “bucket list moment” to be jumping on a team with John Whitaker.
“It’s been a hell of a year,” said Harry, who only took the reins on the Ann Thompson-owned Romeo 88 at the start of the season, taking him to the Tokyo Olympics in July. “I’m very thankful to be jumping at these shows and every round we’ve jumped this year has improved – we’re growing as a partnership.
“I felt a bit of pressure as third rider with John ready to go behind me but it was a great experience. To be on a team with John was really cool – I got a photo with him, I’ll Instagram it later – to be on a team with him was on my bucket list.”
Great Britain’s chef d’equipe Di Lampard said that winning at the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona had also been on her bucket list and she was proud of her relatively young squad for bouncing back from yesterday’s disappointment to achieve victory second time around.
“They stepped up to the plate in style,” she said. “It’s a new generation coming through and it’s been a good learning year for all of them, I just hope we can come out of the starting blocks a bit sharper next year.”
Taking second was France, followed by Norway in third and European Champions Switzerland, down to a three-man team, finished fourth.
The upset of the evening came for fifth place Italy who, as the lowest placed country from the 10 Nations Cups teams from Europe Division One, will now be relegated to the EEF Series (formerly division two) in 2022.
The Nations Cup Final concludes on Sunday afternoon (3 October) with the top eight teams from Friday night’s qualifier – Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil, Sweden, defending champions Ireland, USA and Belgium – fighting it out for the lucrative top prize and one of the most prestigious titles in showjumping.