Great Britain finish second in the first Nations Cup of 2020 in a tense head-to-head with The USA
The first leg of the 2020 Longines FEI Nations Cup of the United States of America at the Palm Beach Masters went to the wire in a head-to-head jump-off as a USA crack team was pitted against a relatively rookie team from Great Britain. And the Brits were at a serious disadvantage as they were fielding just three riders. Making the jump-off even more exceptional in a male dominated sport, the final clash consisted was between two all-female teams, the USA’s Beezie Madden pipping Team GBR’s Alexandra Thornton in the edge-of-your-seats tie-breaker.
“The British girls were excellent,” said double gold Olympic medallist Beezie, who piled on the pressure as first in the jump-off with Darry Lou – originally started in his competitive career in Britain with Danny Dunne.
Eight teams were in on the action but only the USA. Mexico and Canada were chasing qualifying points for the Longines FEI Nations Cup final in Barcelona, Spain. The open water was the source of drama with Israel’s Ashlee Bond having to call it a day when Donatello refused to go anywhere near in round two and Brazilian pathfinder Cassio Rivetti getting a soaking when Bacara D’Archonfosse unceremoniously dumped him.
The British trio held strong and led the way alongside on Ireland on four faults at the halfway stage, Alexandra Thornton making just one mistake on the Cornet Obolensky 14-year-old Cornetto K while Emily Moffitt on the Winning Mood 11-year-old Winning Good and anchor Amanda Derbyshire aboard the 12-year-old Cornwall BH (Con Air/Cambridge) both provided clear rounds. The USA along with Mexico and Israel trailed behind on eight faults.
Ireland’s hopes faded fast in round two, the 2019 team series champions clocking up a further 16 faults second time out to put paid to their chances.
But the Brits came out strong despite having no discard score. Alexandra, 27, and Emily, 21 – who posted one of only four double clears – came home with clean sheets.
On eight faults after round one, the USA returned with strong performances in front of their home crowd, Jessica Springsteen (RMF Zecilie), Margie Goldstein-Engle (Royce) – who was at her gutsy best following an unscheduled dismount when the big stallion spooked after going through the finish in the opening round – and Laura Kraut (Confu) all providing clean rounds to finish on a total of eight without the need for Beezie to start.
It was all down to Amanda, 31, in the anchor role – a clear would give Britain a clear win, and four faults would put the trio of ladies on level-pegging with the multi-medalled Americans and force a jump-off. Sadly, a rail fell and a jump-off ensued.
One rider from each team was chosen for the tie-breaker with Beezie the obvious choice for the USA as Darry Lou was not required to jump in round two and relatively fresh. And they set the pace with a great run.
Alexandra and the 14-year-old Cornetto K also put in a perfect run but they were well short of Beezie’s winning time by some three sec to put Britain in second. But British showjumping got a huge boost today as chef d’equipe Di Lampard put her faith in the three USA-based riders to take the runner-up spot behind a superstar American selection.
Mexico finished third on a total of 17.
One frustrating rail hit the floor to deny Jess Mendoza victory in the $25,000 CP grand prix with Dollar Girl 46 at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, USA.
Only six of the 26 starters jumped a round one clear to reach the jump-off with Jess proving the quickest in round two. But Dollar Girl lowered a pole and despite finishing with 1.32 sec in hand, Jess dropped down to fourth.
Flo Norris guided Con Pleasure 5 into sixth in the Hermes under 25 grand prix. Fifteen of the 50 riders reached the jump-off with Flo jumping a double clear to finish 3.37 sec behind the winner. Jess also posted two clean rounds on Diamants Aurora for eighth.
Text and Photos © Jumping Around