Britain and Ireland tackle the Nations Cup in Al Ain

In the 5* Furussiya FEI Nations Cup competition in Al Ain, Britain only fielded a team of three, immediately putting Team GBR at a disadvantage. However, pathfinder Joe Clayton boosted morale when providing a first-round clear on the 10-year-old Con Man JX. And Nigel Coupe looked to follow suit with Golvers Hill, but tapped out a pole late in the round to return four.

It was down to Louise Saywell with James Hughes’ Cordalis 7 – an 11-year-old making his debut at this level – and although they started well, a stop in the combination upset their rhythm and they finished on 12 faults. With no discount score, Britain lay in equal seventh at the halfway stage.

In round two, both Joe and Nigel came home on four faults apiece, and despite Louise’s best efforts, Cordalis was still unsettled to again stop in the combination and return 13 faults. It put Britain eighth in the nine team competition.

"All three rode well – Joe delivered in round one and was unlucky in the second round, and Nigel was unlucky but looks set to come back strong – it is still early in the season,” said chef d’equipe Di Lampard.

“It is still early days for Louise and Cordalis, who has made a huge step up to this level. He’s never seen anything like this arena before and the livestream screen at the side as uou headed to the combination seemed to put him off his stride – this has been an enormous learning curve for him but I think he’ll grow from it,” she added.

Ireland fared a little better. In round one, Paul Kennedy posted a great clear as third team member on Cartown Danger Mouse, and added to pathfinder Michael Duffy’s four with Belcanto Z and David Simpson’s eight on Chessy 17, they finished in equal fifth at the halfway stage after dropping Anthony Condon’s uncharacteristic 12 faults on Balzac.

Michael bounced back with a clear in round two and David and Paul both jumped for four faults. Anthony improved a little on Balzac for nine but was again the drop score for Ireland to finish in sixth on 20 faults.

A strong French team, posting a zero score in round two, finished on a total of four faults to win with a fence in hand over Qatar in second. Italy, the other team to share first place on four faults halfway, took third on a 12 fault total.

In the 1.45m, Ireland’s Michael Duffy claimed ninth on Dreamer, 1.55 sec behind the winner, Italy’s Emilio Bicocchi on Call Me, and just in front of Brit Nigel Coupe, in 10th with Jubilee III. Ireland’s Michael Pender on Can Ya Makan and David Simpson’s Keoki finished 14th and 15th with double clears. Joe Clayton jumped for clear and four in a quick time on Daedalus van T&L, dropping out of contention. Paul Kennedy and Datero H picked up one time fault in round one on Datero H and Louise Saywell came home on four aboard Peiter VI.

Photos © Jumping Around