The British junior team win in Belgium Nations Cup

It was Nations Cup day for the youth teams at Sentower Park in Opglabbeek, Belgium, and our riders did Britain proud.

The junior British team stood at the top of the podium following a tense jump-off with Spain.

Super-cool Scarlett Charles, 15, on the 10-year-old mare Sacree Du Rouet (pictured) posted three amazing clears – the only rider to do so – to play a major role in Britain’s win. Pathfinder Emily Ward, 16, with Michael Whitaker’s 12-year-old Doobally incurred four faults in rounds one and two, but their fast jump-off clear played a pivotal part in the British victory.

Anchor Leonie Aitkenhead, 18, jumped for clear and four in rounds one and two with the nine-year-old Clane K and were not required for the jump-off. Fourth member Katinka Brogaard , 17, and Belfast, a 10-year-old gelding, scored scored 16 and 22 but made a marked improvement in the jump-off to return on five faults.

Britain claimed victory on a jump-off total of five faults with Spain in second on eight. France took third with Ireland in fourth.

It went to the wire in the Pony Nations Cup, with Britain taking second in a three-way jump-off with France and Ireland after all three teams finished on a zero score.

Pathfinder Jack Whitaker again proved foot-perfect on the 12-year-old Elando Van De Roshoeve (pictured over sunflowers), and Antonia Platt followed suit with the 10-year-old Carnhill Luna (pictured, red, black and white poles). Four faults from Madison Jamison and Eclips IV still put them in with a chance, and it all rested on Robert Murphy’s 16-year-old shoulders. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Rainbows Mocha returned on eight and, although both France and Britain finished on four, the French team were faster on time by six sec.

Chef d’equipe Matt Lanni was very pleased.

“They were outstanding to jump two rounds for a zero score at the first Nations Cup of the season, and it was a close finish,” he said.

Ireland finished on a total of eight for third.

The children-on-horses team also took second after posting a zero score over two rounds, equalling Belgium’s performance and forcing a jump-off.

And all four – Sienna Charles on Chaitanya 2), Lily Freeman-Attwood (Banana D’Ive Z), Ellie Hall-McAteer (Dazzle II) and Olli Fletcher (Temple Rebus) – posted jump-off clears to put the pressure on. Belgium’s second rider Anthony Philippaerts had a disaster round with Esprit VD Wellington, but only three scores counted, and the nail-biting tension rose as the judges added up the times of the fastest three from each team.

Belgium won by just a fraction – 0.99 sec – to nudge Britain into second spot with Spain in third.

The British young rider squad posted a zero score in round one to lead with Spain at the halfway stage, with Theo Simpson (Touch of Chilli), Chelsea Skelton (Caramba) and Amy Inglis (Samayava Ar Park) all clear, enabling them to drop Callum Tusler’s nine fault score on Convinced I Am.

But round two didn’t go according to plan. Although Chelsea repeated her clear round on Caramba (pictured) in the second round, all the other faulted to finish on a total of 16 faults and fourth place.

Belgium won on four, The Netherlands’ took second on nine and Switzerland claimed third on 10 faults.

It was a British one-two in the young rider medium tour 1.30m with Beth Vernon taking victory on Omane Des Faux (pictured) with 0.61 sec to spare over Chelsea Skelton and Millfield Baloney. Amy Inglis and Amadeouse De Hurtebise took fifth – all jumping double clear.

Leonie took second on Westpoint Ferdinand in the junior medium tour 1.25m, 0.74 sec behind the winner. Charlotte Ash and Galant Van Hey Vijverhof took fourth.

Robert Murphy and Opto Mist took eighth with a fast jump-off four faults in the pony 1.15m. Allana Clutterbuck and Atomic Du Bary took 16th with Sienna Charles on one fault with Magic Cornflakes in 18th and Antonia Platt on Sligo Furistos Flight in 25th on five faults in round one.

Sienna also took second in the children-on-horses on Westenwind.

Photos © Jumping Around