Bratislava, Slovakia – June 09, 2023 – Under the bright lights of the National Football stadium of Slovakia, team Ireland clinched the Nations Cup in the 7th leg of the Longines EEF Series, whilst Central Region teams battled it out to for the final chance to score qualifier points and secure their spot at the Semi-finals. Amy Powell reports on the Friday’s competition.
In another action packed Nations Cup CSIO 3*, it was all change at the top after two rounds of competition. The 12-fence show jumping track designed by Italy’s Elio Travagliati (ITA) saw plenty of drama, with a tricky final line of jumps from fences 10 to 12 which saw poles falling up until the last.
Round 1 saw it tight at the sharp end of the leaderboard, Switzerland finished on a clean sheet whilst Austria sat just one time penalty point behind them, swiftly followed by Ireland and Germany carrying four faults each. Host nation, Slovakia sat handily in fifth place with five penalties, which meant it was all to play for heading into the second round of the competition.
Sadly for Switzerland, it wasn’t their day in the atmospheric arena and the team of Barbara Schnieper (SUI) on Canice (8 faults), Yannick Jorand (SUI) riding Cipetto 2 (8 faults), Anthony Bourquard (SUI) with Ecuador de la Cense (four faults) and Bryan Balsiger (SUI) piloting Scarlina de Tiji Z to a clear round, had to take forward 12 penalties, which saw them drop out of contention of a podium finish to eventual fourth place. However, the team had done enough to book their ticket to Ebreichsdorf, Austria for the Central and Southern Region Semi-finals of the Longines EEF Series, later this month.
The Austrian team of Alessandra Reich and Anyway van het Kervijnhof Z, Marianne Schindele on Acoustik Solo du Baloubet, Katharina Rhomberg with Colestus Cambridge and Stefan Eder on Condaro faired better in round two, with clear rounds from Alessandra and Stefan, meaning they could drop Marianne’s 8 fault round and carry forward just the 4 penalties from Katharina, which was enough to secure second place and their spot at the Semi-finals, also.
It was a class affair from the Irish team of Harry Allen (IRL) and Calculatus, Commandant Goeff Curran (IRL) on Tempo Manor, Jason Foley (IRL) with Oscar v/h Hulstenhof and Thomas Ryan (IRL) onboard Di Cantero van ter Hulst Z. Combining a mixture of experienced and young talent, the team kept their cool to climb the leaderboard and clinch the top spot on the podium. With double clears from Harry and Jason plus a second round clear from Thomas (with Commandant Curran tipping just the one pole for four faults), the team completed the second round on a perfect score of zero, ensuring a final total of just four penalties and the Nations Cup win.
“We’re obviously delighted with the win,” said Commandant Curran, “this lovely show and we’re very happy to be here, but to win is the icing on the cake.”
The arena is absolutely amazing, the horses come to life but there’s a lot to look at, but it suited my horse perfectly.” Harry said of his double clear and his first visit to the venue. “The course builder did a very good job, it was very fair and I’m very happy with my horse – he’s quite green at this level so I’m very impressed with him also.”
The story of the night, however, belongs to host nation, Slovakia. In front of an enthusiastic home crowd cheering them on, the team of Dominika Gaalova and Senjor Catello, David Hovarth riding U2 Westleven Z, Bronislav Chudyba on Chloe and Radovan Sillo with Quadrosson ASK pulled off three incredible clears in round two. Having to drop just the two time penalties picked up by David on what was an otherwise steady clear, not only did the team add nothing to their first-round score of 5 to finish in third place, but they also earned the final spot at the semi-finals on the 30th June.
So after two qualifiers, the Central Region Semi-final places have been decided, Netherlands (finishing fifth here in Slovakia) and Austria finish on top with 170 points, followed by Switzerland on 160 points with Germany behind on 150, and Slovakia grasping the final place with their fantastic performance last night.
Final Results – €65,000 Longines EEF Nations Cup of Bratislava CSIO 3*
1) Ireland – 4 / 0 = 4
2) Austria – 1 / 4 = 5 / 216.33
3) Slovakia – 5 / 0 = 5 / 220.81
Source: Press Release by Amy Powell for EEF – European Equestrian Federation
Photos: © Equifo.cz