Great Britain’s Nations Cup hopes diminish

​Great Britain remains in the relegation zone with just one round left of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup.

The squad of Ben Maher (Wings Sublieme), Jessie Drea (Touchable), Robert Whitaker (Catwalk IV) and Guy Williams (Zaire) finished equal sixth in the penultimate leg at Hickstead on Friday afternoon.

This leaves them ninth in the overall standings with only the top eight teams from the 10 countries in the Western European division one heading to the final in Barcelona in October. The pressure is on for Team GBR for the final round in Dublin next weekend, where the team of Ben Maher, Scott Brash, Spencer Roe and Joe Clee need victory.

“We haven’t performed well enough,” said British chef d’equipe Rob Hoekstra, who added that qualification to the final in Barcelona may no longer be the priority in this WEG year. “But our guys for Dublin cope well under pressure.”

The British round of the eight-leg Nations Cup was won in tremendous style by a flying team from USA. McLain Ward (Rothchild) and Beezie Madden (Cortes C), who is back from a broken collar bone, led the way with double clears while Reed Kessler (Cylana) and Margie Goldstein-Engle (Royce) produced 8+4 and 0+4 rounds respectively to place them four points ahead of the Netherlands and Germany who tied for second.

“We felt we’d been knocking on the door,” said USA chef d’equipe Robert Ridland. “It was great to get Beezie back on the team and stunning for her to do it with a double clean.”

Ireland’s Darragh Kenny (Imothep), Shane Breen (Golden Hawk), Bertram Allen (Molly Malone V) and Cameron Hanley (Antello Z) finished on a team total of 12, placing them equal fourth with Belgium.

“Nothing is secure. We had it in our grasp but failed to capitalise on our first round,” said Ireland’s chef d’equipe Robert Splaine.

Don’t miss the full report from the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup and a full round-up from RIHS in next week’s Horse & Hound (out 7 August).