Rome, Italy – May 27, 2021 – Team France will be first into the arena when the Intesa Sanpaolo Nations Cup gets underway at the 88th edition of CSIO Rome Piazza di Siena this afternoon.
A total of 12 countries will battle it out for the prestigious title that the French have won on 19 previous occasions. However the home side will be hoping to add to their tally of 29 wins since the competition first took place back in 1926.
The order-of-go was decided by a draw yesterday, and Germany will be second into the ring followed by Brazil, Sweden, Mexico, USA, Italy, Czech Republic, Belgium, Japan, Ireland and Egypt.
With relatively few competitive outings available over the last year due to the pandemic, a spotlight will shine on tomorrow’s team performances as horses and riders fight to impress their country’s selectors ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games which will kick off in just eight weeks’ time.
There is a sense of urgency about the renewal of top sport, and CSIO Rome Piazza di Siena makes a welcome return after cancellation last year due to Covid-19.
The crowds are absent as the show organisers are adhering to strict protocols in order to protect public health, but the atmosphere will still be electric when the first rider sets off over the course created by the Italian maestro, Uliano Vezzani.
Hungry to make it a back-to-back double will be Team Sweden who posted only their second win in the long and distinguished history of the Rome Nations Cup when sweeping to victory at the last edition at Piazza di Siena in 2019. Angelie von Essen (SWE) is the only member of that side to line out again this year when she will be joined by Angelica Augustsson Zanotelli (SWE), Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) and Douglas Lindelow (SWE) in an effort to make it a hat-trick.
But hot on their heels will be the Irish who had to settle for runner-up spot two years ago. Despite all their other many successes, victory in the Nations Cup in Italy’s beautiful capital city has evaded Ireland for the last 95 years and that’s a score that Bertram Allen (IRL), Darragh Kenny (IRL), Denis Lynch (IRL) and Mark McAuley (IRL) would very much like to settle.
The starting field is phenomenal however so they will have their work cut out for them. Team USA looks like an Olympic selection with Kent Farrington (USA), Laura Kraut (USA), Jessica Springsteen (USA) and McLain Ward (USA) ready to pile on the pressure in an effort to post the first American win since 2009. Kraut was on the winning side that year with the brilliant little Cedric with which she won Olympic gold a year earlier, and this time around she will partner another lovely grey, Confu.
There’s great excitement about the participation of teams from Mexico, who are returning after an absence of 53 years, and the Czech Republic who are first-timers, although back in 1930 four riders competed for the former Czechoslovakia. And this year’s Olympic hosts from Japan will be lining out with a strong squad that includes Daisuke Fukushima (JPN), Koki Saito (JPN), Eiken Sato (JPN) and Taizo Sugitani (JPN). A good result for them would be a massive boost ahead of the Tokyo Games.
All eyes of course will be on the home side foursome of Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA), Giulia Martinengo Marquet (ITA), Luca Marziani (ITA) and Riccardo Pisani (ITA) who will hope to emulate the double of successes in 2017 and 2018 that broke the Italian drought that had lasted a long 32 years.
Stay tuned for the next post with the complete order-of-go of team riders and horses for this great competition.
Don’t miss a moment. The action begins at 14.30 local time tomorrow, and it’s going to be another afternoon of epic sport.
Source: Press Release for Piazza di Siena
Photo: © Piazza di Siena / CONI / Simone Ferraro