Their next line-up, this weekend, is on home turf at Rotterdam, and the team could really capitalise on their position at top of the leader board if they were to produce a competitive performance this weekend.
Holland’s performance at Rotterdam last year indicates that they have a strong chance of success. It was their only victory in the Super League series last year, and although it came in a day full of surprises, as the in-form team of this year’s series they will be expected to repeat the win.
Second-placed Germany, though, fields a top-class team this weekend. With all eyes on Athens, countries have been preserving their horses and riders. But in Rotterdam, Germany is set to mount a serious challenge, and will select a team from some of the world’s highest-ranked show jumpers, including Lars Nieberg, Markus Ehning and Ludger Beerbaum.
The British are in fourth place at this stage, just 2.3 points behind France. They have put in consistent performances, with Nick Skelton in particular showing brilliance. He rode two consecutive double clears in La Baule and Rome, and made just one unfortunate error at Luzern, making him the leading rider in the series, and a dead cert for the British Olympic team.
The Whitakers are out in force at Rotterdam. Michael, John and his son Robert brave the spotlight alongside Robert Smith and Nick Skelton. Robert Smith and Michael Whitaker will be keen to shine, not only for the sake of Britain’s position in the Super League tables, but also as they battle it out for the remaining ticket to Athens.
Meanwhile Ireland is at the bottom of the table with just 3.5 points. They have failed to produce a competitive performance on any occasion, although rider Cian O’Connnor looks as if she is returning to her best form with a double clear at Lucerne. Ireland’s show jumping team faces a nightmare because of the stand off between riders and selectors over the sacking of Eddie Macken as Olympic team trainer.
Current Samsung Super League standings
1. Netherlands 21.5
2. Germany 18.3
3. France 15.3
4. Great Britain 13
5. Belgium 10.8
6. USA 9
7. Italy 6
8. Ireland 3.5