The British team retained their second place on the Division 2 leaderboard after jumping into fifth in the FEI Nations Cup of Gijon, Spain, in their final point-scoring leg. This means Britain will take a place in the FEI Nations Cup final in Barcelona in October for a chance of moving up to Division 1.
In Gijon, the team moved from equal sixth at the halfway stage to a final place of fifth, Ben Maher displaying all his experience to conjure up a pivotal double clear – one of only four – on relatively new ride MTF Madame X - the usual ride of Emily Moffitt - in his worthy anchor position.
Keith Shore made just one error in each round at the gate in round one and the middle element of the combination second time out on Mystic Hurricane to return on four in both rounds. Alison Barton improved on her eight fault drop score with Roma IV in round one for four faults second time out, the water proving their nemesis both times. Third rider Nigel Coupe posted a similar eight and four fault score, the final planks catching Golvers Hill each time.
A 12 fault score after round one saw Britain in equal sixth with Ireland but they moved up the order for an eventual fifth with eight faults in round two for a 20 fault total.
Ireland fielded a squad of three British-based riders plus Cameron Hanley to finish third. Pathfinder Shance Breen posted a double clear on Ipswich Van De Wolfsakker to boost the Irish spirits in round two, where they returned a zero score to add nothing to their first round 12 faults.
David Simpson on the eight-year-old Keoki posted eight then 12 and Cameron Hanley improved on his first round of four with a clear aboard Quirex. Anchor Anthony Condon jumped for an uncharacteristic 12 in round one on Balzac, but a dramatic improvement in round two saw the pair come home clear to take third place on the podium.
France commandingly took the win adding just four faults in round two to their round one zero score. The Netherlands carried eight from round one but added nothing further to take second.
Belgium were already assured of the top leaderboard points with a commanding 380 points – where the best four scores count – and Britain still stand in second on 260, Gijon’s 60 points helping towards the final score. Luxembourg are the next best on 180 with the top two going forward to the Barcelona final in October.
Leading until the final few, Laura Renwick had to settle for third in the hotly-contended 1.45m speed with Dominant H, the Heartbreaker/Indorado nine-year-old finishing just 0.16 sec away from victory. France dominated with Edward Levy taking the win on Rafale d’Hyverniere just a tenth of a sec ahead of Nicolas Delmotte on Darmani Van T Heike. British-based Irishman Shane Breen guided the Cruiding 11-year-old Hallowberry Cruz into fifth and Jess Mendoza was also clear on Horst Van De Mispelaere. A steadier clear from Alison Barton’s Donata finished 13th.
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