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The course proved tricky, with lots of poles falling, a fair amount of eliminations, and many riders really struggling to make the allotted time.
Sweden is currently in first, Switzerland in second and Ireland and Belgium tied third with everything to play for today. Italy are just behind them both in fifth.
The big Gothenburg wall was the undoing of Denmark’s Soren Pedersen and Norway’s Marit Haar Skollerud eliminated at it, and the Netherlands’ Marc Houtzager, who misjudged the approach and crashed through the wall along with his horse.
Fortunately, the pair managed to right themselves and they recovered sufficiently to finish the course. The final jump on the course also fell a lot, largely at crucial moments as riders felt they were safe and seemed to let down their guards.
Ireland had some fabulous moments thanks to clears from Cian O’Connor and Shane Sweetnam. Bertram Allen, however, was eliminated in a very nerve-wracking moment after his horse crashed through fence number 10 twice, sending both rider and horse into the ground on the second attempt.
Luckily they both walked away unscathed but one does have to wonder about Ireland’s chances today as they will be a three-man team with Bertram’s grey stallion not looking the most confident at the moment. Denis Lynch looked to be home dry but unfortunately knocked the last pole on an otherwise super round, as did Douglas Lindelow riding a crucial round for the home nation directly after Denis.
Potentially, the team jumping could have some surprises in stock for us. Great Britain chose not to field a team, and The Netherlands have been underperforming; probably due to some last minute changes to the team in the run up to the competition.
Jerome Guery was a late call up for Belgium, but that didn’t seem to worry him as he posted Belgium’s third clear round of the day. As noted by the commentators, Belgium are a very professional team and a strong jumping nation - so they could be another team to keep an eye on tomorrow.
Italy are not to be overlooked as they fought hard to pull themselves up the rankings thanks largely to Lorenzo De Luca and Alberto Zorzi, and Italy have been in fine form over the last year or so, with a number of Nations Cup victories.
Peder Fredricson was the highlight of the day, finishing on 0 points for both rounds with another flawless clear. His round will go a long way to keeping his country very much in the running for a team medal and himself for an individual.