Nations Cup final: GB and Ireland out in first round

  • Great Britain has failed to qualify for the final round of the FEI Nations Cup in Barcelona, Spain, after finishing 11th of the 15 teams. Only the top eight countries qualify for Saturday night’s big-money decider.

    Britain’s anchorman Ben Maher (Quilata) produced his country’s only clear in this afternoon’s (28 September) opening round but might yet claim a share of a €50,000 bonus if he jumps a double clear tomorrow.

    Scott Brash and 16-year-old mare Ursula XII were the team’s pathfinders, coming home with eight faults. Guy Williams and Rouge De Ravel matched the pair’s score, also hitting two late rails. The drop score was European individual rider William Whitaker’s 13-fault round on his championship horse Utamaro D’Ecaussines.

    Michael Whitaker’s intended partner Calisto Blue was ruled out of the competition after an abscess was found in the horse’s foot on arrival in Barcelona.

    Ireland finished on a team score of eight along with Switzerland, Belgium and Sweden and, as the slowest of the four countries looked set to miss the cut.

    Ireland appealed Bertram’s penalties which were collected at the water jump, the outcome of which could have dramatically changed which countries qualifies for Saturday’s final, but the appeal was unsuccessful so the other three are in.

    Anchorman Denis Lynch and the 14-year-old Argentinus stallion All Star 5 produced a clear while Shane Sweetnam (Chaqui Z), Bertram Allen (Molly Malone V) and Shane Breen (Laith) all finished on four faults apiece.

    Great Britain will join the UAE, Brazil, Spain, Italy and New Zealand in Friday night’s consolation prize, the Challenge Cup. Team GB just need to complete this second round in Barcelona to earn promotion to division one of the Nations Cup series in 2018.

    The other finalists are France, who topped the leaderboard on day one along with Canada on a zero score, USA, the Netherlands and the defending champions Germany. All teams start on a zero score for the final round.

    Don’t miss the full report from the show in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 5 October.

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