Olli Fletcher claims a win and Britain take equal third in the Portugal 3* Nations Cup
Olli Fletcher jumped to the top in the 3* 1.30m two-phase with Disckoboy DN in Vilamoura, Portugal.
Forty-seven came forward in this hotly-contended class but no-one could match Olli’s time on the Douglas/Silverstone 12-year-old gelding and they edged ahead to win by 0.15 sec.
Britain’s team of three young riders led by the experienced Laura Renwick finished equal third in the 3* Nations Cup of Portugal alongside Ireland and Italy.
The Brits had a great start with Laura Renwick opening the team score with a great clear on the home-bred nine-year-old Arkuga (Arko/Heartbreaker) in his first team competition. Jodie Hall-McAteer, 20, tapped out the front rail on the final element of the combination for four faults on the Stolzenberg 11-year-old Salt’N Peppa while Lily Attwood, 18, making her senior team debut, came home on nine as the drop score with the 10-year-old Karibou Horta. But anchor Jack Whitaker pulled the team back with a magnificent clear on the Mylord Carthago 11-year-old Valmy De La Lande putting the team on a halfway stage total of four and at the top of the leaderboard with Italy.
Ireland – consisting of four British-based riders – finished round one in equal third with Portugal, The Netherlands, France and Germany on eight faults. First out Shane Breen jumped an uncharacteristic round on Z7 Ipswich for 12 faults while David Simpson was foot-perfect all the way on Foudre F until the final vertical fell to put them on four. Richard Howley pulled a clear out of the bag with the Tlaloc M 10-year-old Arlo De Blondel and anchor Michael Duffy came home on four with Zilton SI Z.
Shane and the 12-year-old Ipswich made just one mistake second time out to finish on four and David with the Namelus R 10-year-old Foudre again completed with just one mistake. Richard also finished on four and their final score depended on Michael’s second round – a clear kept them in third, anything else would see them drop down the line. Despite the pressure, Michael and the Zirocco Blue VDL nine-year-old came home penalty-free to maintain Ireland’s equal third place.
Britain wasn’t so lucky and slipped down from the victor’s podium. Laura and Arkuga looked on song for another clear but the gelding got excited on the approach to the final vertical and fought for his head, and the top rail hit the floor for four. Jodie picked up eight faults at the vertical before the water and the oxer following while Lily also finished on eight. The pressure fell squarely on young Jack’s 19-year-old shoulders – a clear would mean finishing equal third. And he rose to the occasion admirably, clearing every fence with a flourish to post one of only four double clears.
Germany fought back hard from their first round eight faults with a zero score in round two to take first and France slipped into second adding just five faults to their original eight to total 13.
Chef D’Equipe Di Lampard was pleased with the performances of the mainly young rider team.
“We’ve seen a great result from the entire team today with a particularly notable performance from Jack Whitaker who brought home a very strong double clear in his role of anchor in what was only his second senior team appearance. Laura also played a great role as pathfinder for the team of young riders that followed her out. A great first round clear saw her set the team up for the rest of the competition and she was just very unlucky in the second to not have delivered another,” she said.
Laura was best Brit in the 72-strong 1.40m speed with third place on the 11-year-old Top Dollar VI (Dollar Du Murier/Darco) 1.01 sec behind the winner, Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer on Balou Rubin R. Jackson Reed-Stephenson was a further 1.38 sec in arrears to ride Muna VD Bisschop into fourth.
Text and Photo © Jumping Around