Rabat, Morocco – October 15, 2023 – The highlight of the second stage of the Morocco Royal Tour, the Nations Cup CSIO 4* was won this afternoon in Rabat by a fine young team from Belgium… at the end of the suspense. This is the second Belgian victory since the Moroccan Nations Cup was born in 2016.
On a course that was fluid at the start and more technical towards the end, Switzerland struck hard from the outset, stringing together three clear rounds that enabled Barbara Schnieper (SUI) to rest Canice in the first round and drop Belgium to 4 points behind. An option for victory, but nothing is definitive in the Nations Cup after the first round, as the rest of the story proved.
After a second clear round from Elian Bauman (SUI) on Little Lumpi E, the foundations of the Swiss castle were shaken by the twelve penalty-points scored by Mehdi Roessli-Dobjanschi (SUI) and Valderama Tame. Alexandra Amar (SUI) and Vincy du Gue’s small overtaking time fault further weakened the Swiss edifice, while the Belgians lined up clear rounds in succession: Virginie Thonon (BEL) and Edgard de Préfontaine, Cyril Cools (SUI) and Milton Z and above all Marine Scauflaire (BEL) and Hortus d’Hoogpoort, who erased their poor first round result (16 penalty-points) in style:
“I was actually very confident for this second round, as I know my horse well. It was my first Nations Cup, and I missed my first round, but I didn’t ask myself any questions and went into the second round full confidence”.
Jérôme Guéry (BEL) didn’t need to start, as his team-mates’ triple zero could not be improved, of course.
Barbara Schnieper (SUI), on the other hand, had to take Canice out of the stall with the onerous responsibility of producing a clear round with no alternative for the Swiss to win. But the blue oxer after the water-jump proved fatal for Barbara and the “Nati”, who slipped back to second place.
“It’s the law of this sport,” philosophized Jérôme Guéry (BEL), “one man’s misfortune is another man’s gain. I put myself in Barbara’s shoes… it’s true that when she came out onto the arenan, we honestly hoped she’d make a small mistake… the pressure couldn’t have helped her, and I know what it’s like to have been in that situation”. France completed the podium by moving up one place in the second round!
Rabat thus concludes on this fine sporting note, but the adventure of the 2023 Morocco Royal Tour continues and will resume next week in El Jadida, as part of the Salon du Cheval where the public – always very present in this beautiful blue hall where such a warm atmosphere reigns – will find most of these champions – horses and riders – Moroccan and European from Thursday onwards.
Final Results – Nations Cup of Rabat CSIO 5*
1) Belgium – 4
2) Switzerland – 5
3) France – 16
Source: Press Release from Agence R&B Presse for the Morocco Royal Tour
Photos: © Morocco Royal Tour / Agence R&B Presse / Adèle Renauldon