Uggerhalne, Denmark – May 26, 2023 – In a thrilling competition in Aalborg in the Danish leg of the Longines EEF Series, event guests USA finish top of the podium and host nation Denmark secure themselves the maximum 100 qualifying points to lead the Northern Region. Amy Powell reports on the day’s action.
Excitement levels this afternoon were unmatched in what turned out to be a real competition of two halves under Danish blue skies. The up to height course designed by Switzerland’s Gerard Lachet (SUI) of 15 jumping efforts at a maximum height of 1.45m saw a true clash of the titans in round one, with both teams USA and Netherlands finishing with a clean sheet at the halfway point of the competition. Hotly followed by an incredible performance by Denmark, Sweden and Poland, all taking four penalties apiece into round two.
Looking like they were never at risk of touching a pole, and eventually adding absolutely nothing to their perfect first round score team USA secured their place at the top of the podium with a perfect zero from their first three riders in round two to take the win. Chef d’Equipe Anne Kursinski said of the young team “we’re very thankful and very proud to be competing here, thank you to the Longines EEF series for having us. Today was great sport from top riders with Olympians competing. This is a young team coming for experience and I am very proud of them, I thought they could maybe win and they did, so we’re very excited!”
Unfortunately, round two saw it all fall apart for the Netherlands, with the team unable to secure a clear round between them, meaning that they had to add 16 penalties to their perfect first round score, resulting in them dropping down to eventual seventh place.
Taking their place on the podium was the host nation, Denmark after a near-faultless round for the team saw them add just four penalties to their first-round score to finish on a score of eight. Rikke Belinda Barker (DEN) and the 11-year-old stallion, Tabalou PS provided the team with a perfect double clear, whilst first in for the team Lars Bak Andersen (DEN) riding Ethene and team anchor man Andreas Schou (DEN) onboard I know with four fault scores per round. Martin Dinesen Neergaard (DEN) and Carpe Diem van de Geeneinde Z carried four faults in each with an unlucky fence down at the last in fence one, and part of the Longines treble combination down at fence four in round two. “It was absolutely great, we came here as one team and really hoped for the win but in the end, it was good that we could secure 2nd spot and maximum points [for the Longines EEF Series Qualifier] on home soil.” Andreas said of the team’s performance.
The eventual third place went to one of the most consistent teams of the Longines EEF Series so far, Germany. Making up for their slightly tumultuous first round, the team of Philip Rüping (GER) on Baloutaire PS (who was eliminated for a fall from the 12-year-old stallion after a refusal in round one), Teike Carstensen (GER) with Greece 5 and David Will (GER) on Zaccorado Blue kept a clean scoresheet in round two to finish on their round one score of 8 penalties. Not a qualifying event for them, they don’t pick up any Series points, but the young team with inexperienced horses will have taken a lot of learnings from today’s competition.
Finishing on the same score as Germany but a total completion time of just 1.06 seconds more, was enough to push the Polish team into fourth place, securing them in the meantime a crucial 90 points in their first qualifier, leaving them in a very strong position ahead of the second Northern Region qualifying round in Drammen (NOR) next weekend.
Fortune favoured the brave for team Lithuania, and a display of bold and incredible riding saw the team of Andrius Petrovas (LTU) on Linkolns, Aistis Vitkauskas (LTU) and Favour VG and Matas Petraitis (LTU) with Quirados A pull off a perfect second round, adding nothing to their first round score and propelling them up the leader board from 9th to 5th, securing them the all-important 80 qualifying points to give them a decent chance of qualifying for the semi-finals in Deauville, providing that they pull out a similar performance next weekend, also.
Sweeping up the remaining qualifier points were Sweden (finishing in 6th place) scoring 70 points, followed by Finland with 60 points (10th) and Norway notching up 55 (11th) ahead of Drammen next weekend.
Final Results – Longines EEF Jumping Nations Cup Aalborg CSIO 3*
1) Team USA – 0
2) Denmark – 8
3) Germany – 8
Source: Press Release from Longines EEF Series
Photo: © Annette Boe Østergaard