Germany wins Samsung Nations Cup at Hickstead, but British team performance shows there is hope for the future
It was a case of so near yet so far at Hickstead when Britain’s SamsungNations Cup quartet of Di Lampard (Abbervail Dream), Scott Smith (Cabri D’Elle), Mark Armstrong (Elise) and Tim Stockdale (Fresh Direct Parcival) staged a magnificent comeback in round two and just failed to catch the winning German team.
Bob Ellis’s track was big and technical – “It was the most difficult course I’ve seen this season,” said world number one Ludger Beerbaum – and round one saw just four clears, including two for Germany.
At the halfway stage, the Germans led by one fence from Holland, with Ireland close behind and France and Britain appearing out of it at this stage.
But the picture changed second time around. Di Lampard, who was Britain’s best with only the planks down in round one, bounced back with a magnificent clear, and her performance was emulated by Mark Armstrong and Tim Stockdale.
This only moved Britain up one place to fourth – beaten by Holland on for third place on time – in the end, but, in one of the closest competitions seen here for many years, there was only one fence between the top four.
The Irish, defending the title they had won for the past two seasons, fought all the way, with Cian O’Connor confirming his status as the leading Nations Cup rider with the sole double clear on Waterford Crystal.
Dermott Lennon, who was riding with the handicap of a broken hand suffered a Geesteren – “Liscalgot jumped a fence too big there and I hit my hand on her withers” – jumped a great clear and this left Ludger Beerbaum with the pressure of needing a clear to take victory for Germany.
But Ludger is not the best the world for nothing and he set off at a good pace. The chesnut mare answered every question until she stroked a pole off a late fence, but they were foot-perfect from thereon and the time advantage they had built up stood them in good stead.
There were frantic calculations when they crossed the line and Germany’s winning margin was eventually 1.26sec.
Although the British riders were understandably disappointed, there was hope for the future.
And Di Lampard, who must surely have booked her World Equestrian Games place, summed it up neatly when she said:
“We were slow out of the traps today, but we won’t make that mistake again.”
- 1, Germany (Adlantus AS/L Nieberg: 4+8; Shutterfly/M Michaels-Beerbaum: 4+0; Mobilcom Goldika/T Hassmann: 0+8; Gladdys S/L Beerbaum: 0+4) team total 16 in 257.83;
- 2, Ireland (Corrada/P Charles: 4+4; Waterford Crystal/C O’Connor: 0+0; Carling King/K Babington: 26+8; Liscalgot/D Lennon: 8+0) = 16 in 259.07;
- 3, Holland (Larino/PGeerink: 12+4; KVWS Eole/Y Houtackers: 0+16; Hascal/A Hoorn: 4+4; Izaura/R Bril: 4+4) = 20 in 262.61;
- 4, Great Britain (Abbervail Dream/D Lampard: 4+0; Cabri D’Elle/S Smith: 8+12; Elise/M Armstrong: 12+0; Fresh Direct Parcival/T Stockdale: 8+0) = 20 in 267-18;
- 5, France;
- 6, Brazil;
- 7, Belgium.
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